A new PokerStars equity display has been added for players on the .com site, a move that has yet again stoked controversy over the recent actions taken by the company.
While this change itself is regarded as minor by most players (whether they see it as positive or negative), some are heralding it as yet another sign of a change in culture at the poker room since the takeover by Amaya Gaming earlier this year.
Once players are all-in and there can be no more betting action in a hand, players’ hands will be turned over and a small red display now appears next to their cards. There, each player can see their chances of winning the pot in percentage terms as the rest of the hand plays out.
Even players who are not in the hand will be able to see how these percentages change as the flop, turn and river are revealed.
Players are not required to have this information on the screen, though it will appear by default in both the PS6 and PS7 clients. Participants can disable the all-in information in the settings menu if they wish to do so. It’s unclear if or when the displays will be coming to each of the segregated national markets, and it’s possible that such a feature might need regulatory approval in some places.
PokerStars is far from the first site to offer such an all-in percentage feature: sites like Bodog and the iPoker Network have featured the same information for some time now. After all, such data is routinely shown during television broadcasts, and many sites would like to emulate that look and feel. But perhaps predictably, the decision to add such information to the PokerStars client has proven to be a controversial one.
On one side of the debate are some winning regulars who feel that giving any added information to recreational players will help improve the latter’s games, thus eating into the former’s profits.
“The more you narrow the gap between regs and fish the lower winrates are, the more [the site takes] in rake,” wrote Two Plus Two forums poster The4thFilm.
Other players worried that such a feature might embarrass recreational players, potentially sending them away from poker.
“It is absolutely terrible for recreational players to have this kind of shame and embarrassment,” wrote poster insidemanpoker. “I can’t see anything positive about this and can’t understand why they are doing it.”
Other posters disagree, saying that the feature is the kind of thing recreational players will enjoy.
“This is what they see all the time when they watch poker on TV,” wrote TheFly, “so I think they are used to seeing these numbers.”
The debate over the new feature has almost certainly been heightened by other, more significant changes at PokerStars in recent months.
Many regular players have been upset at the direction of the site, citing increased rakes and tournament fees, reduced benefits for high-volume players, and the introduction of Spin & Go tournaments as the kinds of decisions that wouldn’t have been made before Amaya took over the site.
Given the outrage over some of those previous decisions, even some people who dislike the idea of an all-in display admit that it isn’t worth getting upset over.
“Compared to the recent traumatic injuries this is a mosquito bite,” wrote DrawNone.
What is Equity in Poker?
Equity is the average amount of money a player would win in a pot over the long run, if it were possible to replay the same hand from that point a large number of times. This is often displayed as a percentage of the current pot.
Equity displays consider only a player’s chances of winning or chopping a pot if all remaining hands get to a showdown; if an equity display is shown while betting is still in progress, it does not take into account the chance that some players may still fold their hands.