Anti-reg policy: the ecosystem battle
With the end of the online poker boom, one of the main challenges faced by the industry is a decrease in the influx of recreational players who bring good money to the tables and therefore driving the industry growth. Regular players, armed with state-of-the-art software can quickly find a beat fish at the tables. In this scenario, regs come to the tables with no amateur players, money is withdrawn from the poker rooms and recreational players stay away from online poker, which is of course bad news for the business.
Then, the battle begins for attracting amateur players but not pulling out all regs: measures have been introduced in order to equilibrate the ecosystem, and one of the main topics is the support software prohibition. Nowadays there is poker software for almost everything: HUD to display real-time statistics, scripts to automatically find soft tables, etc. Major rooms like PokerStars updated its software policy the last month forbidding the auto-seating scripts and limiting the HUD functionality.
HUD is partially restricted in rooms like 888 Poker (it only works at the fast poker tables), and even partypoker already restricted it to fast poker and limited the scope at regular cash tables, allowing only to gather information from the current session and table.
Other rooms have gone further and have completely banned support software, removing hand histories from its clients, or making them in complex formats that poker trackers don't support. Unibet and Microgaming are a good example of that. But here we take the words of John Anhalt, Ace Poker Solutions Founder, the company behind DriveHUD:
"The sites that want to ban HUDs to have the appearance of being fairer are doing themselves a disservice because it will just push the software into the black market where good mid and high stakes players will pay a lot of money to have custom developed personal HUDs that no one else will have access to. You can’t stop HUDs on any site. It’s not possible."
We all know software that allows the use of HUD on those sites. So far, from the TOP-10 rooms in terms of traffic, only GG Network has decided to completely prohibit support software.
partypoker: support software status
The first comments about a possibly HUD ban at partypoker were from Dzmitry Urbanovich (Brand Ambassador), who commented during one of his streams that most likely partypoker will ban poker trackers in April 2019. Shortly after that, Rob Yong, GVC partner and responsible for the partypoker development commented:
"There are lots of changes that are happening. There will be no HUDs on the site very soon".
Both comments suggest that very soon (in April, less than a month) partypoker will update its software policy restricting the use of HUDs.
It's still unclear if partypoker will ban HUDs or no. Only one thing is sure: the anti-reg path is trending now and in 2019 it will only gather more followers this year.
Anyway, it will be not shocking if partypoker decides to restrict support software: last year the room eliminated first deposit bonuses, limited the HUD functions and added an expiration date to affiliate deals. Other networks have shown good results after trackers prohibition, for example, GG which is showing steady traffic numbers.
Some players are adapting to play without a HUD, but for those who still need it, there are other rooms which have full support to trackers such as PokerKing (WPN), Tigergaming (Chico), Betfair Poker (iPoker), not to mention the booming Chinese apps were HUDs work very decently.
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