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partypoker to Scrub Opponents’ Names from Hand Histories

The trend in online poker is to make the poker rooms more friendly to recreational players, largely at the expense of high volume, grinding pros. In October 2015, partypoker introduced “Phase One” of its attempt at “leveling the playing field.” Yesterday, the poker room announced its next steps in what it says will “….improve the ecology of its poker room and promote fair and ethical gameplay.”

Phase One, which took effect in mid-October, was an update meant to shield recreational players and novices from being targeted by experienced pros. In a blog post, partypoker outlined the following changes:

•    Players will be able to view the last 12 months of their own hand histories within the Missions icon in the partypoker software, but hand histories will no longer be able to be downloaded and saved to their local devices
•    Players wishing to wait for a cash game will join the room-wide waiting list and be randomly seated when a seat that matches their preference becomes available
•    Players joining a cash game will see the names of their opponents only once their first hand is dealt

Using a room-wide waiting list and preventing players from seeing the names of their opponents before cards are dealt scuttled people’s ability to use seating scripts. When you can’t choose your table and seat and don’t even know who you are about to play against, there goes seat selection, there goes hunting for novice prey.

On Tuesday, partypoker listed its new policies, which apply only to cash games:

•    Local hand histories will still be available for download however player screen names will be anonymised
•    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

Looking at these, partypoker has reversed course on local hand histories, but has taken the precaution to remove the names of the other players so that nobody can be accurately tracked. As a nod to pros and serious amateurs who still use hand tracking and analysis software, though, players can still use statistics from their own hands to continue to educate themselves. They just won’t be able to see who they played against.

And while last year’s changes made seating scripts nearly worthless, these new ones have officially made them against the rules.

It should be noted that it does not appear that partypoker’s tables will actually be anonymous, aside from before players are seated. Names will still be shown during gameplay, so players can still make notes on their opponents. They will just have to do it by hand, while they are playing, as opposed to letting hand tracking software mine all the data.

All of these changes will take effect October 5th.




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