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The Poker Genie Review

Discussion in 'Poker Gear Reviews' started by Wylecoyo, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Wylecoyo

    Wylecoyo Super Moderator
    Staff Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Location:
    Starboard Bridge-Wing
    Manufacturer:Gameline Incorporated
    Retailer(s): Gameline Incorporated, 5-Star Deal, Discount Casino Gear, Mr. Poker Chips
    Average Price: $69.95 direct from Gameline or approximately $63.00 from various retailers.
    Material: Black plastic.
    Member Review by: Wylecoyo
    In my ongoing obsession to build the greatest portable playing setup ever, I have recently traded in my laptop running The Tournament Director for a Poker Genie. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this product, at a casual glance it appears to be a nice, but basic tournament timer which continuously displays a count-down of the round time, ante, and blinds. While this is correct, the Poker Genie also contains a mini-computer which can analyze your entire chipset and tailor a seemingly infinite number of possible tournament setups to suit the number of players and stakes you wish to play for. The Genie also features a "custom" mode which allows experienced users to program in any blind schedule they wish.​
    Price
    The Poker Genie is becoming available from a growing number of retailers, most of whom simply drop-ship through 5-Star Deal. Its price ranges from around $63.00 from these various internet sources to $69.95 if you purchase it directly from the manufacturer. You can also get one for free as an online poker promotion from Poker Source Online for 7,500 PSO points. I purchased mine directly from Gameline using a Chiptalk promotion and my total price ended up being $74.30 ($59.45 for the Genie, $9.95 for shipping, and $4.90 CA tax). U.S. domestic shipping from the manufacturer is $9.95 for ground, $12.95 for UPS 3-Day Select, or $34.95 if you want it overnight. I was honestly concerned with the price of this product and debated this purchase for quite some time before I made the plunge. After playing around with this unit and using it in several of my weekly games I can honestly say it is well worth the price.​
    Feel/Durability
    The case of the Genie is made from fairly substantial black plastic and it seems to be made very well. It looks as if it would survive at least a couple of hard drops to the floor, although I honestly have no desire to find out if it really would. The case measures 6" long, 4" tall, and just over 1" deep, making it just deep enough to freely stand on its bottom edge, although I wouldn't recommend leaving it this way during play.​
    Sound
    The alarm tone of the Genie is pretty loud and I have never had any problems hearing it go off during play. On the down side, the volume level cannot be adjusted and the tone cannot be customized like with the Tournament Director, but it is not overly annoying and is more than adequate for its designed task. It would be nice if there were an option to disable the beeps which sound every time you press a button as they quickly become annoying when holding the buttons down during programming, especially when in the "custom" mode which allows you to enter in your own blind schedule. ​
    Display/Visibility
    The face of the Genie has four LED readouts and four buttons: one 1" tall red LED which displays the current round time and three 1/2" green LED's which display the ante and the blinds. These readouts are all very bright and easy to read both at a distance (easily up to 15-20 feet) and at an angle (well in excess of 45 degrees to either side). The back of the unit includes a very simple, but easy to use "quick" reference on how to operate the Genie.​
    Operation
    The Poker Genie is astonishingly simple to use. Although it is accompanied by a very easy to use four-page user's manual, overall operation is so simple and intuitive that most users will never have to read the instructions. The reference card on the back of the unit is actually all you will ever need unless you choose to use the custom blind mode of operation. Once you enter the data it requests it will retain it for future use and you should never have to make changes unless you alter your chip set.

    Normal Mode
    To turn the unit on, simply plug it in and it will prompt you to enter the number of chip denominations you will be using (1-5 denominations are available). The Genie will attempt to utilize the majority of the chip values you program in, so for convenience sake you should only enter the denominations you intend to issue players at the start of play and leave out any denominations you plan on using for color-ups as entering them will only throw off the Genie's calculations.

    [​IMG]

    After entering the number of denominations, the Genie will prompt you to enter the denomination and total number of each of the denominations you will be playing with. The original version of the Poker Genie was limited to 4 chip denominations of 5, 25, 100, and 500, but the newest version will allow you to use up to 5 denominations valued at anywhere from 0.01 to 50,000.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next the Genie will prompt you to enter the number of players. One very nice feature is that the Genie will not allow you to enter a number of players beyond the capacity of the chipset data you have entered.

    [​IMG]

    With the number of players set, the Genie will then prompt you to enter the starting amount for each player, again without allowing you to exceed the capacity of the chipset you have selected.

    [​IMG]

    The Poker Genie will then prompt you to enter the desired round length while displaying the estimated time the entire tournament should last at the round value selected. This is a great feature because it allows you to adjust your round times in order to achieve whatever overall tournament play length you desire and the Genie's estimations seem to be pretty accurate in this regard.

    [​IMG]

    With all the preliminary data entered, the Genie will indicate how many chips of each denomination to issue to each player and immediately displays the data for the first round. All you have to do is hand out the chips and press the green button to get underway.

    For example: I entered my chip setup as 200 $25, 200 $100, and 100 $500, requested a T5000 tournament for 10 players with a round time of 20 minutes each. The Genie predicted the tournament would last 3 hours and 20 minutes and indicated a starting stack of 16 $25, 11 $100, and 7 $500 chips. The scheduled blinds were as follows: 50/100, 75/150, 150/300, 300/600, 450/900, 600/1200, 600/1200 with a 150 ante, 1000/2000 with a 150 ante, 1500/3000 with a 250 ante, 2000/4000 with a 250 ante, 3000/6000 with a 400 ante, 5000/10000 with a 500 ante, 8000/16000 with an 800 ante, 10000/20000 with a 1000 ante, 15000/30000 with a 1500 ante, and so on from there.

    Setting Up The Game:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Gametime!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    While this is not the exact schedule I would normally use, it is certainly adequate and would result in a very decent tournament. The real advantage of this mode is flexibility in terms of varying your tournament setup to accommodate any number of players while still keeping the length of play manageable.​
    Custom Mode
    To access the custom mode, simply hold down the red cancel button while plugging the unit in. In this mode the Genie does not need to know any of the logistics necessary in the normal mode and you simply enter in whatever blinds, antes, and round times you desire. Beyond the advantage of entering whatever blind schedule you wish, the custom mode allows you to vary the round length from round to round as well as to program scheduled breaks. To program a break you simply enter a time and set the ante and blinds to zero and when the round begins during actual play the unit will display a cascading "Break" across the blind readouts.

    As useful as the normal mode is, I prefer to play using the custom mode because I have a schedule my game is used to playing and I have programmed in breaks to coincide with coloring up.​
    Reviewers Comments
    I cannot praise this device enough – I LOVE IT. It is small enough to be easily portable, can be placed on the table top during play for easy view, and is powerful enough to generate a tournament on the fly while still keeping everything completely manageable. The only negative comments I can point out are the lack of a stand or support to stabilize the unit while in play and the fact it cannot run off of batteries – both of which are very minor and do not, in any way, render this device unsuitable for any home game I can imagine. If you have an extension cord and something to prop the case up against you can easily overcome the few shortcomings the Poker Genie has. I simply cannot recommend it enough. ​
    Additional Pictures

    Product Contents:
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    #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2006

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