PokerStars has recently made changes to their VIP program, this lead to many criticisms from its high stake players. High stake players have even boycott PokerStars on two different occasions. Even though the online poker site received a bunch of negative reactions, they decided to implement the changes anyway. The goal of those measures is to prevent collusion, cheating and the use of third-party software or bots.
PokerStars wants to make sure that all of players’ game decisions are 100% their own and that players do not make use of any input or feedback from bots, software or other humans. When compared to the online poker industry of just a few years ago, it is definitely a radical change. Back then a lot of things seemed to give players an edge.
One of the measures taken by PokerStars, was to send an email out a couple of their high stakes players to inform them they were obliged to prove they were making their game decisions on their own without the help of no one else neither a software.
PokerStars send instructions together with this request. The instructions were on how to videotape their play. The main points were the following:
- When recording make sure your face is recognizable, so your identity can be confirmed.
- Rotate your camera 360 degrees before you start playing, so your surrounding can be stablished.
- Empty your desktop before logging in.
- When you log in you can choose a regular session.
- You must play for at least 70 active minutes. During the time of the playing session, the recordings must capture mouse, keyboard, monitor and player’s hands.
- Audio of the recording must be on.
- Recordings should be continual.
Participants had 10 days to send the videotape as requested.
This request was obligatory; players could not opt-out. If a player would choose not to participate, he wouldn’t be able to access his PokerStars account again.
Also until successfully completion of this task, players were unable to access their funds, which stayed frozen until the recording was submitted and approved.
After making those measures public, PokerStars have been receiving a lot of backlash. Even Though poker players say they want poker sites to prevent cheating, they seem not too happy with this brave new world of online poker.
Let see how the rest of the industry will react.