Textbook Engineer

As the degens have moved to online poker to keep playing while maintaing social distance, we have gone through a couple of online options before finding a very nice solution in Poker Mavens.

The Poker Mavens software is stable, rich with features, and sophisticated in its ability to run an online card room. I am quite taken with it and have enjoyed deploying it and customizing it. An excellent solution for our group to play together online and I recommend it highly.

I have also grown to appreciate the author of the software, Kent Briggs. Kent is a lone operator, having produced Poker Mavens for a over a decade, improving on the offering, expanding its capabilities, updating technology. Kent used off-the-shelf Flash technology originally for the UI, but has since adopted more open and secure HTML5 and JavaScript, rolling a lot of his own libraries when existing packages did not meet the needs of the software. He adopted JSON in favor of earlier colon-separated formatting for his API (or I should say in addition to, because of course he left the old format around to be backwards-compatible).

The software takes security and privacy into account, but ultimately trusts individual operators to deploy responsibly.

I am sure he is busier now than he has been in a long time, as demand for online solutions for home games surge. But he was plugging away at his work long before now, continuously updating the offering.

Kent Briggs is a textbook engineer. His work is rigorous, documented, tested, and built to standards. It is therefore stable and interoperable.

He is also textbook in the connotative sense, very much a typical engineer I have encountered through my education and career. Driven, independent, conventional, orthodox. Certain.

He prefers simple, accessible design. A lot of beige and brown.

There is a forum on the Briggs Softworks site, and this bit of its configuration says a lot about Kent Briggs and how he operates:

But you can also dive into some specific forum posts and get a feel for his approach to this software and his work in general.

Here are some great examples I managed to piece together.

On putting in a mandatory straddle (or even just calling it a third blind):
If you’re looking for home game gimmicks then you’ve picked the wrong software.

On changing the limit for max buy-in:
You can’t edit settings on a running table and that’s not how ring games operate anyway. The max buy-in is typically set at 100 BBs. If you want higher stakes, you need a separate table with higher stakes.

On button straddle:
Button straddle gives the button player too much of an advantage, IMO.

On practicality of dealer tips in person versus adding them to the software:
That’s because those are human beings who have to earn a living. No one tips a computer. When you play slots, you don’t give the machine a little extra on your way out.

On the gender identity required for registration in the UI (so much to unpack here it could make its own post):
It’s not required by AccountsAdd in the API. It will default to Male if not specified.

On changing number of hands in mixed games to current number of players on the table:
Players come and go so that would make the cycle very inconsistent.

In a discussion about WebSockets, and a question from someone if Kent is using a package like ZeroMQ or Kafka to implement it:
I just read the [standards documentation] and manually handled the extra header handshake required in the TCP component I use (Indy Sockets).

I would bet that one of the biggest compliments you could pay Kent was to tell him he made something built-to-last. And I bet he would consider flashy to be an insult.

I feel like I have known Kent my whole life. And he made a really great piece of software.

Author: Sleepy

Eyes droop and he peers from meer slits
Long gone the usual insight and wit
then a raise unexpected
the pot is collected
How long will he keep up this shit?

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