In an attempt to attract new players to online poker, PokerStars will soon introduce a new seating process for its online poker games. Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Room Operations, announced that “Seat Me” will make the process of player seating at its online tables “better, quicker and fairer.” PokerStars will launch the new program on its Spain-only site, pokerstars.es, first. If there are no glitches, it will be released to the global market.
The single biggest complaint for new, unexperienced players entering online poker games is the fact that they are quickly separated from their bank rolls by card sharks. They don’t have a decent chance to really learn the game by being thrown into the deep end with the sharks. In the process of “bumhunting”, experienced players armed with unauthorized software programs, can identify new, less-skilled players and quickly grab seats that will pit them against the newbies. PokerStars’ new “Seat Me” offering will eliminate, or at least, greatly reduce this practice. By balancing the playing field, it is hoped that more new players will be drawn to the game.
The stark reality of online poker is that weaker players are the “net depositors” and are the ones who are actually funding the poker online industry. But new research shows that when new players lose their money too fast, they are less likely to redeposit new funds. All of which leads to stagnant growth for the industry.
Quoting Rasset’s recent announcement, Seat Me will:
• Greatly reduce the ability to bumhunt
• Prevent seating scripts and level the playing field by undermining those few players using software that allows them to unfairly prey on less experienced players
• Mimic the live poker experience of random table and seat selection
• Introduce potential time penalties to reduce game disruption caused by players constantly switching tables, stealing blinds or refusing to play certain opponents
The crux of the program actually takes away previous capabilities rather than adding something new to the seating process. Rasset noted that, “Seat Me eliminates the ability of players to pick their tables and seats at the tables, and will instead get them straight into the action automatically once a game and stake has been chosen.”
Naturally, the announcement was met with disdain by players who rely on bumhunting as part of their modus operandi. Posters on poker discussion forums vowed to find workarounds to the new Seat Me plans.
In his announcement, Rasset also addressed the practice of datamining, another process for finding weak players. He said, “We have always been committed to doing everything we can to completely remove datamining. In 2016, we made it impossible for observers to harvest hands with this sole purpose. We started with Zoom, then Spin & Go, and finally our cash games. We also updated hand charts and our third-party software policy to be more restrictive as we want the policy to be enforced, with consequences if some of our players do not respect it. However, we also acknowledge that it can be very challenging for players to know what is allowed or not and we are planning to continue to improve our communication there in 2017.”
Hopefully, these measures will attract new players that will help build the game of online poker.