Microgaming Reducing the Effectiveness of HUDs

Date: 2017-03-22
Author: Jason Glatzer

The Microgaming Poker Network is one of the few that has been growing over the past couple of years. Part of this is its dedication to studying its ecosystem while another part is adding new poker clients such as PKR onto their network.
 
The network is constantly making adjustments to its rake structure, games offered and how it approaches third party software. The network often do this in the name of improving their ecosystem which hopefully will strive growth and earn their customers, the poker clients, more money in the long-term.
 
Head of Product (Network Games) at Microgaming Alex Scott recently wrote a blog titled “Closing a Few Loopholes” where he shared some major changes. One of which will have a serious effect on those that are using third Party Poker Software while playing on any of the poker clients on the Microgaming Poker Network.
 
They announced a change to how hand histories are written with Scott admitting, “We have a difficult relationship with tracking software.”
 
Scott feels that tracking software is important to allow players to “track and analyze their own game play,” while also the software providing “a great way to be a responsible gambler, because you can’t hide from your results.”
 
However, Scott also feels that tracking software makes the game of poker “less fun” and “it allows you to exploit the weakest opponents exclusively, if you wish.”
 
The Microgaming Poker Network already combatted the use of HUDs to some degree on its ring game tables. First, they introduced anonymous tables where since players were anonymous they couldn’t be bum-hunted and longer term stats were unavailable since this is based off of player screennames.
 
Second, the online poker network allowed it customers to frequently change screennames the sooner of every 30 days or after 1,000 ring game hands.
 
Both of these had an effect, but it doesn’t look like it went far enough since more changes were just announced. One problem with anonymous tables is that while longer term stats were unavailable on HUDs, session only stats were.
 
Scott announced they are now combatting this issue by not recording hand histories on any anonymous tables. What in effect this will accomplish is eliminate any recording of opponent data making HUDs useless even on a session only basis, since the software relies on hand histories saved to your harddrive to function.
 
Scott’s objectives to eliminate the use of HUDs on anonymous tables seems reasonable and he to combat any software provider looking for a way to get around the new restrictions.
 
“These [anonymous] tables are intended to be a tracking software free zone, and we will take active measures to stop the use of HUDs and tracking software at Anonymous Tables, should any software provider attempt to bypass the restriction,” said Scott.
 
For the most part I am on board with what Scott said as players should have the right to be anonymous on tables labeled as such. It isn’t like there are more popular choices where players play with their screennames. The only part I do not like, is that players will not be able to track their own performances in their poker tracking database due to this. Perhaps there is a way around this in the long-term if Microgaming Poker Network decides to provide session data that can easily be imported into poker tracking database.
 
The other measure of changing screennames on a frequent basis works to a degree. One major problem is that fish might not realize they are actually fish and not care to change their screenname which Microgaming Poker Network might feel hurts their ecosystem. The other problem is that not every poker player even knows that they can change their screenname often or where to go to do it.
 
As an example, knowing of the policy (and not feeling I am a fish) I wanted to change my screenname on a Microgaming Poker Network skin 32Red Poker, since why give players information about myself if I don’t have to. I had to just guess where to go to do it, and it took me a few minutes to figure it out.
 
Scott announced another measure making HUD data less accurate on Microgaming. They will now only be recording full hand histories when the hero contributes towards the pot. If you play many hands, like I do in short-handed pot-limit Omaha, perhaps your HUD will still be effective. However, if you don’t you might even be better off having your HUD off while playing ring games on any poker client on the Microgaming Poker Network.
 
This doesn’t mean your poker tracking database won’t capture your personal stats correctly as Microgaming Poker Network is issuing a reduced version of hand histories for hands you did not contribute to the pot. So basically you can still look at your own stats, but not have a good view of your opponents.
 
The good news is that if you play multi-table tournaments, nothing has changed in this regard for you. However, Scott did announce that are now raking rebuys and add-ons in rebuy tournaments. He admitted that this was to maximize revenue for the poker clients, but did also share other previous changes where rake was reduced.
 
While this is the most major announcement to lovers of third Party Poker software, Scott had other changes to announce. Players now must post a blind and not just sit on a table when they enter to combat “grimming and table blocking.” Players that try to sit out before posting a blind will automatically be removed from a table. This change will take place in early April.
 
Last, but not least, those of you that like to play poker on a mobile devices, the lottery-style Fish Party sit and go’s will be available to you by April 21.

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