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Hold'em Manager vs. partypoker: a battle for players rights?

Not even a month had passed since partypoker decided to change its software policy forbidding the use of HUDs and restricting players to download their hand histories, and a movement was just born to fight against those decisions. In this article, we analyze the situation and share our opinion as affiliates.

Hold'em Manager vs. partypoker: a battle for players rights?

partypoker vs. players and software developers

In April 2019, we unveiled the partypoker roadmap shared by Rob Yong, who confirmed that date that partypoker would be a HUD-free site "very soon." The first reactions surfaced, some in favor of the measures because those will improve the poker ecosystem and make the game fun again, others against the restrictions because it clearly affects their game strategy or business model, and others told that not having access to hand histories will benefit cheaters as players wouldn't be able to identify them. Nevertheless, on June 17th partypoker held the "Alias" race to begin the new era without HUDs

partypoker wasn't the first network in making this decision: a long time ago, Unibet, MPN, GG, among others, took similar measures, all in pro of recreational players and a healthy poker ecosystem. Recently, MPN changed its mind and reinstated hand histories, but the sites will remain no HUD-friendly (it isn't forbidden, but having a HUD with 24h data delay is quite useless).

Players and software developers vs. partypoker

On June 10th, a Hold 'em Manager representative created a thread in 2+2 called "PartyPoker: "Protecting Players" by Removing Hand Histories?" which now has over 530 messages. The topic started with the HM developers' concerns about the restriction to download history files, and how those have helped in the past to uncover massive cheats like Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. It also mentions that bots, cheaters, and Blackhat software developers will only benefit from the restrictions, and the average of players will see their gaming experience affected. At the end of the post, it invites players to visit a website and take action against the measures of partypoker:

  • Sharing the information with other players and making them aware of the upcoming risks related to gaming integrity;
  • Sending letters to partypoker complaining about HUDs and hand history restrictions;
  • Migrating to other rooms that allow players to download hand histories and use HUDs.

One month later, the "Blackhat" thread became true when HM representative shared a video called "PartyPoker Inspires Blackhat Software" that shows a software under development that grabs hand history in real-time from partypoker. They said the video was posted with "the developers' permissions."

The video lasts about three minutes, and a Visual Studio screen with some code can be seen behind a partypoker table, and a player ("moomcy") plays a couple of hands while a command prompt screen shows the hand history and converts it to PokerStars format. What is very interesting besides the obvious fact of grabbing hand histories, is that the prompt screen shows the flop cards before they appear in the poker client, which proves how fast the software is and how it can help bot and solver developers. The video has now almost 5,5k views.

Rob Yong reacted to the video and the HM crusade saying he had blocked the comments and the "trolling."

Also, the player "moomcy" reported that his account was banned.

Conclusion

It's not a surprise that software developers make a stand about partypoker's latest decisions. The business is directly affected, and they'll effectively lose money and users. Although directly sharing a video showing the security faults in the partypoker platform sounds more like a declaration of war.

Blackhat software had always been a threat to the industry, and for example, Chinese apps like PokerMaster proved that cheaters are always looking for options to make money online.

We are not fans of the partypoker's decisions (even less if we remember they shaved affiliates' commissions on its war against bots), but we are conscious that the online poker industry is changing and all parts involved, including players and affiliates, must adapt to new conditions, and of course raise our voice in case of injustice.

Nowadays, players have plenty of options to choose if they want to migrate from partypoker to other sites were HUDs and hand histories are allowed, or at least they can request files with their game history. We invite all players who have doubts to contact our team and get more information about the best poker networks to play in 2019.

Poker room/Network HUDs allowed? Hand histories Manager
PPPoker Yes, with special add-on Yes, via hand converter David
Chico (TigerGaming, BetOnline, SportsBetting) Yes Yes, via hand converter Timofey
Microgaming (PCF Poker, Guts Poker, RedStar Poker) Only old software Available with 24h delay Antonio
iPoker (Betfair, Winner) Yes Yes Antonio
Winning (PokerKing, Americas Cardroom) Yes Yes Timofey
Private deals for VIP players Yes Available in real-time Rodion

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Vargoso 11.07.19
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