PokerStars Seat Me – Good For The Game?

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PokerStars Seat Me eliminates the ability of players to pick their tables and seats at the tables, and will instead get them straight into the action automatically once a game and stake has been chosen. ~PokerStars

PokerStars have long been championing its changes as “improving the poker-playing ecosystem” and while the truth behind that reasoning has ranged from debatable to outright dishonest for many of its moves (like, for example, charging a premium on Spin and Go rake in games that are primarily played by recreational players), their latest move will hopefully accomplish just that.

By preventing the use of seating scripts, PokerStars Seat Me feature will hopefully put a serious dent in the practice of “bum-hunting”, which is when regulars only play against significantly weaker opponents by targeting them using various seating-software tools. The declared goal in stopping these scripts is to even the playing fields and help sustain the length of play for “net-depositors” (aka losing players).

From the official PokerStars Seat Me Announcement:

Pokerstars seat me collusion seating scripts bumhunting

Many other sites, including PokerStars’ sister site Full-Tilt, banned the use of seating scripts years ago so it’s been a source of great curiosity why its taken PokerStars so long to employ this strategy on their own site.

Over on the poker forum TwoPlusTwo, opinions are mixed on the issue but it appears most players are in support of the change, with many proclaiming it to be a great win for the little guy.

“Great change, very good for the fairness of the game. One should not need a program to be able to play Cash-Game poker”.  ~evil_piet

“FFS, the lot of you complaining that this won’t be a 100% solution to bum-hunting: just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything. This will have a material effect on reducing bum-hunting. Good for Stars.” ~Monorail

“Great change by Pokerstars, long overdue. Makes it much fairer for everyone. And no matter how many pros complain or argue against it, this is here to stay. Amaya don’t go back on their word.” ~Multitabling

And although it’s hardly surprising that PokerStars spokesperson Daniel Negreanu is standing behind the changes, he must be thrilled to finally get to do so about an issue that isn’t going to rile up the reg community as much as some of his more controversial stances.

With that said, make no mistake, many regs will, and do, hate the changes; cartels and predatory seating scripts are popular for a reason; they’re convenient, efficient and maximize the hourly. Not to mention that the actual efficiency of this change is yet to be proven, as one seat-script developer warns on TwoPlusTwo:

“The objective of this is not to get rid of scripts, but to get rid of people that make a living out of poker….automatic seating solutions will probably be available from day 1.” ~ Ishipkq

However, regardless if this criticism proves out to be true or not, something simply HAD to be done to begin combating this issue. Because having listened to the concerns of dozens of recreational players during my coaching sessions, I know very well that for these types of players, there is very little that is as disheartening and demotivating as sensing they’re being targeted by everyone they play. In fact, on three separate occasions (before Pokerstars banned the use of Spin and Go programs that allowed regs to avoid playing one another), I had to be the one to break the news to them that they were right, they were being targeted! Not individually of course, but as part of a pool of non-regulars playing against a pool of experienced professionals. I’ll let you guess how many of those students continued playing the Spin & Go games after that…

With that said, to be fair to hard-working regulars, with rake being as high as its become, playing at a table full of your peers often makes very little sense, so the blame hardly falls on them for this issue. As professionals, it is their job to maximize their hourly in whatever way is available to them within the rules of the game. It is up to the operators of that game, to remove any gray area that exists between what is ethical and what is not and set a firm set of rules in place that define those boundaries, which they have now done.

Hopefully, this time around, the changes really will be “Good For The Game.”







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