Party Poker has been aiming to become a recreational players heaven for quite some time now. Following on that guiding thought, the room has introduced numerous changes that professional players did not find particularly appealing.
Party Poker, as described in our review, has done away with traditional waiting lists, effectively preventing bum hunting across the room and they’ve created a system which basically rendered seating script software completely useless. Namely, players cannot see names of other players at the table until after they’ve joined and got dealt into a hand.
Now, Party Poker is ready to take the next step by making hand history files completely anonymous, effectively preventing the use of HUDs at the tables.
Changes to Party Poker hand histories
The latest announcement coming from the room explains that starting with October 5 2016, all hand history files will become anonymous. This means that players will only be able to see their own aliases, while rest of the players at any particular table will be designated as Player 1, Player 2, etc.
With this change, software like Hold’em Manager or Poker Tracker will lose much of its usefulness at Party Poker tables. Players will still be able to track their own results like the general win rate or results by a position, but they will no longer be able to gather stats and use them to gain edge over the rest of the player pool.
One important thing to note is that this change will only affect cash games, while tournaments and sit & go’s will remain untouched, at least for the time being. Some believe, and are probably right, that this is a test ride before applying the same policy across board.
The same changes package coming into effect on October 5 will also allow those players who so wish to change their screen names one time. This is not like Microgaming where players can regularly change their aliases but rather a one-off accompanying other changes.
Also, seating scripts will officially become banned. Up to this point, Party Poker made life hard on those who wanted to use scripts by making table anonymous from the lobby view. Starting with October 5, seating scripts will no longer be allowed and players found to still be using them will face severe consequences (one warning, followed by a permanent ban).
These types of changes always create some stir in the community, so let us quickly look at the good and bad things that could come on the trace of these changes.
By making their hand histories completely anonymous, Party Poker will certainly create an environment where players will be competing on a more level playing field. Professional players, many of whom have already left to look their luck elsewhere, will no longer be able to use the stats and numbers against their less skilled opposition.
Along with the sizable deposit bonus, this should help create an environment where recreational players will feel more relaxed and more confident. That can only help the poker room’s ecosystem. Knowing that they are playing against other human beings instead of computers and sophisticated software solutions, fun players will feel like they actually have a chance.
The debate about whether this is true is a completely different issue. Their perception of the game is crucial in swaying them towards the tables or making them run as far away as they can.
As they say, there are two sides to every coin.
Online poker is, sadly, riddled with people looking to gain unfair advantage whenever they can. We’ve had a number of documented cases of cheating and bot rings pestering the games. Many of these were stopped only thanks to players’ efforts – and they relied on the stats to uncover the cheaters.
With anonymous tables, tracking down scammers and bots becomes a virtual impossibility. It opens the door for Party Poker to become a new bots heaven, which is something no one wants to see.
Either way, the changes are coming. What will become of them remains to be seen. We certainly hope for the best.