PokerTableRatings Removes PokerStars Profiles [Statement from PokerStars Inside]

The legal battle between PokerStars and datamining site PokerTableRatings was a short one, PokerTableRatings have now removed all PokerStars profiles.

PokerTableRatings have removed all profiles of PokerStars players following the announcement that the world's largest poker site had sent cease and desist letters on Monday.

Lee Jones of PokerStars stated that the letters were not "an idle threat" and that they had "assembled a team of lawyers in multiple jurisdictions to follow up". Datamining site PTR did not wish to give a statement at that time, though an announcement on their blog today confirmed their compliance with PokerStars' demands.

"We will fully adhere to the cease and desist notice by Stars, though we do not believe that we are a disservice to the online poker community," read the statement on the PTR blog. PokerStars player profiles are now unavailable, displaying only instead a message to "contact Stars support if you would like your profile made public".

The site has also removed the ability to purchase PokerStars hand histories in bulk, an act that is prohibited by the terms and conditions of most poker sites including PokerStars.

PTR sells statistical data on online poker players, allowing users to search for publicly-displayed screen names and winrates as well as bulk hand history sales. In the past, PTR have also been credited with spotting bots and security leaks in online poker sites.

Update 17:00 CET, 19/04/2012: statement from PokerStars

PokerStars has made an official statement regarding this news:

Overview

"For a few years now, we at PokerStars have worried about the effects of datamining sites such as PokerTableRatings on the health of the online poker ecosystem. Such sites provide massive databases that allow a player to know a huge amount of information about a specific opponent the first time they play a pot together. We have many concerns about datamining:

•    "It allows a poker player to have information and data about opponents against whom he has never played. Even acknowledging the differences between live and online poker, we believe this is contrary to the spirit of the game.

•    "New and/or weak players often don’t even know that they’re sitting in their opponents’ cross-hairs. So the most vulnerable players are unaware they’re being targeted.

•    "A small (but noticeable) boorish minority of players routinely tell weaker players at their table how bad they are, based on these data-mined statistics. This creates an unpleasant environment and is bad for the players, bad for the game, bad for the community. We have a responsibility as the leading enterprise in this industry to stop that kind of abuse.

"Furthermore, we’re not the only ones who see it this way. Many online poker industry professionals and (most importantly) a majority of the player community see such datamining as a potentially existential threat to the entire online poker world."

PokerStars’ steps to prevent datamining

"PokerStars has consistently said that if a player wishes to share his online playing results with the public that is a matter between him and any site which provides that data. But if a player doesn’t want his results shared in public, they shouldn’t be. We have codified this in our Terms of Service regarding prohibited programs.

"We have taken a two-prong approach against datamining sites such as PTR.

"First, we have taken technical steps to prevent sites from datamining our hands. Without going into detail, we have modified the software multiple times to make it more difficult for third parties to record hand histories from our tables. Every time we have done this, PTR has responded by modifying their software to neutralize our change. We could take drastic steps to win this “arms race”, but such steps would harm the playing experience of our legitimate players. Obviously we would prefer not to do that.

"Our second prong has been through legal channels. We have repeatedly contacted sites such as PTR and asked them to stop providing data about our players unless those players opt in to their program. PTR has never responded to these requests. There have been a number of updates in the last 24 hours, which I will cover at the end of this document."

Conclusion

"PokerStars is the largest enterprise in the online poker world. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our industry, and most importantly to the online poker player community to care for the entire online poker ecosystem. We have made every effort to get PTR to “play by the rules”; they have ignored us, and actively countered our defensive efforts, at every turn.  But we are committed to providing our players the privacy that they deserve and the online poker industry the protection it needs.

"On April 18th, 2012, the ISP hosting Poker Table Ratings (“PTR”) agreed to PokerStars’ “cease and desist” request and stopped providing service for PTR. The ISP agreed that PTR was infringing on PokerStars’ intellectual property rights.  Shortly thereafter, PTR resurfaced on a different ISP.  However, late on April 18th, PTR published an announcement on their blog that "[We] will fully adhere to the cease and desist notice by Stars, though we do not believe that we are a disservice to the online poker community."

"Our legal team is reviewing PTR’s statement and will decide how to proceed. We will, of course, continue to communicate with the poker media and player community about this matter."

LeeJonesPokerStars of PokerStars has also taken time to answer some questions in our forum:

Forum thread: PokerStars Blocks PTR [with replies from Lee Jones]

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Comments (30)

newest first
  • w4terman

    #1

    this sucks :(
  • EmanuelC16

    #2

    Great news imo! ^^
  • Tim64

    #3

    @#2 Agree! I don't want the world to know I suck at cash...
  • itwillturnm8

    #4

    long live censorship
  • Tarhonya

    #5

    No more recreational players will leave poker as a hobby because their results got thrown at them by idiots.
  • fahmed

    #6

    he he he :d
  • ExternalUseOnly

    #7

    nice :)
  • Southofheaven

    #8

    fucking A
  • z1pz0r

    #9

    :D
  • DannyG13

    #10

    About time
  • Agiz19

    #11

    Finally the email weren't for nothing :) no more illegal tracking
  • kiromanAAKK

    #12

    Right imo! :)
  • maheepsangari

    #13

    I'm a bit ignorant about this but why was PTR such a bad thing for the online poker world? People using HUDs get stats on you learn your game style after a few hands anyway so many players are in a way still disadvantaged.
  • MJPerry

    #14

    @ #13 - there's a huge difference between using your HUD and getting stats as you play someone vs. buying 1,000,000 hands and having 30k hands on each reg when you've never sat with them.

    IMO datamining is terrible for the game as it encourages people to play robotically and drives away recreational players.
  • NightFrostaSS

    #15

    Good. Tho there there's still PE, hopefully they do the same w it.
  • Tarhonya

    #16

    #15 PE's using PTR's database afaik.
  • 11029384756

    #17

    wasnt ptr useful in finding bots and multible accounts n stuff ???????
  • JHTAN

    #18

    @14
    no more tracking at STARS? How about poker-edge.com?
  • MadInAVacuum

    #19

    I like the news, but what about 3rd party bot monitoring? We rely on the good will of Pokerstars from now on.
  • doctorkgb

    #20

    Good one
  • nefarious26

    #21

    maybe poker stars have done this because of the bots, there has been alot of noise recentley about this destroying online poker, not only are they at micro but midstakes too and very unexploitable so i hear, these poker sites dont seem to be doing much about them but i guess they are ok with the revenue they create, they really need to think about the longterm imo
  • raydoyle

    #22

    ban all tracking software
  • NightFrostaSS

    #23

    @21 PTR wasn't of much concern to botters anyway because they could just do that on zoom where datamining is impossible anyway.
  • NightFrostaSS

    #24

    and fwiw FTP did close down quite a few accounts who were botting on rush. So IMO if such incompetent room as FTP was doing that we can be fairly certain that stars will do the same if they detect it. Also AFAIK PS at least used to be red flagged (and I believe still is) in botting communities as not worth bothering while networks like iPoker were considered as good places to do that.
  • Tarhonya

    #25

    I completely trust PS with detecting and punishing bots. They are the most competent site in that area.

    The argument for PTR for the sake of bot detection is not a strong one since botters more likely to use more accounts (with small volume) instead of putting in massive volume from one account - which is obviously suspicious.
  • NightFrostaSS

    #26

    Btw Tarhoya, my results differ quite a bit on PE and PTR so it doesn't seem like PE is using PTR db.
  • NatRPheM

    #27

    I am against any kind of tracking software, it has nothing to do with pure skill and reading ability.
  • chenny8888

    #28

    • "A small (but noticeable) boorish minority of players routinely tell weaker players at their table how bad they are, based on these data-mined statistics. This creates an unpleasant environment and is bad for the players, bad for the game, bad for the community. We have a responsibility as the leading enterprise in this industry to stop that kind of abuse.

    I'm happy to give up my EV in having datamining sites just so these people get crushed.
  • coreynz

    #29

    doesnt do much to change the fact the people who were going to by the stats already have....
  • coreynz

    #30

    would be a good time to buy shares in pokeredge if you could...