PartyPoker Announces Global Ban on HUDs, Seating Scripts

Updated: October 1st, 2015 by Dev Ops

Online poker’s industry-wide shift to various forms of what some companies call a “recreational poker model” continued today with an announcement by well-known European site PartyPoker that its players will no longer be able to use HUDs (heads-up displays) or seating scripts on the venerable site.

party-poker-logoNo exact timeline for the soon-to-happen ban has yet been announced, though a PartyPoker statement terms the changes as being planned to happen “in the coming weeks.”  Calling the moves the first part of PartyPoker’s “Power to the People” campaign, the shift continues an ongoing crackdown by the industry at large against third-party software aids that are generally believed to give too much of an advantage to their users.

PartyPoker’s Director of Games, Golan Shaked, offered the following as explanation for the moves.  “As part of our Poker for the People campaign,” said Shaked,” the partypoker team is committed to providing all poker players, regardless of experience or skill levels, with trusted poker products that are fair, ethical and fun. We will continue working with the wider poker community on developing a mutually beneficial, trusting relationship.”

Three specific points were addressed in Party’s notification of the pending 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.

The changes are specifically designed to trim back on the viability of illegal hand-history databases offered by unaffiliated third-party sellers, and the ability of seat-scripting players to use that accumulated information to target what veteran players term as “God seats,” meaning seats immediately to the left of known online fish (unskilled players).

It’s not the first time PartyPoker has implemented a strategy in hopes of leveling the playing field and making the game more enjoyable for most online poker players.  However, the site’s previous try, a segregated-tables system given a try in early 2013, was overwhelmingly unpopular and was dumped just a few months later.

Party’s changes add to a growing list of sites and networks that have implemented or announced various controls against excessive software use by players.  Among those already onboard with similarly-themed changes include Full Tilt, Unibet, Bodog/Bovada, PokerStars, the Microgaming Poker Network, iPoker, and several others.

Said company spokesplayer Tony Dunst, “These changes at partypoker are designed to create a more hospitable environment for recreational players. Unfortunately, many of the tools and tactics that professionals use to maximize their edge have made the games too difficult for new players to survive. Without them, grinders will merely pass money back and forth while being raked, and games will inevitably dry up. I think these changes will help level the playing field for casual players, and preserve the quality of games for professionals.”

Public opinion on social media was generally favorable to the move, though hard-core online grinders, as expected, took turns bashing PartyPoker on dedicated poker-discussion forums.  Those players, many of whom could accurately describe themselves as the targets of the new changes, assured each other that those who had intent to cheat would quickly find workarounds for the new rules despite the site’s public-pleasing intent.

While the move will certainly be in effect on PartyPoker’s global offerings, it is uncertain as to whether it will also apply in the US state of New Jersey, where PartyPoker software is used in partnership with a site offered by Atlantic City’s Borgata casino.  A modified HUD is currently allowed for under New Jersey’s regulations, and Party is involved in New Jersey only as a partner under the Borgata’s casino-based online license.

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