Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovations, explained the decision in a recent blog post:
“We all sit down at the table as equals. So, when a player takes the time out of their day to play in our poker room, we want them to know they’ve arrived in a safe and fair environment where the only thing to think about is the action.
“Also, that they’re not being targeted for their experience, and they have a clear and unambiguous picture of the additional resources available to them.
“For PokerStars, my vision is to limit as much as possible the use of tools that artificially enhance the process of sitting down to play, and play itself. Tools that can give players an edge over others and which detract from the journey of developing the skills necessary to become a better poker player.”
Seating Scripts Among the Banned Software
Stars is mainly concerned about seating scripts and automated starting hand charts with their most-recent move.
Seating scripts automatically seat players at a table where inferior opponents are playing. These programs use data compiled during the user’s current session to find weaker players.
Starting hand charts will be allowed as long as they’re just displays. However, anything that’s automated and makes moves for players will be banned.
What Is PokerStars’ Official Rule on the Software Bans
Here’s PokerStars’ official ruling on third-party software:
“Any tool or service that sorts available games or (semi-) automates the process of joining games based on the game-play statistics or notes of other players will be prohibited. A tool that solely (or semi-) automates adding players to a set number of tables, without any reliance on information about other players, is permitted.”
Why Is PokerStars Making This Move Now?
Rasset shed some light on why Stars has chosen now to finally shut down third-party software. Here’s an excerpt from his blog post:
“Why are we making these changes now? As I have discussed in the past, we are constantly looking for ways to better provide a safe and fair environment and to improve the overall experience when a customer chooses to play with us.
“However, we also need to be able to ensure that we create enforceable and sustainable policies, making sure that players who do follow the rules are not at a disadvantage.
“The changes we are announcing today follow an extensive period of development to ensure that we can achieve these goals.”