PokerStars introduces active waiting list to protect the game

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PokerStars have introduced active waiting lists in order to protect rookie and recreational players from the predatory practices of some regulars.

The aim of the Active Waiting Lists system is to create more active cash games but also prevent the practice of “bum hunters”. This is when a more experienced player will only sit at a table with a recognised mark: generally, a new player or a recreational player.

In a statement on their blog, PokerStars assured customers that the new feature is “about making the game fairer and the experience better for most players.”

Some online poker operators in the past have looked to tackle this issue by banning the use of seat scripts; coding which helps a player easily find a softer table. Other operators have also made games anonymous by removing table names.

The statement on the PokerStars blog went into some of the details of the new feature:

“Our latest feature, Active Waiting List, is all about making the game fairer and the experience better for most players. We created this new system for those who like to play cash games with us and it is primarily designed to combat predatory behaviour and level the playing field.

“It achieves this goal by making it more difficult for some players to seek out our less experienced or more recreational players. We expect Active Waiting List to have many other positive effects on our community too because it will reduce the time players spend waiting for a seat in a cash game and increase the number of games running, which benefits everyone.”

PokerStars acknowledged that some sections of the poker community wouldn’t agree with the latest move:

“We understand that people who use waiting lists to hunt weaker players will not be happy with this change, but our intention is to make the online poker lobby a fairer place and to ensure the game’s ongoing health. We are confident that this will be a positive step forward for the online poker environment and will be listening to feedback and analysing how this is received as we look ahead to additional features and updates.”

Under the rules of the Active List system, a player won’t be forced to change seats after a certain period, however, they won’t be able to join a waiting list unless they are active in cash games with similar stakes.