On June 17, partypoker, the world’s second largest online poker room, forced players to change their screen names and eliminated the ability to download hand histories, in a bid to improve the safety and security for their players.
The decision is bold, and risky, with a large contingent of the professional poker playing community using hand histories fed into third-party software tools such as Hold’em Manager (HEM) and PokerTracker (PT) to improve their game and to seek out and exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.
In the wake of the decision, dissenting voices created a website called https://www.protectonlinepokerplayers.com/ stating that partypoker’s decision to remove hand histories created the opposite effect, making the site more unsafe, and questioned relying solely on an online poker room to take care of your safety and security.
On the same day the changes were to go ahead, Microgaming Poker Network, MD, Alex Scott, penned a blog post declaring their decision to withhold hand histories as a ‘mistake’ and vowed to reinstate the service, allowing people to download three years worth of hand histories.
You can read Scott’s thoughts here.
Rob Yong is spearheading the changes, and yesterday, I sat down with him for an hour to talk about the dissenting voices, Alex Scott’s blog post, and his plans to drive the bots and shady characters out of online poker.