888 Poker are the latest site to hit the online poker news after a representative posted on the 2+2 forum that it was going to introduce changes to deal with the delightfully named ‘table campers.’
When Daniel Negreanu suggested that Phil Galfond should be the next mainstream spokesperson for poker he was on the money. When Galfond speaks people listen, even if it takes a long time to respond.
In January 2012, Galfond wrote a much talked about blog post called Let’s Make Some Changes, where he aired his concerns about the future of online poker.
“The online poker landscape has changed over the last few years. Unfortunately, for the most part, things have changed for the worse.” Galfond stated on his blog before continuing. “I sincerely hope that this post will lead to the entire online community discussing some potential improvements and solutions for the way the games are played these days. I hope (and expect) that this will be something that the poker sites will listen to.”
Amongst a long list of changes was a need to address the problem of bum hunting. The term given to a practice whereby a reg sits out of a game until a recreational/weaker player takes a seat, before resuming, and then sitting out again once that player leaves.
Stars Make the First Move
Galfond plays his poker on the Rational Group skins and so it was appropriate that PokerStars should react first. As the first online poker site to create a player council, it was refreshing to note that they aired the views of the players before creating a slight change designed to reduce the amount of bum hunting. This was done by automatically removing players from games if they had periods of inactivity longer than 30-seconds.
“The policy should remove a lot of frustration, as well as ensure that sharks do not prey upon weaker players. If they lose their money it will be to the whole player community at those stakes, not just to those players who only play against weaker opponents.” Said PokerStars representative Steve Day at the time of the change.
The poker community welcomed the changes, but urged sites to continue to do more. PokerStars took on board the feedback and in July they ran a promotion designed to reward heads-up players for playing more frequently. Once again Steve Day was the spokesperson for Stars and he laid the foundation for even bigger changes in the future.
“After our discussions, we are more firmly convinced that some form of automatic matchmaking system is the best way forward for heads-up SNG. We will discuss this option with recreational players in the coming weeks. If response is positive, we will likely move forward.”
Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) Gets in on The Act
June was also the date that the MPN got into the act when they created the ‘Heads Up 8-Man Blaze’ philosophy to replace the standard heads-up cash games.
Kudos to MPN for an innovative approach as players would be rotated randomly in pools of eight for their heads up action.
The press release at the time stated: “Heads Up 8 Man Blaze will replace all regular Heads Up tables, thus solving the industry-wide problem of ‘bum-hunting’, in which players park in a seat at a Heads Up table and wait for a weaker player to arrive, refusing play with any player of equal or better skill.”
iPoker create the ‘Heads-Up Hogging Prevention’ plan
In July, the iPoker Network sent instructions to all of its skins to implement the ‘Heads-Up Hogging Prevention’ system designed to “keep the games flowing smoothly,” and make sure the games are, “fast, smooth and fair for everybody.”
Once again a time limit system similar to that employed by Stars was introduced to kerb the amount of bum hunting that was damaging the games.
888 Don’t Like the Word Bum
It seems 888 Poker don’t like the term ‘bum’ and instead refer to these vagabonds as ‘table campers,’ which is all very Scissor Sisters if you ask me.
888 Poker have joined the fray after a spokesperson for the site dropped this bomb into the site’s sponsored 2+2 thread recently.
Effective immediately, we will actively seek out table campers who abuse the sit out feature and address them on site. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to take action against players “sitting out” for excessive periods of time. Repeated abusers of the “Sit out” feature may be restricted from participating in our poker games either temporarily or indefinitely.
The feedback as been highly positive. Once again the trend is the same, with regs greeting the news with a gentle nod, but expecting more to happen in the future to outlaw this problem completely.
Just what the poker sites can do to eradicate the problem in its entirety remains to be seen, but it’s promising to see the online sites finally doing something about it. That being said Bodog were way ahead of the game when they introduced their Recreational Poker Model way back 2011. A move that got the parrots chirping in dissention, but taking into account what has been happening since doesn’t seem that bad after all.