PokerStars, the most popular poker site in the world, has been under fire recently from its regulars for changes made to the VIP program, with many high stakes players even boycotting the site on two occasions. But despite the backlash the online gaming operator has received in that regard, it’s implementing some intense measures to prevent cheating, collusion, or the use of bots or third-party software.
Perhaps in the equivalent of the dealer show of hands at the end of a live poker session, the site seems to want to prove to the world and all its participants that absolutely everything is on the up and up. And this latest, and arguably most extreme, measure follows a series of previous decisions that have been leading it down the same path.
Essentially, PokerStars wants players to prove that 100 percent of their game decisions are theirs and theirs alone, with no feedback or input from any software, humans, or bots during play. It’s certainly a radical shift from online poker of just a few years ago, when almost anything seemed to go to give a player an edge.
You’re On Your Own…or Else
In an email sent out to some high stakes players (how these players were selected is unknown, but you can probably make your own conclusions), the folks at PokerStars informed them that they must prove they are playing alone, without the help of anyone…or anything.
To provide proof, the chosen players are required to follow specific instructions for how they must videotape their play, as mentioned in the email:
– At the beginning of the recording, PokerStars must be able to clearly see the player in question’s face in order to confirm their identity.
– Before starting to play, players must rotate the camera 360 degrees to show viewers all of their surroundings. [Our note: now that could get scary in some bachelor pads]
– Players must start playing a given session from an empty computer desktop when initiating the PokerStars client and prior to logging into their account.
– After logging in, users must play a regular session.
– The playing session at the tables must be for a minimum of 70 active minutes.
– During play at the tables, the recording must be of sufficient quality to see and track the activities that are taking place on the desktop. In addition, the recording must capture the surrounding environment including the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and the movement of a player’s hands.
– Audio must be included in the recording.
– Players must minimize the amount of individual video files. Longer, continual recordings are preferred.
– Participants have 10 days to complete this task.
Wow, we don’t think El Chapo was subjected to that much surveillance.
Ramifications of Non-Compliance
PokerStars isn’t giving the select group of players the option to participate or opt-out. The company is forcing participation (assuming the players want to ever access their accounts again, at least).
If players that received the email don’t comply by completing the task within 10 days, they will be forced to repeat the process. Until completion, funds in their accounts will be frozen. No payouts for these players will be given until the videos are submitted and approved.
Although poker players claim to want cheating prevented, PokerStars is receiving a great deal of backlash for the measures the company is taking to eliminate any form of cheating on its poker site.
Welcome to the brave new world of online poker. Now behave.