Partypoker players will have to get used to the new software which has brought about a number of changes. The online poker site has just launched its latest major software update, in line with its goal to create a safer and more comfortable poker environment for casual players.

As part of the changes, players are welcomed with a pop-up upon requiring them to change their screen names. Cutting ties with something you’ve become emotionally connected with over the years may be a difficult thing to do, but as explained by partypoker, the move is necessary for eliminating player data, including hand histories and all statistical information registered on heads-up displays (HUDs).

The Main Issue

The alias change will render any data someone may have had for their HUD or other tools obsolete as the old screen name connected to the data will be wiped out. It will also enable partypoker to discard downloadable hand histories, which provide hand and player data for poker tracking software.

The latest update is expected to ban or render useless other third-party software such as seating scripts. Seating scripts work by profiling opponents, enabling users to choose which types of players they want to compete with. In most occasions, the weaker players are the ones losing quickly as they are often targeted by the more-experienced opponents. The use of seating scripts is generally abhorred by most of the online poker community as it gives some players an unfair advantage.

Third-party tools including HUDs and seating scripts also contribute to a practice known as “bum hunting”, where players seek out weaker opponents and play against them to earn more money.

The sale and distribution of pre-programmed HUD software applications has become rampant on the black market, with the programs pre-loaded with tons of played games and strategies. This is something online poker operators also want to rein in.

The use of third party software has long been a controversial topic in the online poker world, with a number of operators already implementing measures to deal with the issue. In April, PokerStars effectively banned all automated online seating scripts on their online poker clients.

MVS Attacks Partypoker

While many believe the latest changes will ensure security and a level-playing field for partypoker players, software developer Max Value Software (MVS) thinks it is hardly the case. MVS is the parent company of poker tracking tools Hold’em Manager, Poker Tracker and many other third-party programs. The company recently blasted partypoker in the wake of the major software update, criticizing its decision to prohibit the use of hand histories.

In a lengthy post on Two Plus Two, MVS pointed out that hand histories have played a vital part in identifying cheating and collusion among other players. The use of downloadable hand histories also helped in exposing the widespread insider cheating at two major sites over a decade ago.

Part of the post implied that the absence of hand histories will force players to rely solely on partypoker’s internal security, prohibiting them from making verifications – a dangerous thing for poker players and bad for online poker, the post said. MVS stressed that eventhough poker sites have their own internal game security, insider cheating is still possible – something that can be exposed if hand histories are allowed to stay.

While MVS came short of accusing partypoker of insider cheating, the software developer said what transpired at the now defunct sites Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet could happen again at major poker sites currently operating. Hand histories are a critical tool enabling players to sort and analyze key playing results and patterns, and ensure game integrity, the post continued.

The latest software update at partypoker will minimize the efficacy of most of MSV’s tools and programs, leading to a decrease in sales and renewals. The company develops plenty of software add-ons providing real-time help to experienced online players. Meanwhile, if hand histories and other third-party tools are to remain, the more casual players will continue to fall victims to exploitative players, causing them to discontinue depositing and eventually close their online accounts altogether – something online operators can’t afford to see.

We will wait and see whether this “fresh start” is really a step in the right direction for the second biggest poker room in the world.

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