Players on PokerStars may soon no longer be able to use seating scripts, as the world's largest online poker room announces new measures to first limit and then ban them from its tables.
"As an immediate measure, we intend to implement a limit on the number of times a player can reserve a seat at a given table without playing," a representative from the poker room who claims to be "managing a project to review the seat scripting issues on PokerStars," wrote on the popular Two Plus Two poker forum. "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."
According to the room's representative, the new measures should drastically limit the use of seating scripts and bring to an end all the issues caused by these.
"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," the representative said.
At the same time, PokerStars also aims to "set the limit as such that it will minimize the impact on players who are not using scripts."
Although the room is currently open to suggestions from the poker community, the initial plan in PokerStars' war against seating scripts is already set and will work as follows: "As a starting point, we are considering allowing three reservations without game action per table for any given six-hour period. Reservations resulting from reaching the top of a waiting list would not be counted."
PokerStars' position on the seating scripts comes as part of a wider debate, as reported by PokerNews in this article.
"I am honestly against all kind of software and scripts," former Team PokerStars Online and current PlanetWin Poker pro, Italy's Luca Moschitta told PokerNews. "It is fair to say that online and live poker are two totally different games, but in my opinion we should work to make them a bit more similar to each other than they are today."
"When you play live poker, you don't have your Google Glasses on to see your opponents' stats. You need to take decisions based on what you see, what you understand, and what you know — the game happens in your mind," Moschitta continued. "Software and scripts offer an unfair advantage to pros, and change the experience of recreational players in a negative way. I believe poker rooms should really do something to stop all this."
According to the Italian pro, however, some may not be too happy to discover that one day they may not be allowed to use a few lines of code to help their win rate.
"I have been playing online poker for some 10 years now, and when I have started, no one used any script during their games," he said. "Today, I am pretty sure that if you will forbid the use seating scripts or HUDs, you will see how some players will surprisingly win a lot less."
However, despite PokerStars' plans and Moschitta's wishes, a full ban against seating scripts may not be an easy one to implement.
According to Microgaming's Head of Poker Alex Scott, things are not as easy as they sound, as today's technology still lacks the ability to enforce a full and effective ban.
"There are many different types of scripts," Scott explained. "But the kind everybody is concerned about is the type that monitors the tables for weak players, and then instantly seats the user with a weak player when one is found. I’m often asked why we don't take action against scripts already. We don’t currently have any reliable way to detect when somebody is using a script to sit at the tables."
Talking about the specifics of the Microgaming Poker Network, Scott went on to explain that “seating scripts are currently allowed, but that will not be the case forever."
Similarly to PokerStars, Microgaming is also open to enforce a full ban.
"When we have determined a way to reliably detect such tools and fairly enforce a ban, then we will rid the game of them without a hint of regret," Scott concluded.