As partypoker moves to purge its site of third-party software tools (and partypoker is only the latest one to do this, not the only one), another online poker network is doing the exact opposite. The Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) announced on Monday that it is going to make tracking hands easier to do than it has been on its family of sites.

In a blog post, MPN Managing Director Alex Scott explained that he and the MPN team have been talking a lot about HUDS and tracking software and came to the conclusion that they made a mistake with their software policies.

How Hand Histories Work at MPN

MPN has two different poker clients. The older one is called “Classic” and is available for Windows users. It is gradually being phased out, but it lets players download hand histories. Scott calls these “compromised” hand histories, meaning that “full data is only stored for hands that you contributed to,” though this isn’t necessarily abnormal.

With the other, newer software, called Prima, players are unable to download hand history files.

And so, after review, changes are being made at MPN. Scott laid out the principles behind said changes:

• Players should be able to track their own game, learn, and improve.
• We want to be more transparent, and allow players to verify that we are doing a good job of keeping the games free of cheating. (We are, but you shouldn’t have to trust us).
• We want to comply with the law around data portability.
• We wish to discourage players from using hand history data in a way that gives them an unfair advantage over other players. This includes the use of HUDs, seat or table selection software, and real-time advisory tools which use hand history data.

How Hand Histories Will Be

To most of those points, MPN will being allowing players to request hand history files dating back to January 1, 2013. The files will be compatible with PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager. Additionally, MPN will add a feature to the Prima client later this year to allow for hand history downloads straight from the software. Before then, hand histories will need to be requested by e-mail.

Hand histories will only show the cards of the player who requested the hand history, as well as any cards revealed by players in the hand. This is standard operating procedure in the industry.

Those changes will make it easier for players to use hand tracking software, both for their own education and to use in software like HUDs. HUDs will not be banned, but to make them less useful, MPN is also going to make it easier for players to change their screen names. Right now, players can make an alias change every 30 days or 1,000 hands, whichever comes first. Alex Scott said, “At some point in the future, we will make these changes easier and more prominent.”

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