Early in 2013, PartyPoker players noticed a change in the online poker site’s tables. By March 1, a PartyPoker representative had confirmed to Pokerfuse that they were implementing a process to grade tables and remove them from the lobby of regular players, essentially creating a segregation policy.
Segregation Used to Help New Players
The segregating of tables in online poker has become increasingly popular in an attempt to keep regular, more experienced players from taking advantage of newer, recreational players. Putting players of similar ability together at poker tables was considered to be a positive for casual players and keep them on the site longer. In order to make that happen, some tables needed to be hidden from new players so they would be more likely to sit with players of similar skill.
Abuse of Policy Through New Accounts
While players have complained about the segregation/protected table policy since its implementation, frustration recently came to a head when players discovered that some were manipulating the new system to gain an unfair advantage. Allegations surfaced on player forums that some Hungarian and Romanian players were creating large numbers of new accounts that could fall into the recreational/new player category. They would take advantage of those players and then close the accounts when they were no longer able to play at those tables due to extensive wins.
Players Protest by Sitting Out
To express their concerns, players organized a sit out protest, scheduled for November 1 at 3:00pm ET. According to Flushdraw, the players plan to take seats at as many tables as possible and then use the “sit out” function, which would slow down the network and reflect negatively in traffic numbers.
Group Director of Poker Jeffrey Haas monitored the situation and issued a statement on the 2+2 poker forum in response. He expressed his understanding of the recent frustrations and assured players that situations will improve. He also noted that a PartyPoker representative will be online on October 31 to post more information about the protected tables. “He will also include details about what actions we’re going to take given recent developments. You may think we aren’t doing anything, or taking action, because we aren’t posting in this forum everyday (sic). I assure you that is not the case.”
Little Impact So Far
By all accounts, a significant number of PartyPoker players plan to continue with the protest in a show of solidarity. Despite this, it has been difficult to spread the word effectively enough to make an impact. There may also be some players who are satisfied with the 2+2 conversation set to take place on October 31 and have decided not to go forward with the protest.