PokerStars Allegedly Requests Real-Life Video to Prove Legitimate Play

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In what appears to be an effort to enforce its new, stricter third party software policy, PokerStars has allegedly sent an e-mail to select high stakes cash game players requesting a video recording of their play. A portion of the e-mail was posted on Two Plus Two by moderator “TooCuriousso1” in a thread for high stakes cash game regulars; it includes a laundry list of detailed requests for video evidence of legitimate online poker play and a ten day window in which to comply.

The relevant portion of the e-mail, posted by TooCuriousso, but sent to friends of his, is as follows:

However, we require a video recording of you playing. This recording has a few mandatory requirements:

– At the beginning of the recording, we must be able to clearly see your face in order to confirm your identity
– Before starting to play, you must rotate your camera 360 degrees to show us all of your surroundings
– You must start your playing session from an empty computer desktop, whereby you initiate the PokerStars client and log into your account
– After logging in, you must play a regular session of yours
– Your playing session at the tables must be for a minimum of 70 active minutes
– During your play at the tables, the recording must be of sufficient quality to see and track the activities that are taking place on your desktop. In addition, the recording must capture your surrounding environment including your monitor, keyboard, mouse and the movement of your hands
– Audio must be included in the recording
– You must minimise the amount of individual video files. Longer, continual recordings are preferred
– You have 10 days to complete this task

It is important that your playing session is conducted in the same manner as one of your typical sessions as your tendencies will be contrasted with your regular play.

You must supply the resulting recording to us via email. In the likely event the files exceed attachment limits, please utilise file sharing services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or whichever service you prefer. We’ll largely leave this option up to you.

Failure to follow these instructions or if the video is of sub-par quality, will result in this task needing to be repeated.

While how out-of-bounds these requests are is really up to each individual, the e-mail does come off on initial read as eyebrow-raising. It is not all that unusual for online poker rooms to be able to monitor what software a person has running on their computer, as that is one way to try to detect illegal third-party software, but asking someone to provide video of their real-life surroundings is odd.

As mentioned, this looks like an effort to enforce the new third party software restrictions put in place this past fall. On Two Plus Two, PokerStars Sit & Go and Tournament Manager Baard Dahl listed out the following changes to the poker site’s policies:

1. Reference material, such as starting hand charts, now have to be “basic in nature”. Anything considered to be sophisticated in nature can no longer be used whilst the client is open.

2. HUDs are no longer permitted to display non-numerical data, categorize players or dynamically display statistics specific to a certain situation.

3. Hand or Situation Analyzers, such as programs that compute equities of various ranges of hands against one another, can no longer be used whilst the client is open.

4. Game State Reporters can no longer automatically or semi-automatically retrieve information from an otherwise permitted reference material. For example, tools can no longer notify an end-user that their starting hand lies in Group 1 of a statically defined grouping of hands.

5. Table Selection and Seating Scripts can no longer time a player’s registration into a global waiting list. They must register players into specific tables or tournaments.

If the e-mail to high stakes players is real, it will be interesting to see how many, if any, players comply with the requests.

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