PartyPoker Will Anonymize Cash Game Hand Histories

Date: 2016-09-28
Author: Jason Glatzer

Big news from PartyPoker that affects ring game players who use HUDs, poker tracking databases, and related software. Starting on October 5, 2016, PartyPoker will be somewhat anonymizing cash game tables.
By somewhat, we mean they are not anonymized while you are playing. So, you can take notes, recognize players, and do things the old-fashioned way. However, the hand histories themselves will show the players as anonymous, meaning that importing these hands into your tracking database will only show your stats since the "Hero" won't be listed as anonymous.
This effectively eliminates HUDs for cash game play since HUDs are typically powered by hand history files and not active play.
According to the PartyPoker press release, players will also be able to review the number of hands they played, their win rate, and other statistics that may be helpful.
As part of the change, PartyPoker is also allowing its players to make a one-time screen name change on its site. This is important to do if you play ring games, as players may still have old stats on you in their HUD that would show up if you don't change your screen name. There is little point in giving your opponent any advantage such as this one that can be avoided.
partypoker believes these changes will help level the playing field and protect its player base. It believes the changes will improve the overall ecology, thus keeping players active on their site longer, which could lead to better player liquidity.
Group Head of PartyPoker Tom Waters said, "It's important for us to provide all poker players with a fair and ethical product whilst still allowing tHEM to learn and improve. We want PartyPoker to offer a level playing field that allows players of all abilities to compete fairly. We have listened to feedback from the poker community and believe that allowing players to continue to view their own hand histories is important for their personal game development. Anonymizing hand histories will help prevent data mining and therefore protect both the professional and recreational player and improve the overall ecology on PartyPoker which is imperative for the long term future of the game."
These changes follow others that were implemented in late 2015 that combatted seating scripts. Players use seating scripts to target weaker players, and they were activity frowned upon by just about every major online poker network.
The changes in late 2015 included creating one waiting list for all stakes of a game instead of waiting lists per table and only showing player names after the first card is dealt. PartyPoker announced that players still utilizing seating scripts will be given one warning to stop using them and if they continue to do so afterwards could have their account completely banned.

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