Changes at partypoker

partypoker have made some changes last week to try to enhance fair play on the site and I’ve seen lots of discussion around it on social media. While we will admit we’re not perfect, these changes are intended to improve the player experience. So, I wanted to add my two cents.

“It’s less fun to think you’re not playing against another human’s opinion on the hand”

Firstly, if you are a recreational player and you are wondering what a HUD is, it’s quite normal a lot of you won’t know. We are not trying to scare away recreational players by making them think every time they have been playing on the site were always up against a HUD. This isn’t the case. In some cases players were using these to gain an advantage so partypoker are trying to level the playing field to make the playing experience better.

I much prefer poker without HUDs as it takes it back to basics. I don’t like the idea of computer software assisting your decision making based on stats. I think it takes the fun out of playing. For me, poker is all about making decisions for yourself and improving your game and natural intuition. It’s less fun to think you’re not playing against another human’s opinion on the hand. I think the game is better when you build your own opinion on how a player is playing and use the information you have collected from your observations to help you make your decisions. It’s more like a live game then and it’s down to the player’s skill sets, rather than a computer program. This is how I started playing and how I improved my game.

Removing Downloading and Storing of Hand Histories

I think the removal of downloading and storing hand histories, replacing it with the hand replayer is also a positive move. In my opinion, the less information stored for you the better for me. It means people won’t be able to play as clinically because it’s impossible to store all the hands in your head.

This has probably attracted the most negative attention over the past week but to be clear you will still be able to analyse your past hands, searching by date, hand number etc using the hand replayer. It just means it’s harder to circulate hand history scripts that can give many players an advantage over another player. This can only be a good thing. Recreational players are such a huge part of the game. It’s where everybody starts. For the online poker industry to not die out, we need recreational players to enjoy playing poker, not being beaten by players gaining an unfair advantage over them on one of their first visits to the site and not returning.

This change doesn’t mean that you can’t study your game using the hand histories. party are currently in the process of improving the MyGame app. If you haven’t had a look at this yet, make sure you do. It’s an online interactive coach which tracks your play and gives you advice on where you’re playing well and where you’re making mistakes, such as playing too many hands. It’s currently only available for cash games but the guys behind the scenes are working hard to make it available for tourneys and general improvements. The team know it’s not perfect but it’s in the process of being improved. This combined with the redesigned hand replayer I think is a great tool. It still allows you to analyse and improve your game without putting you at risk of the dangers that come with downloadable hand histories.

Railing Cash Games

The removal of railing cash games is a good move for me. For the lower stakes games, it helps prevent weaker players being tracked and followed to tables and also helps to minimise the collection of data. However, we’ve kept the nose bleeds open and we still allow you to watch featured cash games. To me, this is particularly important because I used to watch them when I started out playing and aspired to play in them. I believe it’s fun to watch that sort of money fly around and inspires people to climb the stakes, which creates a competitive element to online poker. So you’ll still be able to rail my Trickett’s Room Cash Games.

We haven’t had a game for a while and I hope we can get the games up and running again soon. It’s difficult because businessmen are harder to organize as they’re generally very busy. It’s hard to get them all nailed down at the same time. However, I do plan to build up my player pool so it’s more likely we can start games.

100BB Minimum Sit down and Antes in Online NLH

Along with the removal of railing, the team have been focusing on improving our cash games recently and have started to implement some other changes. Something we announced last week was the change to 100 big blinds minimum sit down in all our cash and fastforward games. It’s important to explain the logic behind this as we are definitely not trying to put off recreational players.

40-100BB starting range has been studied a lot and people are playing more and more clinically, so for a recreational player that simply doesn’t have the time to study, it’s harder to win. Deeper games are less solved so pros aren’t going to make the right decision as often. We believe it also gives recreational players more chance to experiment and make decisions that might be wrong but are less likely to go bust as often. So, hopefully it gives players a chance to develop their play at the right level. Rather than starting with fewer big blinds at a 2c/5c game, sit down with 100 big blinds at a 1c/2c game and you are less likely to go bust as often. It also aims to stop pros short stacking, where they buy in for the min at tables where they see fish deepstacked and aim to double up and run.

Another thing that we’ve been talking about is antes in online NLH cash games. Rob Yong put a poll up on twitter and the results are interesting. For me, I love the idea of antes on the button. People widen their opening range because there is more money to steal the pot, which creates more hands being played and more action. More action is generally better for the game.

Next Up

Next up for me I’m heading to Vegas for the partypoker LIVE Millions Vegas @ Aria. I’m really looking forward to this event. I haven’t played a tournament for a while so I’m hoping for a deep run.

There’s also the Triton SHR Series in London coming up at the end of next month. I love the idea of tournaments with a mix of businessmen and limited pros and I always get excited about the bigger buy in events. I will be playing it and I can’t wait for it ?

On the topic of changes at partypoker, one thing I would like to add if I could choose would be to add integrated live chat feeds for players logged on. I like the idea of online poker sites creating more of a community environment, like the live circuit.

Let me know what you think of these changes, what change you would make if you could and anything else you’d like me to talk about on my Twitter.

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