PartyPoker Introduces Anonymized Hand Histories Despite Player Objections

Date: 2016-10-12
Author: Jason Glatzer

Last month PartyPoker announced it would be introduced big changes to how it was recording hand history files in ring games.
These changes were implemented on October 5, which anonymize player names in the hand history files. So instead of seeing a player name when reviewing hand history files, PartyPoker players will now instead see it listed as “Player 1”, “Player 2”, “Player 3”, etc. The only exception to this is for the player itself with the hero’s name being listed in full.
Partypoker believes that this will allow players to be on a more even playing field and eliminate the effectiveness of third-party software in ring games. Since HUDs and poker tracking software relies on player names to be listed in hand history files, these will no longer be effective outside of just seeing your own personal stats. In turn, this will reduce if not eliminate the effectiveness of any seat scripting and scraping which was already addressed in changes last year when a policy was introduced eliminating waiting lists on single tables. Instead, players were able to join waiting lists for a game, stake, and table size and be seated in a global player pool.
To further reduce the effectiveness of most third Party Poker Software tools, PartyPoker also is allowing its players to do a one-time screenname change. I encourage all ring game players on PartyPoker to do this, since why let others know about your past history when you can start fresh under the new rules. Also, if you play on partypoker, I advise that you learn to take good notes as if you were relying solely on your HUD, you need to know when you have seen a player before an a few details about what you noticed about his or her playing style.
While many players are applauding the move, others that take advantage of third Party Poker Software are upset by the changes. Additionally, many are worried that without full hand history files, players will have a difficult time to detect collusion, bots, and other methods of cheating.
Partypoker addressed both of these issues on Two Plus Two when a site representative made the following statement:

It is important for us to provide our players with a fair and ethical product whilst still allowing players to learn and improve their game. PartyPoker offers a level playing field that allows players of all abilities to compete fairly.

We have collated and reviewed recent feedback from the community and can confirm we will continue with our plan to anonymise hand histories. We strongly believe this will help prevent data mining and help protect all our players alongside improving the overall ecology on partypoker.

We would like to address some concerns raised by our players since the announcement last week.
With the security tools in place, recent increased investment in the Risk & Fraud team and software updates, we are confident that we have adequate controls to help prevent the use of BOTs, 3rd party tools and screen scraping on the network.
Since the first ecology changes on the site in October 2015 we have closed over 200 accounts and will be redistributing any remaining funds by the end of the month.

As stated in our recent ecology announcement all players can make a one-off screen name change. This allows players to clear their screen name from any previous possible data mining.

For now, these changes will only affect cash game players although we will consider rolling out the ecology improvements across tournaments and fast forward. We will continue to closely monitor the impact of these changes on our cash game ecology and we appreciate all player feedback, which we will take into consideration for any future actions.

We are extremely appreciative of the support that players have given us over the past few years by highlighting suspicious accounts. We have received a number of concerns from players indicating that the upcoming changes will mean that this will no longer be possible and we have taken these concerns into consideration.

We remain dedicated to provide a great poker experience for players of all levels on a site which is fair and ethical for everyone.


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