Bodog to Block Data Mining Sites
In a move designed to bring the fun back to online poker, Bodog announced on Wednesday that it would start making every attempt to block data mining sites from accessing its online poker room. The site will be implementing a system that will block sites like SharkScope, PokerTableRatings, Poker Site Scout, and PokerDB “that mainly serve professional players.”
“These poker operator information portals are another example of how online poker is assisting in its own demise,” said Bodog representative Patrik Selin in a press release. “I have commented previously on how the operators are doing this to themselves with hand histories, HUDs, and rakeback, all of which we will be cutting out. The next tier in the process is the operator information sites.”
Data mining was introduced years ago as a way for players to track information about opponents through the use of hand histories. The practice quickly caught on and has become a necessity for some players in the increasingly tough games of recent years. By being able to analyze hand histories with statistics, players can better utilize their game selection and make optimal decisions based on information they wouldn’t normally have on an opponent.
Sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt made efforts to limit the use of tracking sites in recent years. While most sites have a list of banned programs in their Terms of Service, plenty of data mining sites have remained in business.
Now, Bodog is aggressively putting its foot down.
“Nobody who is playing poker for fun visits these sites or probably even knows they exist,” Selin added. “They primarily exist to serve the needs of the professional players and therefore we will be implementing online protection against these sites to further aid the crucial leisure poker player.”
Bodog could have its work cut out in blocking data mining. Back in 2008, PokerStars got into a tussle with tournament tracking site SharkScope after it refused to remove PokerStars’ player statistics from its site. PokerStars stepped in by monitoring the Sharkscope internet protocol to find out which players were using the site and sent them warnings.
Based on feedback from players, PokerStars elected to disable the detection feature from its software. SharkScope remains an acceptable tool at PokerStars and most online poker rooms, but only while the client isn’t running.
As of Thursday, Bodog was no longer listed on PokerScout.com’s Online Poker Traffic Report. The site had been hitting a peak of about 300 cash game players in recent months, which ranked in the mid-30’s in the world on a week-to-week basis. It was ranked in the top 20 last July with an average of about 600 ring game players, but has seen its traffic drop drastically. The decision to prohibit data mining tools could help elevate its player pool by bringing in leisure players.
Bodog recently underwent a software upgrade that took ideas from its valued customers. The changes included an improved login system, easier access to games, and other updates that will reduce time spent clicking around. Players will be able to instantly see what’s going on at Bodog with constantly updated information about bonuses, promotions, and more. Players will also see reminders for tournaments, freerolls, and other special events right on the home screen.
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