PokerStars Introduces Changes to Level the Playing Field

PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker operator, introduced changes to some of its rules, rolled out along with the latest software update September 28. Unaware of the changes, cash players, initially up to NL10 and later on at higher limits, began reporting problems with waiting lists and prompted the gaming company to issue an official explanation.

In a statement released on their blog, PokerStars noted that the new waiting list feature would make the game fairer and the overall experience for most players better, though acknowledging some poker communities may not be happy with the approach to seating at cash games.

Making Difficult Targeting Weaker Players

PokerStars outlined that the Active Waiting List is a new system designed to combat predatory behavior by some regular players and level the playing field, as the feature aims to make it more difficult for players to seek less experienced ones or recreational-type players.

The issue of chasing certain players on the tables and seat where they are seated is a common problem for any online poker operator, and some of them tried in the past to deal with the matter by banning the use of seat scripts, as coding is generally helping with the process of finding a softer table. Others introduced anonymous games and removed the table names.

According to PokerStars, the active waiting list feature is built upon 3 premises. First, to be able to join the waiting list for a table, a player must actively play at another table of the same stake. Second, a free seat is prioritized to players from the waiting list who have currently played more hands at other tables, effectively removing the principle of first come – first served. And third, if a player leaves a game, the player is automatically removed from all waiting lists.

Changes Will Improve Experience and Ecosystem

PokerStars further expressed its belief that the implemented changes would benefit everyone, as they would reduce the time players spend waiting for a seat and would increase the number of games running.

Finally, PokerStars noted that the measure would stir some discontent from players who rely on consciously selecting their tables, but highlighted the new feature was a step in the right direction to increase the fairness of the game and improve the overall poker ecosystem.

Besides the active waiting list, the online poker operator introduced changes to its terms and conditions, among which the requirement for identification check “from time to time”, the right to cancel credit by mistake transactions, freeze accounts and consider missing money debt, to bring players to justice for hiding information and abusing errors, and to charge with commission player accounts with balance inactive for 30 months.

In September, there was some speculation that the online poker giant would leave certain jurisdictions, China, Macao and Taiwan, based from the text of an alleged “Stars Support” e-mail published on a public poker forum.

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