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A.As online poker has grown in popularity, people have developed tools and web-based services to help them play better online. We think it is okay for players to use some of these tools and services. However, we think that some go beyond what we consider acceptable as an aid to playing online.
There are many things that a player can do to improve their chances in a poker game. For instance, they can play a lot and gain experience, or they can read a book about poker. Both of these techniques are clearly appropriate. At the other end of the spectrum, they can work in collusion with a partner, sharing information about hole cards and teaming up against other players. This is clearly cheating.
In between those two extremes are many tools - some of which we consider to be too close to cheating. For example, there are people building huge databases with profiles of every player on PokerStars, and they are selling access to these databases. A player with access to such a database can call up detailed information about every one of his opponents without ever playing against those opponents himself. We believe this gives that player an unfair advantage against others at his table.
Obviously, knowledgeable people will disagree over what is appropriate and what is not. We have developed what we consider to be a reasonable compromise between letting players take every possible fair advantage, and prohibiting the unfair ones.
A.We have received emails on this subject from many players. Some want to use these tools and are asking if they're okay. Other players are concerned that their opponents are using them. We needed to establish a policy so we could draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable programs. We made this decision only after thorough discussion within PokerStars and with poker experts outside PokerStars, including our team of professionals.
A.The following types of tools and services are generally acceptable:
A.Consider this: you are playing at a six-person table and the other five players at that table are using a shared database program. After each hand, they are able to see what cards every other player (except you) had. Do you want to play at that table?
A.The following are examples of tools and services which are permitted:
^ Denotes program is compatible with Mac OS X only
A.The following types of tools and services are prohibited:
A.The following are examples of tools and services which are prohibited at all times:
There are some tools and services which have legitimate uses for analysing your game, but which are not appropriate for use during play. For example, ICM (Independent Chip Model) and Nash Equilibrium tools may be used for post-game analysis and for studying hands which you have previously played. Also, there are some web-based results databases, and its fine to use these to look at your own results. However, you may not use such a tool while the PokerStars software is open.
Some examples of tools and services which are prohibited only while PokerStars is running are:
* PH Stars (a compliant version of Insight Poker Hound) is permitted
** SitnGo Wizard version 18.104.22.168 and later is permitted
***SNG Solver version 1.0.9 and later is permitted
A.Many of the tools listed above allow you to opt-out from being tracked, or having your information displayed to other users of the tool.
A.The first list details tools which are prohibited at all times. None of these tools may be used on your computer, even if not installed on the machine, and even if you do not use them in conjunction with the PokerStars client. PokerStars will take active measures to detect these tools and will take punitive action against players who have them (see 'What steps are you going to take...' below).
The second list details tools and services which may not be used in conjunction with PokerStars or while the PokerStars client software is open. We recognise that these tools have legitimate uses - perhaps for analysing your game or tracking your results - but we feel that they cross the line of what is acceptable for use during play. PokerStars will take measures to detect these tools and will issue warnings to players using them. PokerStars will also work with the developers of such tools to assist them in complying with the rules.
A.Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with all the information you have about the tool or service in question. Please include a URL to a relevant web page if possible. We will review the tool or service and let you know if it's permitted or not.
A.PokerStars does not actively endorse or support any program on the permitted list, nor do we make any guarantees regarding the functionality, reliability, or safety of any program whatsoever.
A.Yes. In addition to evaluating new tools and services that come to our attention, PokerStars frequently re-examines those already on the permitted and prohibited lists to ensure they continue to fall within our terms of service. In addition, the terms of service themselves and the definition of a prohibited tool or service are periodically re-examined and are subject to change without notice. These re-examinations can result in a tool or service being reclassified without notice, moving from the permitted list to the prohibited list or vice-versa. PokerStars assumes no responsibility to notify players of any such reclassifications. Players should regularly check the lists of tools and services to verify the current status of any item's classification.
A.No. You may only collect hand histories and player information from hands in which you are a participant.
A.We are going to look to see if any of those tools or services is running on a player's computer. If we find one of the prohibited tools or services, we will alert the player that they are running a prohibited tools or service and tell them what it is. We will ask that they stop running the tool or service immediately. If they comply, fine. If not, then we will prevent the PokerStars client from running on their computer.
A.Absolutely not. Our sole interest is in protecting our players and our site from tools and services that we believe are bad for the integrity and fairness of our games.
A.PokerStars believes that it is best to take action against these services at the root. Consequently, we are continually improving our software to stop the datamining of our games. In addition, PokerStars reserves the right to take legal action as it deems fit against those services that maliciously and repeatedly breach our Terms of Service.
A.PokerStars may, at our discretion, prevent the PokerStars client program from running on your machine, or require players to upgrade the client program. However, it is not possible for PokerStars staff to remotely modify any file on your computer, or send any file to your machine.
A.While we reserve the right to confiscate the funds of somebody running a prohibited tool or service , we are not going to do this lightly. We want to educate our players - not punish them. However, we will confiscate funds if a player shows a consistent pattern of using prohibited tools and services after being warned, or if a player attempts to bypass our detection measures.