PokerTracker, Poker Players Lash Out at Bodog Going Anonymous

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Unfolding on Wednesday on PocketFives was word that Bodog had removed screen names and player notes from its tables. According to a statement posted on Pokerfuse on Wednesday, Bodog officials remarked, “This feature stops poker pros accessing any data on how you play your game via the use of HUDs and other data mining sites like PokerTableRatings and SharkScope. This is totally unique to the Bodog Poker Network and will send shockwaves through the online poker playing community.”

Shockwaves indeed.

Among those companies affected was PokerTracker, whose Twitter feed broke word that the tracking program would cease to support Bodog effectively immediately: “New Bodog client out today, but we will no longer support Bodog. Not enough PT users on Bodog to devote development resources going forward.” PokerTracker representatives added via Twitter, “PokerTracker is not the focus of Bodog’s mission, they are after data mining sites, but we were caught in the crossfire.”

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PokerTracker explained via Twitter that Bodog’s existing Terms of Service explicitly permit it: “Ironically, Bodog’s Terms of Service still legally permits the use of PokerTracker, the TOS was last updated in 2010.” The site’s Terms of Service explain that players may only collect data from their “own first-hand experience.”

On PocketFives, reaction to the Bodog software update in a Poker Sites thread was largely negative. One frustrated member of the online poker community vented, “No way to track results is terri-bad. No HUDs is one thing, but this anonymous nonsense. I can’t even put into words how little sense this makes. Also, a permanent blackjack button you can’t get rid of on the table and the worst sounds you have ever heard on a poker client.”

Another PocketFives member experienced the full gamut of emotions, posting, “At first glance, I was psyched. Software looks much cleaner and new games are a plus. But dear god, this anonymous shit is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Really just don’t understand who they’re trying to appeal to.”

Bodog Network Vice President Jonas Odman told Pokerfuse, “We believe that introducing these features makes Bodog… a pioneer in the online poker world and offers all players of all abilities the fairest place to play. We have shown before that we are not afraid of controversy by changing the way rakeback was viewed and starting to block data mining sites… These new features now give players a less biased ‘pure poker’ experience.”

How player security will be ensured given the lack of screen names remains to be seen. When the cheating scandals broke on Absolute Poker and UB, software like PokerTracker helped unravel the case. One poster on PocketFives echoed, “This completely opens the door to site corruption possibilities with zero tracking of results. Possibly the worst software upgrade of any product I’ve ever seen.”

Speaking on the possibility of collusion and cheating, PokerTracker’s Steven McLoughlin told PocketFives on Wednesday, “We have been contacted by some sites as well as licensing authorities to discuss technology to detect collusion. We have the technology in place to help facilitate detection in the hands already, but it is not automated; it still requires a player’s suspicions as the starting point of an investigation. There is no known foolproof third party package available for sites or networks to use; security is often a manual process.”

McLoughlin added that Bodog’s Patrick Selin contacted him earlier this year, “when he shared his plans for eliminating data mining on Bodog eventually. It is fairly obvious that PokerTracker, which ethically follows the poker room Terms and Conditions, got caught in the crossfire.”

Also making waves on Wednesday was news that the Microgaming Network would, according to Pokerfuse and PokerStrategy, make No Limit Heads-Up cash game tables anonymous. Pokerfuse added, “Anonymous tables at Full Ring No Limit and Six-Max Limit will be rolled out at all stakes… A limited offering will also be spread at beginners’ tables.”

McLoughlin told PocketFives that there was an important distinction between Bodog’s software update and Microgaming’s expansion of anonymous tables: “Although it is not the ideal situation to encourage transparency, at least on Microgaming, players have a choice. You can say, ‘I want to play on these anonymous tables on Microgaming,’ but you can also say you don’t want to play on these tables. Bodog players lost their choice.”

Visit the thread in the Poker Sites forum to discuss.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Im a little naive on the history here, but can anyone explain what he means by “changing the way rakeback was viewed”? In other words, not offering rakeback while having basically the same rake structure as every other site. Again, Im naive on this so feel free to correct me. Is there any validity to his claim or that just another turd that he’s attempting to polish?

      • You would be a fool to play on here. For all anyone knows bodog management can see hole cards and is raping people like UB did. The difference is now there is no way they can be caught. Nice scheme!

          • Can someone from Bodog of some kind of authority join the p5s thread and help us understand why all these changes were made? There isn’t a recreational player or pro on the planet that would prefer the new software. If there is, I encourage them to post here and state why the new software is better.

            What steps is Bodog taking to prevent collusion/cheating with anonymous names and zero tracking of results? Did anyone with any understanding of poker weigh in on this “upgrade”? Were any players invited to do testing?

          • So just when the US players around the world are trying to get poker legalized because it’s a “skilled game” and is not considered gambling. Well this whole anonymous thing throws that all out the window. I mean come on, this does no good for the poker community, people play poker because the information that can be gained by a player and utilized that information to create an advantage. This whole anonymous software change cannot even be compared to any form of poker because it does not exist. Imagine playing at a live tournament and you can’t see the person, you only see the amount of chips he/she has. Absolute the worst decision Bodog has made and will probably regret it because the amount of players that will disappear from the site.

          • Insta-withdrawal! Its seems like they might’ve just tried to make the software operate smoother at the cost of security by taking out all the information on the tables and although i like the smoothness of the new lobby and tables – playing anonymously is just taking one giant step backward for online poker and i cant believe bodog have risked their position as one of the couple of reasonable quality remaining sites operating in the US by allowing lots of breaches of security on their tables and cutting out the successful players that rake the most over time and make their living on the site. Plain foolish.

            GL to US players moving to Merge network.

          • Like all of you I believe this is absolutely ridiculous and a complete deal-breaker for me going forward. Bodog has always a very reliable company in my dealings with them over the years, even as the games have become smaller. Because they have always been so good, I really don’t know what to think of it. I doubt they can continue with this going forward.

          • Can someone from Bodog of some kind of authority join the p5s thread and help us understand why all these changes were made? There isn’t a recreational player or pro on the planet that would prefer the new software. If there is, I encourage them to post here and state why the new software is better.

            What steps is Bodog taking to prevent collusion/cheating with anonymous names and zero tracking of results? Did anyone with any understanding of poker weigh in on this “upgrade”? Were any players invited to do testing?

            Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.

          • This is not an issue really since the new software does not work anyway. Played and SNG and players were being sat out automatically and people limping behind me while it was my turn to act. such a joke.

          • Wow. F’ing amazing.
            If I didn’t have a couple tickets left I would have withdrawn every cent already.
            Bodog: never again. Already was a crappy poker site, now…

          • Bodog is dead… so now where can a washington state player go???

            I’ve been a dedicated customer for 8 years… but sadly Bodog is dead… so now where can a washington state player go???

          • i think this is the 4th or 5th time ive heard “bodog is dead” over the last 7 or 8 years. Seems they never go away. My only complaint is the collusion/super user/Multi-accounting aspects. Its going to be really easy for someone to have 3 or 4 accounts and to play the same mtts or buy into a 130 DON with 3 accounts or something. Other than that, I dont mind no screen names. I was never that good with taking notes(pretty much only who to slowroll), and I rarely ever used poker sites unless I was playin 5/10, so this certainly is an advantage for me. I just wish there was some way bodog could prove that no shady dealings are going on

          • Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.

            Duffy, I’m glad someone likes the idea. It brings a new perspective and I’d love to be convinced it’s better. When you say “I will be trying…” that means you haven’t played on the new software yet, correct? HUD etc aside there are a ton of bugs in the software and functionality issues. If you read the ~300 responses you’ll see there are tons of issues. 9/10 of the pros I know don’t use HUD’s on Bodog anyway so it’s not really relevant imo.

            So you 100% trust the site is secure and can self monitor collusion and resist the temptation to cheat players (which could never be detected now)? I agree with quietwinner, the multi-accounting/collusion/superuser issues are the big ones and really need to be addressed.

          • Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.

            How have tracking sites, training sites, data mining, and HUDS been a detriment to online poker? It’s called evolution. Maybe it wouldn’t be fair if only certain people had access to it but EVERYONE is on an equal playing field. Anyone can access these things if they want. How is that unfair? I for one have never used a HUD on any site and I have no problem with other people using them. All that this update did was put a bunch of more bugs in the software and take the intimate and personal experience out of poker. Poker isn’t meant to be played anonymously.

          • I made 6 FT’s last night, but none of you knew about it!!!

            On a serious note, I’m mostly concerned with the collusion factor. I assume that most people get caught colluding from players giving tips to the sites. That number is going to drastically decline with player anonymity. I want to know if Bodog even thought about this, and if so, what are their plans to keep the site secure? I feel like now they can sit back in their chair and kick their feet up on the desk and watch the rake flow in.(or lack there of rake)My biggest beef right now is not being able to choose my seat. Let us at least choose our seat and we’ll go from there.

            On a side note, for anyone interested, find the Bodog thread and look on page five. I made a list of bugs/corrections. I’ll continue to add to that list if anyone has any suggestions.

          • Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.
            ^ amen!
            sorry all the pros cant bum hunt and take advantage of weak players, most of which they wouldnt have known to be weak if it wasnt for other software etc, fair game for everyone…if bodog can truely make sure there is no collusion then im stoked!
            probably easier to make money and i dont see anything wrong with being anonymous if your still making money, most have stuck around on bodog because they are making money, thats the goal right? ie illnug made 6 FT’s last night, all this bitching but still raking in cash, hmmmm makes alot of sense….if you play online poker to make friends and chat you should probably stick to facebook/zynga poker, geeeezus…..

          • Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.
            ^ amen!
            sorry all the pros cant bum hunt and take advantage of weak players, most of which they wouldnt have known to be weak if it wasnt for other software etc, fair game for everyone…if bodog can truely make sure there is no collusion then im stoked!
            probably easier to make money and i dont see anything wrong with being anonymous if your still making money, most have stuck around on bodog because they are making money, thats the goal right? ie illnug made 6 FT’s last night, all this bitching but still raking in cash, hmmmm makes alot of sense….if you play online poker to make friends and chat you should probably stick to facebook/zynga poker, geeeezus…..

            lol ok. Pretty sure you don’t need to look someone up or look at a HUD a lot of the time to know someone is awful.

          • Maybe not, but if you don’t know who you’re sitting with, it’s going to take some time to get reads. And it’s going to prevent pros from avoiding each other to sit with fish.

          • Picking your table, remembering history with past players, selecting your seat, targeting weaker players and avoid stronger players…. this IS poker. This is how you learn, how you get better, how you grow your bankroll.

            Anonymous poker is absurd. I find no enjoyment in the game set up like this (even tho is still appears to be profitable, based on my 2 days of play). It feels like a poker simulator. Even when you play a casino, you build associations with faces and play; you’ll never do that here (tho you could with avatars/screen names). And if you’re at a cash game (or multiple cash games), you’ll never keep track of “9”, cuz when one guy leaves this seat and another sits down, you won’t even know. You’ll be attributing his play/style to the guy who left while you weren’t looking.

            Would you play in a casino, where everyone was behind a curtain? It’s stupid plain and simple. The 2 or 3 people who’ve managed to rationalize this as a good thing have got to be joking (I love the bit where one guy says he likes it, but then says he’ll deposit $$ now… which of course means he has no idea what it’s like, cuz he’s never played there).

            I’m already moving on to another site and hope that the rest of the bodog regs will do the same. A serious drop in traffic is the only thing that “might” get Bodog to re-think this plan.

          • Wrong. I like it. I will be trying too get $ onto Bodog now for the first time ever(only thing that has always kept me away is no player transfers). Trackin Sites, Training sites, data mining, and HUDs have been an equal detriment too online poker profitibility similar too UIGEA. Sure regulation will make the game really profitable again…but for how long!? We as a poker playing community, need to FUCKING smarten up this time around(assuming reg. comes) Dump the god damn HUDs, dont support sites like sharkscope, datamining, etc… The removal of these things will greatly increase the lifespan of online poker as a career.

            So, you want a collusion/bot site? Good luck with that.

            And I just played a tourney with points ticket and there were two players numbered 30. LOL Bodog. WTG. Turned poker into a casino game. They shouldn’t be allowed to charge rake.

          • Bodog has no PTP transfers. I’d hope they’re coherent enough to realize that the same cc is being used for MA’s. Other than that the only way of MA’ing would be to pay the rake in HU SNG’s.

          • Can someone from Bodog of some kind of authority join the p5s thread and help us understand why all these changes were made? There isn’t a recreational player or pro on the planet that would prefer the new software. If there is, I encourage them to post here and state why the new software is better.

            What steps is Bodog taking to prevent collusion/cheating with anonymous names and zero tracking of results? Did anyone with any understanding of poker weigh in on this “upgrade”? Were any players invited to do testing?

            THIS

          • A good guess is that BODOG is trying to “level the playing field” for beginners by creating an environment free of electronic aids. When beginners learn that better players have HUD and extra technical help, they feel as if they are at a significant disadvantaged due to the tech edge … when in fact they are at a significant disadvantage because they are beginners :rolleyes:.In the end it will probably be offered as an option and in fact I would be surprised if it was not offered later as a discretionary option for a player to “elect” to be totally anonymous. Imagine, you are playing in a cash game or tournament … and suddenly three or four players wink out to be replaced by “Anonymous player” and a black disk.Luckily the U.S. DOJ will always be against “anonymous players” for revenue tracking reasons, so expect to be tracked by the site in any case.Then there is the ideal of personal freedom: If a player wanted to play as an anonymous, untraceable player … why should he/she be denied? I realize it is inconvenient for tracking sites and P5s but the option for a player to be just another unknown is not an unreasonable request.I think that BODOG and other sites may well add something else to an anonymous profile: No RackBack. This means that BODOG would make more money from anonymous players and – in essence – anonymous players would be “paying” for their anonymity.I find that when a product idea like this rolls out, there is always a revenue hook in favour of the corporation somewhere … you just have to think about it a bit. Hope this adds to the discussion.

          • The biggest concern is the collusion. Bodog has always been behind the poker industry in all aspects of their room. Their security is probably no different. I do not trust that Bodog would be able to track bots, colluders, superusers etc. Secondly, I can see the argument for taking away HUDS, but I cannot see an argument for taking away the ability to take notes on players and making reads on them. We all know poker is a game of information and people should not be denied the ability to do this naturally (i.e not having a program do it for you). I really hope they reconsider this decision

          • The biggest concern is the collusion. Bodog has always been behind the poker industry in all aspects of their room. Their security is probably no different. I do not trust that Bodog would be able to track bots, colluders, superusers etc. Secondly, I can see the argument for taking away HUDS, but I cannot see an argument for taking away the ability to take notes on players and making reads on them. We all know poker is a game of information and people should not be denied the ability to do this naturally (i.e not having a program do it for you). I really hope they reconsider this decision

            You are completely correct there. A big part of the game is building an information file on the player, tendencies, etc. Consider that curious sub-breed, the “hit-n-run” poker player that comes into a game to min-cash then leaves to do it again. Anonymous users will make them invisible. What if one anonymous user leaves the table and another takes his place but since it is all anonymous you the player are screwed when you raise the tight anonymous player of five minutes ago a little light only to be raised out of your shorts by the maniac that replaced him.

            I think that there is something there to be worked on, some middle ground that would give a player anonymity if they desire it, track-ability for fraud prevention,and that all-important pocketing of rake by the site. Perhaps a 24 hour temporary name?

            Notes are great for the person keeping notes but some players (casual beginners) do not and probably value the feature stopping other players keeping notes on them. I suppose anonymous players should not be allowed to write notes on players with legit names, to even out the field.

            I suppose that BODOG is trying to create an online poker-playing environment for beginners free of HUD-assisted predators (sorry for the bluntness) and it will probably also be low limit. What is funny is that at the lower limits the good players are absent, HUD-assisted or not.

            I do not play BODOG but the idea is intriguing. I am sure there is a way of offering it as a choice but your point about security is the key point: online sites have never really faced the necessity of serious third-party audits for security, let alone accounting, so anonymous accounts would be a tempting environment from which to fleece players selectively. The more I think about the “middle ground” on this issue, the more it feels like quicksand.

            I do however feel that an online poker player should not be placed in a position where he is playing a poker player armed to the teeth with information from an HUD program. The only solution of course is for the online poker sites to make the HUD info available to all players, again to level the playing field. Once you level the playing field, all there is left is each player’s poker playing skills, which is the idea situation.

          • stupid for pure poker reasons, who wants to remember which blank seat is which while playn totally fqks with tbl dynamics whn new players come in all kinds of shyt ,when u become a reg u become knowledgeable with other regs and its also part of the fun to go with any grindthe only benefit is winning large and its anonymous.other thn tht its just annoying!

          • I kinda like it but as a long customer to Bodog // Pro:You can’t run or avoid the good (or bad) players, meaning more money for sharks. // Con:Hard to distinguish tables especially if you’re multi-tabling.You can’t change where you seat which makes it very distracting at times.Supposedly you can play up to 20 tables according to the website, but I am still limited to 4 tables.As nitpicky as it may sound, the table screens are too big. lolI like the new SNG formats they put up so we’ll see if this will attract more players. I’m still not used to the changes but we’ll see.

    • Im a little naive on the history here, but can anyone explain what he means by “changing the way rakeback was viewed”? In other words, not offering rakeback while having basically the same rake structure as every other site. Again, Im naive on this so feel free to correct me. Is there any validity to his claim or that just another turd that he’s attempting to polish?

      He’s referring to this more from an industry perspective than a player perspective. General industry consensus is that rakeback, as it’s existed on many of the poker networks up to this point, has done a lot more harm than good. Bodog, particularly Calvin Ayre, has been adamant over the years that they don’t see the point of paying winning players extra money to sit at their tables. Obviously this is controversial for players, as well as among people in the industry, but that’s the way they see it. They’ve changed a lot of minds with their discussion about this over the years. Definitely a topic we can and should all discuss more, but that’s what he meant by this.