partypoker Makes Hand Histories Anonymous, Further Shields Rec Players
partypoker (I really hate the lowercase “p” when I have to use it at the beginning of a sentence) was one of the first online poker rooms to move toward embracing recreational players when it instituted a more “social” vibe a number of years ago. Around this time last year, it implemented some changes meant to thwart those using some third-party software to get an advantage over recreational players. Now, partypoker has announced that it is extending that effort with more steps to protect recreational players from being targeted by pros.
“Phase One” of partypoker’s efforts was put into effect in October 2015. The intent behind the changes was to prevent high volume pros and serious amateurs from using seating scripts that would help them stalk weaker players in the partypoker lobby and pounce on them at the tables. A seating script is a piece of third-party software that kind find particular players (typically using criteria compiled from data collected by other third-party software) and automatically seat the user at the target’s table. Whenever possible, that seat would be to the target player’s left. Most people see this practice as unfair or at least unethical, as casual and/or novice players are effectively being “bullied” by more experienced players, beyond which they would otherwise have to be at the tables. On top of that, when recreational players feel picked on, they are less likely to play again.
Thus, in Phase One last year, partypoker implemented “room-wide” waiting lists for cash games, requiring players who wished to wait for a seat to get on a list for all games of a specific type and stakes, rather than hand-picking tables in order to sit with a certain player. Additionally, the names of players at the table were only visible to a new player once he had been dealt cards. This was another protection layer, making it literally impossible to find a target, since their names wouldn’t be visible while in the lobby.
The latest phase, scheduled to be implemented on October 5th, will include the following changes:
- Local hand histories will still be available for download however player screen names will be anonymized
- Players own screen name will be visible, while remaining players will be listed anonymously in download files e.g. Player 1,2,3
- Players will still be able to view the number of hands they have played, win rate and other statistics to help them improve their play.
- The terms and conditions will change will change prohibiting the use of seating scripts. Following these amendments, players using any such software will be initially issued with a warning notice before being banned from using their account
- Alongside these changes, players will be allowed to make a one-off screen name change
As you can see, much of this has to do with hand histories. As mentioned earlier, players have been able to gather data on opponents using third-party software; this data came through downloaded hand histories. By removing identifying information from these hand histories, partypoker should now be able to prevent people from knowing anything about specific players and therefore eliminate the ability to quickly known who is weak player and who is not without actually having mental or manual notes on a player.
On top of that, whereas last year’s changes were meant to foil seating scripts, partypoker has now officially outlawed them.
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