PokerStars Fights Bum Hunting with Software Upgrade
It’s taken more than two years of player complaints for the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars, to finally put an official end to the unethical practice of “bum hunting” on its virtual cash tables. According to PokerStars representative Steve Day, they have finally developed and installed a practical solution at mid-level and high stakes tables, with future plans to further thwart such behavior.
Bum hunting, albeit a droll nickname, is a very serious problem that most poker players find iniquitous and improper. The term refers to the act of a highly skilled player preying upon those who are less experienced by lying in wait at an open table and sitting out until the ‘right’ victim/player comes along. The culprit will join an empty table with mid to high level stakes, often 25/50 or more, and any time an equally skilled competitor takes a seat, the culprit will continue to sit out, refusing to play them. The ‘shark’ will not be seated or play in a hand until a less experienced ‘fish’ comes along.
Members of PokerStars and other high-profile poker sites have been complaining about this problem for years now. The online poker room took minimal action in 2010 by deeming it against the rules to commit bum-hunting, but there was no solution within the software to prevent the activity. If a player caught someone else bum-hunting, they were asked to report it. The offender’s activity would be reviewed and, if reckoned inappropriate, they would be reprimanded in some way. It was a start, but certainly not a direct resolution.
According to Steve Day, who posted the relative results of an April 2013 meeting on the popular poker forums of 2+2 under his moniker ‘PokerStars Steve’, the new software enhancement will apply to all “high stakes PLO and high and mid stakes NLHE and FLHE” cash game tables. He clarified that, “We are able to configure the number of non-dealing tables of each table type. If action stops at a table, creating an additional non-dealing table of that type, we are able to configure an amount of time prior to one of the tables being closed.”
By these standards, all tables that fall into the above mentioned categories will be limited to just one empty, open table of each type at a time. Any active table that becomes inactive will automatically close 30 seconds after dealing stops. If the singular open table is occupied by one person, it will remain open, but no other empty tables will be displayed until at least two people are actively participating at the single, inactive open table. At this time, the new rules do not apply to heads-up tables.
“In the future we will reliably be closing the table that recently stopped dealing, but right now the table that has existed for the longest will be closed,” Day explicated upcoming strategies to further cultivate a bum-hunting-free online poker room. “We also plan to disable the ability for players to sit out at tables that are not dealing. Players sitting out when a table stops dealing will be removed from the table.”