PokerStars Recruits Players to Help Fight Seating Scripts

December 7th, 2014 | by Jason Reynolds
PokerStars seating script player meeting

PokerStars is hoping to reduce the impact of seating scripts that help players sit in position against weaker players at profitable tables. (Image: UltimatePokerSearch.com)

PokerStars is hosting a meeting at their Toronto offices in the hopes of finding an equitable solution to the problem of seating scripts, programs that help players automatically sit at cash game tables where they feel they have the highest advantage.

This follows the company’s first move to limit the effectiveness of these scripts, which they rolled out just two weeks ago.

Seating Scripts Seen as Predatory, Bad for Poker Environment

The problem with the seating scripts is that they are seen as predatory by many, including PokerStars itself, the recreational players who are sometimes targeted by them, and even many professional and winning players who see the activity as harmful to the overall poker economy.

The partial solution, implemented last month, was designed to at least limit this behavior. PokerStars limited the number of times a player could reserve a seat without actually playing a hand to just three such reservations every six hours.

“We hope this measure will end the scenario that results in tables being ‘locked out’ by scripts perpetually reserving seats without intending to play and will reduce the overall effectiveness of seat scripts,” a PokerStars VIP manager posted on the TwoPlusTwo forums. “We don’t expect this to solve all the issues, but we expect it to improve the situation while we review the situation in more depth.”

Further Steps Include Meeting with Player Representatives

The manager, known as “PokerStars Chris” on the forums, published a new post last week outlining the further steps that PokerStars planned to take.

“Now that we’ve gone live with the first measure, we will proceed with evaluating the situation in more depth and determining if we should take further action, and if so what that action should be,” Chris wrote.

That same post outlined some of the criteria that PokerStars would be taking into consideration before implementing any solution. According to the post, a solution must minimize any disruptions to the player experience, which also included keeping the rules simple for players.

It should be a robust solution that should remain effective even if players try to find ways to work around it. If there’s any bias in the system, it should benefit players who want to play organically, rather than those who are seeking out the perfect seat.

Perhaps most importantly, “PokerStars Chris” said that the company wants the solution to be preventative, not punitive.

“We aim for a system that allows us to prevent this activity, as opposed to punishing it after the fact,” he wrote.

As a part of developing such a system, PokerStars plans to hold two meetings on January 16 and 19. These meetings will take place at the offices of PokerStars’ software developers in Toronto, and PokerStars apparently wants at least two players involved in the meetings as well.

Players who are interested were welcomed to express their desire to attend by emailing PokerStars Chris at vipclub@pokerstars.com.

Such seating scripts have been an issue at PokerStars for at least the past two years now. However, the company has so far declined to issue a ban on such programs, saying that it would be impossible for them to effectively enforce such a prohibition.

In fact, many such programs still appear on the Acceptable Tools list that PokerStars maintains as part of an FAQ on their websites.

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