New Age Poker: Seating Scripts & HUDs6 years ago
The talk about HUDs, seating scripts and different other poker tools is almost as old as the tools themselves. Serious players and amateurs have been discussing their merits for years, never finding a common ground to stand on. This article was enticed by the latest thread that popped up on a 2 + 2, dealing specifically with seating scripts and PokerStars failure to do anything regarding the matter.
Defining Seating Scripts
As the name suggests, seating scripts perform one simple function – they seat players at the tables. This, on its own, would be quite a useless tool, as clicking an open seat or joining the game is simple enough. However, seating scripts constantly scan tables and wait for a recreational player to join a table with two regulars. Once he sits in, the seating script tries to get a seat to the left of a rec.
There are several issues numerous PokerStars players are having with the auto-seating scripts. The first one is that it clearly creates an environment where the recreational players (or the ‘fish’) are being preyed upon.
The second, perhaps even more annoying one, is that once the seating scripts start battling to get a seat, regardless of whether the recreational player actually sits in or not, they will trigger the process occupying the seats for a long time one after another, making it very hard even for players willing to sit in against the other regs to get a seat.
It seems that majority of players would like to see seating scripts burn in the flames. Apart from the relatively small number of players who spend time ‘bumhunting’ (waiting for weaker players to take their money), most of the others are quite annoyed by the dynamics created by these tools.
HUDs have also been under scrutiny for a long time as many recreational players see them as an unfair advantage, but unlike HUDs, seating scripts require no effort from a player using them. With HUDs, players still have to read and interpret stats. Seating scripts are fully automated and, as such, are hated with even bigger passion.
There is no arguing that the entire idea of auto-seating and stacking ‘fish’ is bad for the economy as it will often result in the amateur players realizing they are being targeted which could, in turn, encourage them to leave the site and stop depositing. While certain players may be bad at poker, it doesn’t mean they are unintelligent and incapable of realizing what is going on.
On the other hand, there is also a group of players advocating that all of it, HUDs, seating scripts and whatever else, is simply a natural progression of the online games. Some may not like it, but it just ‘comes with the territory’ so to say.
The Bigger Picture
Poker economy is a very sensitive thing. Comparing the situation from the five or ten years ago to how the things are now clearly shows that things can change quite fast and that the profit margins are changing quickly and for the worse.
Finding an edge is, of course, important, but maintaining a good balance also plays a crucial role. Trying to go all the way with finding an edge will often disturb the balance and result in recreational players pulling the plug and running away from the games in which they are clearly seen as the sitting ducks. Those with really competitive spirits may stay and try to fight it out, but many can actually find this type of behavior insulting and refuse to pay to be treated that way. Many players are just looking for fun and it is no fun to see that the game stops the moment you stop reloading.
At the moment, PokerStars doesn’t seem to care too much. Seating scripts are not prohibited and, as many have stated, it could be a very hard thing to police even if they decided to prohibit them. However, looking at all the reactions, it seems like something needs to be done soon. Maintaining healthy economy is the paramount for the survival of poker.
There have been numerous proposals of what could be done, but the ultimate solution is hard to find. Completely banning scripts doesn’t seem viable or enforceable. Making games anonymous would not only stop scripts but would also prevent application of HUDs, which have become an integral part of the game for majority of serious players.
Turning all the games into Zoom variation seems like an option, but that would also disturb the ecosystem, as not all players, regs and recs alike, enjoy playing the Zoom. Some want to take their time, make their reads and have table banter. So that doesn’t work either.
It seems that online poker has reached the point where it can no longer go back. Those saying that it is a natural progression may well be right (for better or for worse) and we can only hope that the situation will somehow resolve itself, possibly through the players’ efforts, since it doesn’t seem like an outside solution to the problem will be offered any time soon (if ever).
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