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Dealer Button - Blind Timer Combo Review

Discussion in 'Poker Gear Reviews' started by PhilTheThrill14, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. PhilTheThrill14

    PhilTheThrill14 Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Rochester, MA
    Retailer(s): PJCC
    Average Price: $9.95
    Material: Plastic
    Member Review by: PhilTheThrill14
    The Dealer Button\Blind Timer Combo disc is an alternative to using a laptop with Tournament Director, a kitchen timer, or a simple device like a cell phone or watch. The beauty of the device is that it is also a dealer button and therefore is always out on the table for all to see and hear.​
    The button itself feels ok - it is made of plastic so I wasn't expecting it to feel like anything else. The feel, or response, from pushing the buttons is ok. The buttons bounce back when pushed and are only a little loose (they wiggle a little). When you hold the button in your hand, it doesn't scream "I'm super-high quality", but it doesn't scream "I'm el cheapo" either.​
    The button comes in 3 colors - White, Black, and Orange. I sampled the black one, and the color was nice - dark and uniform. The size of the button is perfect - it is larger than your standard dealer button, but not too big (2-3/8" x 3/8"). The word "Dealer" is prominently displayed (which is necessary), as are the words "Texas Hold'em" - which is where I think they could have just saved themselves some money and left off those words. Do we really need to be reminded of what game we are playing? Does that mean we can't use it for Omaha Hi-Lo? The LCD display itself is rather small and can't be read from across the table - you pretty much have to have it in front of you to see it. The LCD has a backlight, but it is only active when a button is pressed - it turns off shortly thereafter. Overall it looks nice and just like a dealer button should. ​
    One of the problems with a button that serves as a dealer button and blind timer is that it is on the table and people can touch it. There is always the chance that a player could pause\reset the timer - either on purpose or by accident when passing the timer. So security is an issue and you'll want to keep your eye on the time to ensure it is running.​
    I have not had the button very long and we've used it for only two nights (4 tournies). So far it has held up fine. I wouldn't call this a "lifetime" purchase, but it did only cost $9.95. I do think this item will suffer some damage at some point. Either a player will take out some frustration on it or something like the battery cover will break when removing the battery (more on that in comments below). Overall, for the price, it seems to be durable enough. ​
    Reviewers Comments
    I received my button and proceeded to put the battery in (that darn battery door is tough to get open - I thought I broke it trying). I was a little concerned that maybe setting it up the first time would be hard, as it had 3 buttons (replay, start\pause, and set) and some directions to follow. I was wrong - it was very easy to get up and running. I guess that is because it is a very simple device. It is in reality a kitchen timer on a dealer button. It does not track what the blinds are: it's just a timer of the blinds. With the press of a button you can make the time increase in increments of 5 minutes - or you can reset to zero and set them from scratch (always in increments of 5 minutes). So basically within 30 seconds I had the timer set to 20 minutes and it was waiting for everyone to arrive. The buttons themselves are very easy to use. The Set button is where you move the time in increments of 5 minutes. When you want to start the timer ticking and then subsequently pause the timer, you use the start\pause button. When the end of a round occurs, you must hit the replay button to stop the beeping - and then hit the replay button again to start the timer over at the predetermined (same as last round unless you change it at this point) amount of time - the time will then start it's count down do 0:00.

    So I announced to the group that we would be using a new button\timer for the game and heard the usual jokes regarding my affliction (Poker Item Infatuation). We usually use my laptop with tournament director loaded - this is sometimes a problem if we play at someone's house and I get knocked out early - some nights I like to just go home (we don't have sidegames) and get some good sleep. Most players didn't really care what we used - they just wanted to play. The fact that the blinds were not listed anywhere did not seem to bother anyone, but it was our regular crew so it's pretty much always the same. Things went well for the most part - the button would beep when the 20 minutes was up until the replay button was pressed. This would stop the beeping and set the clock to 0:00. Pressing the replay button again would start the clock at 20:00 minutes again and begin counting down. Very simple. Most players figured it out instantly. Some didn't, but hey, that's why we invite them :wink: .

    For game 2 of the first night we switched blinds to 15 minutes to speed up the game. It was very simple to just reset the timer to zero and then make it 15:00. Like most dealer buttons (at least with my crew) the button itself often lagged behind the actual dealer spot, but it was always there, ticking away. Overall it was nice - I didn't have to worry about leaving if I wanted, and we had a simple way to take care of the blinds.

    The positives:
    1 - An inexpensive way to time the blinds.
    2 - As a dealer button, it is always on the table (hopefully in the right spot) for all to see - although it is hard to see the LCD - there is always someone who can read it..
    3 - Easy to use.
    4 - The back of the timer has the ranking of poker hands. Ok, if this is a positive then you really should find a new game. Unless of course this is for the fish you invite over each week - in that case congratulations.

    The negatives:
    1 - The battery must be removed to shut it off (This is per the recommendation of the vendor). That's right - there is no on\off button. Bummer. Failure to remove the battery will result in a dead battery in about 7 days time - that was my experience with the one time I left it installed in-between weekly games. The battery cover is a pain in the butt (at least on my sample) to get open and will probably break at some point - and without taking some precautions, that battery will surely be lost (it is a small "disc" battery). I recommend being careful when removing the battery cover and getting some extra batteries to have around. To store the battery I have been flipping it upside-down and putting it back into it's "hole".
    2 - The button is only a timer - no information on the blinds themselves is available. Tournament director is nice because it lets you know what the blinds are at and what the next round will be.
    3 - People could possibly reset or pause the blinds by hitting a button (not easy to do as the buttons do require a decent "push" to make them do anything.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2006
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