PokerStars Makes Move to Protect Casual Players, Officially Bans Seating Scripts and Other Tools

PokerStars Moves to Protect Casual Players, Bans Seating Scripts and Other Tools

March 3rd, 2019 by CardsChat News

PokerStars is looking to level the playing field for all its players by banning a number of third-party software tools — most notably, the use of controversial seating scripts.


Seating script software which helps sharks target the fish will no longer be allowed at PokerStars (Image: YouTube)

Director of innovation and poker for Stars, Severin Rasset, outlined the changes in a blog post this week. He officially confirmed reports that the company is looking to clamp down on anything that gives a certain segment of players a clear advantage over another, or as Severin puts it, “undermines the spirit of the game.”

Poker is a brain game,” writes Severin. “Players work on history, on perception, on their own memory, instincts, capabilities … to make the right decision. Not only do we want to preserve this, we want to see it flourish.”

Take a Seat, Any Seat

The most significant change is the elimination of seating scripts, or software that essentially helps the best players to easily identify and target the weakest players. It’s a practice that’s also known as “bum hunting.”

And while some may see it as a legitimate online strategy, there are many who feel that the fact that it’s allowed is simply keeping more casual players from ever sitting down, and a result, stagnating the overall growth of the game. After all, no one likes the feeling of having a target on their back.

It’s a move that Partypoker made almost three-and-a-half years ago. So what took so long for Stars to follow suit? Severin insists that they could have done it long ago, but they wanted to make sure they could properly police it first. 

Phil Galfond’s new poker site, Run it Once, effectively got around the seating script issue by randomizing screen names every time a player joins a new table. 

Other changes are coming to Stars, too.

Players will no longer be able to run any automated reference software, such as dynamic starting hand-range charts that “artificially boost performance.”

Specifically, the use of anything beyond nine, 13×13 charts has been banned.

“Reference material can only be used for basic hand decisions, like unopened pot and pre-flop decisions,” notes Rasset, “rather than as a live virtual decision maker.”

What is Allowed?

Despite the sweeping changes, Stars isn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They’ll still allow players to leverage certain tools while on the grind.

Stars-Approved Tools:

  • Heads-up displays (aka, HUDs) such as PokerTracker and Jivaro
  • “Static,” table-based starting hand charts
  • Pot-odds tools, or anything that displays basic, “game-state” information
  • Hotkey software which allows players to multi-table more efficiently

For a more technical explanation of the software changes being made, check out this reference guide by Stars. 

All of the new software rules come into effect on Monday, March 4.

17 Responses to “PokerStars Moves to Protect Casual Players, Bans Seating Scripts and Other Tools”

  1. Ivansito26 says:

    It seems very interesting to me that all this change will still be a disadvantage, but now you can level the game more, in lower tournaments, and high buy-in tournaments, but what we need from stars is that they value the rake of all the players. , because if they have not noticed, many are leaving the room with the red pike.

  2. Bee says:

    I like this change. Now is everything on player. Skill. Luck. Whatever. You can not use software tools alive so…lets play fair online too.

  3. motherfunky says:

    You will never eradicate all tools since the game is played on a computer.

  4. ClickPoker says:

    It is one of the best decisions that PS has taken, although it is not completely eliminating the tools. There are many who are dedicated to play that way. For me it is a great hobby and of mental ability, of course with a lucrative objective if I do it well

  5. Transcendence says:

    I am against any program, I believe that one should disassemble and analyze the distribution, thus it evolves and becomes smarter honing his skill.

  6. M13A13 says:

    One of the most controversial conversations of poker, are the tools that help in the game. Many players who use it like and advocate use, but poker beginners are totally against these tools.
    In my opinion the game should be as close to reality as possible and without any help tool.

  7. Marcwantstowin says:

    I think this is a great move, as I am often the player with a “target on my back” :top:

  8. SurviveOnYou says:

    I agree but not completely against these programs as I was thinking about buying one, so don’t mind the ban. Definitely a good thing now that I think about it. Saved myself a small purchase.

  9. Inequitas says:

    Great News For Players That Don’t Use Seating Scripts, Its Been quite a problem for Players who’ve not known that Team Players use scripts to target the amateur poker enthusiast…

    Maybe PokerStars will Lead the Tread in Safe Guarding CardsChat Members as well as Poker Players world wide by continuing to distribute information on glitches and loopholes that create issues with player security

  10. VIP_TARIFF says:

    Yes, this is very correct, since many players play with hold’em managers, with player statistics, this is not good. Poker should be determined by the style of the game at the table, and not the whole life to follow the player, and then to bomb him.

  11. chicopaw says:

    altho I do use huds, these restrictions make more sense and I applaud these rules, I have and still often think many players even have more sophisticated programs

    Nice to hear this STARS

  12. greatgame230 says:

    I agree with this measure and I think they should ban all software to make the online poker more real

  13. Luvart says:

    I would like for online poker to return back tot he pre-Black Friday era, back in the mid-00s where we didn’t have HUDs, at least in the amount of today. I like the ban in seating scripts which will tackle the issue of bum hunting.

    Anyway we must wait a bit to see how it will go.

  14. acidburnfx says:

    I agree with what they said above. Indeed! The game should be as close to reality as possible and without any help tool, in the sense that everyone has the same chances.

  15. cheeeer says:

    I’m against unfair advantages but I’m also against any restrictions. I don’t understand how all this statistics helps to play. Moreover players who use these tools are one of the weakest I’ve ever met. Probably they are too distracted by all this statistics. If players think they are better with all these tools – ok. If rooms want to restrict it – ok.

  16. Rosxana13 says:

    I believe this is a good move on stars in all this years of ruining evrything PokerStars was once, I’ll like to use HUDs cause it might help you to have an Idea of the player your facing and of course when your playing 5 or 6 tables at the same time it is almost impossible to keep up with every player but I’m glad of this leveling game between regs and recreational players, but I still think they should focus more on the rake they are charging and their rakeback system cause that was one of the most atractive things to a poker player and even the recreationals player… Now those chests that they give right now are just garbage

  17. DiegoRamos says:

    This game is just a box game, focusing on software that fish fish.
    I’m not cool to start a game knowing who’s who. If it is to act like that, it has to be equal to equal.
    After playing an ok volume, but the information before playing is immoral.
    I agree with that decision.

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