Players at partypoker can expect sweeping changes to the third-party tool policy at partypoker as the world’s second largest online room is moving towards banning all forms of tracking tools, including HUDs.
A HUD or Heads-Up Display is a software program that displays information about the playing styles of the opponents at the table in real time. They work by reading hand history files saved on the computer and creating various useful statistics such as pre-flop raise percentage, 3-bet percentage, aggression, attempt to steal blinds percentage, etc. As a result, the users of such tools have additional information that may give them an edge over players not using the tool.
The changes to the third-party tools are expected to go live in the first week of May, a partypoker representative wrote on the poker room’s customer support chat room on Discord.
Upcoming Changes to partypoker
Besides restrictions on HUDs, many other changes are also expected to go live. Players will no longer be able to download hand histories, instead, a new hand replayer will be provided. This change will make tracking tools like PokerTracker, Hold’em Manager, and Jivaro ineffective once implemented.
Furthermore, beginning the first week of May, every player who logs in to the site will be asked to create a new alias, so players cannot be tracked based on existing databases.
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While the room has yet to officially announce this news, reports regarding a possible ban on HUDs originated from partypoker partner, Rob Yong in an interview with CalvinAyre’s Lee Davy in the first week of March.
“There are lots of changes that are happening,” said Yong. “There will be no HUDs on the site very soon.” This was later confirmed by partypoker representative Colette Stewart on the poker room’s customer support chat room on Discord after a member asked if the room plans to ban HUDs.
Stewart wrote that “only very limited 3rd party software will be permitted” and that the changes will be “likely” implemented during the “first week of May.”
The reports of the upcoming changes were reiterated by Rob Yong late last month during a podcast with Jeff Gross, partypoker’s newly appointed Team Online member. Yong said that the room will become “completely HUD-free” once the Powerfest series concludes.
According to Yong, by implementing such a move, the site could lose “$10 million in revenue from these players” this year. But more importantly, this will help achieve the long-term goal of becoming the fairest and most honest poker site by the end of this year, he stated.
Recently, partypoker announced that it had closed 277 bot accounts and have paid back more than $735,000 to players who were impacted by these bots in the company’s continued attempt to provide a safer and fairer online poker room. The company said that since December 1, 2018, more than 75% of the account closures came as a result of detection thanks to the newly created fraud team tasked with safeguarding the room.
The upcoming changes to the third-party tool policy are part of an industry trend over the last few years to “level the playing field” by reducing the effectiveness of third-party software tools and thus improving the experience for recreational players.
Over the last few years, many online poker operators have been implementing new rules and changes to their third-party tool policies with one common motive: to protect recreational players. Unibet disallows all third-party tools, does not save hand histories, and prevents table and seat selection. MPN has also been moving on a similar path by introducing blind-lobby functionality and allowing players to change their screen names every 30 days.
Asia-focused GGNetwork also prohibits the use of third-party software tools, but it has its own built-in HUD, which it calls “Smart HUD” with basic statistics.
The newly launched, Run It Once Poker also prohibits all kind of third-party tools and has a similar built-in HUD through its “Dynamic Avatars” system where each players’ avatars change based on their recent play history.
PokerStars also made many changes to its third-party tool policy including a complete prohibition to all seating scripts.