Originally Posted by PokerTracker
PokerTracker is a very responsible company within the poker community, we always operate within the TOS of the various poker sites and networks we support. The Terms of Service for Bodog allows personal data collection of your own hands on tables that you are playing at, in turn PokerTracker continues to support Bodog. Bodog's TOS does not permit datamining of their data - this is a rule of the Bodog service that is respected by PokerTracker.
From what I am aware the Idleminer Hand Grabber was a datamining tool, therefore it may not comply with the Bodog TOS. Additionally Idleminer is owned by PokerTableRatings which has been accused of datamining the Bodog network against its wishes. Bodog's recent campaign is to halt dataminers, the use of PokerTracker for personal tracking of your game is not included in this sweep.
Thanks for the official response, and I'm glad to see some PT representation on CC. Now if we could just get a HEM rep...
As far as Bodog's TOS, you're right -- trackers and HUDs have never been formally banned, and pretty much all sites forbid datamining and purchased HH's. So officially there isn't a difference in that regard between Bodog and the other sites (except Cake which as you know is very restrictive in that regard).
However months ago (and I'd have to try and dig up those threads to quote specifics), Bodog was on an obvious mission to stop the use trackers/HUDs. Their representatives said so themselves. Their position was that trackers/HUDs were used by top players who were driving off the casual players (i.e. fish) who felt there was an unfair advantage (bollocks, we all know, but that was their position). It was essentially -- if not literally -- said that they were more concerned about keeping their casual poker players happy because of their casino/sportsbook operation, and were willing to disfranchise the small percentage of winning poker players in the process. Despite the fact that the regular grinders (well, such that you can "grind" on Bodog with its multi-table limitations) most likely to use trackers/HUDs typically generate more rake than your casual player, they made it sound like one winning reg was enough to frustrate X number of fish out of the site and thus the overall rake loss across poker/casino/sportsbook was even greater. Whatever, but this was the last nail in Bodog's coffin for me, and until just recently I stopped playing there completely.
Around that same time, HEM was near completion on their internal Bodog grabber, and Bodog changed something that broke it. As I recall, HEM reached out to Bodog (as they do with other sites and I expect PT does as well), and Bodog basically asked them to stop development of it. HEM complied, apparently led to believe it would become an official policy. I had also read somewhere, and it was logical to assume whether true or not, that they had asked PT to cease as well. HEM users routinely threw this back at HEM support (especially post-BF when US rooms dried up), complaining that they couldn't use HEM with Bodog without spending another $50 on Idleminer's grabber, which eventually stopped working reliably itself. And when Idleminer's grabber quit working, some HEM users defected to PT3, while others who preferred to stay with HEM actually went so far as to use PT3 sans HUD as their Bodog grabber while pointing HEM at the converted HH's and using it as their tracker/HUD.
The fact Bodog never updated their TOS to reflect these stated positions on trackers/HUDs was often pointed out and questioned, including by me. It's been awhile so I can't remember specific quotes or the representatives who stated them, but there was certainly an implication that the TOS would be changed "soon" to reflect their position. The fact that it hasn't by this time, combined with other second-hand comments I've seen around the poker community, leads many to believe they've softened their stance a bit on this. Which I expect is why HEM is also reconsidering theirs.
A quick search through Calvin's blog includes mention of a release they made just last week. While primarily targeting datamining and results reporting operations like SharkScope
, PokerScout, and the like, rather than trackers, they nevertheless clearly indicate their priority of casual player over pro player which was the same spiel they were giving against trackers/HUDs awhile back:
cease (http://calvinayre.com/2010/11/10/poker/partypoker-jumps-on-anonymous-pla-bandwagon/) being a-party to the wealth of data that populates sites that in the main only benefit poker pro’s. By the end of the year individual player statistics, both live and historical, will no longer be available to data sites. Jonas Odman, Vice President of Bodog (http://calvinayre.com/2011/07/14/business/bodog-gets-uk-gambling-license/) Poker Network, said, “It is vital for the online poker industry that the depositing players are put first rather than the high raking professionals who rarely, if ever, add new money to the pot. This is the first in a long line of steps that will make Bodog’s Recreational Poker Model the best place for the casual player to enjoy the game again. Later in the year we will have some additional features that we will roll out along with the new software which we are confident will make the playability of the site one of the best in the industry.”
Bodog’s recreational poker network already made the decision to remove tables from the lobby once they are full to deny data sites the chance to access accurate information on players numbers. This came after they had already forced the gaming industry (http://calvinayre.com/2011/02/08/poker/bodog-blocks-poker-information-portals/) to rethink its approach towards rakeback causing other sites to follow suit. The latest news from Bodog is just another example of how the global poker industry paradigm is shifting with the Bodog Brand at the forefront.
Oh, and to be clear, I don't of any of us who support datamining. I fully support Bodog and all other sites' crusade against datamining. But prohibiting individual tracker usage is going way too far.