Players logging into partypoker on Monday were greeting with a significant client update, designed with the goal of making casual players have more fun and feel more comfortable on the site.
As previewed a few weeks ago, partypoker is putting the kibosh on most “third-party tracking tools,” things like PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager. These tools read a player’s downloaded hand histories and feed the data into a local database. The software user can than turn this data into useful information to help them analyze their play and plug holes in their game.
The information is also used to create profiles on opponents; those profiles are then often overlaid onto the tables using a heads-up display (HUD). Those that use HUDs can help a player make decision in game by giving them an idea of how their opponents play – is that person tight, do they always raise pre-flop when folded to, do they fold to pressure on the turn, etc.
These profiles are also used by seating scripts, which searches the lobby for players the software user targets (presumably players designated as weak based on their data), then seats the user with those targets automatically if there are open spots at the table. Seating scripts are generally despised, as they allow seasoned players to hunt and pick on lesser players. Those players might be weaker, but they aren’t dumb, and they can figure out they are being followed, which hurts the fun they are having and often causes them to leave the poker room (not to mention lose their money to the stronger players).
This is why partypoker is trying to eliminate third-party software. The poker room sees its use as predatory and wants to protect recreational players, which, in turn, will protect partypoker’s revenues.
partypoker Taking Drastic Steps
One step partypoker is taking – and one that all players will see immediately upon logging in after the update – is making its players change their screen names. The reason for this is with all new screen names, the data tracking software users have won’t be useful. There will be no names to match the data.
In addition, hand histories are no longer saved or downloadable onto hard drives. Without the hand histories, poker tracking software won’t have information to read.
Max Value Software LLC, the owner of PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager, has been particularly critical of the move by partypoker. The company believes – as do many poker players – that poker tracking tools are vital to the poker community by aiding in the detection of cheaters.
Said a company rep on Two Plus Two:
Hand histories have a long track record of being the most important tool to help players themselves ensure game integrity yet partypoker is removing them “to protect players”. Poker hand histories are often downloaded into a local database such as those provided by PokerTracker and Holdem Manager software. Once a player has a database of their hand histories, the analytics tools in the software are instrumental in allowing customers to:
(A) filter/sort/analyze key playing results/trends/patterns that can be instrumental in flagging potential cheating, chip dumping or bots.
(B) review and verify the integrity of card distributions across large samples of their hand histories.
Downloadable poker hand histories also allow you to send a hand to a friend or post it on a forum to publicly discuss it with others.
The company also says that partypoker’s initiatives will not stop third party software from working, that there will always be developers who will be able to get around restrictions to give players an advantage over those who do not have the resources.