partypoker Combatting Table Hogging With Software Update
On Thursday, September 25th, partypoker rolled out a new software update that included a number of changes, including several updates that will allow players to track tournaments more easily. The most significant update to many, though, is a new initiative geared toward stopping “table hogging.”
Table hogging, also known as “table camping” or “bum hunting,” is a strategy generally practiced by hardcore grinders, those who like to play multiple tables simultaneously for maximum action, potential win rate, and rewards. A table hog will seat himself at many tables at once – six, eight, ten, twelve, however many he wants to play – usually of the heads-up or short-handed variety (almost always no larger than six-handed). He will then wait until the right opponent sits down before he actually engages in a poker contest. These table hoggers usually equip themselves with heads-up displays linked to poker tracking software such as PokerTracker that give them immediate statistics on the player that sits down. These stats can show whether or not the opponent would be an attractive one. Is he a losing player? Way too loose? Way too tight? Does he bet in predictable situations? Whatever the criteria, the table hogger will know if he wants to play with that person and if the opponent looks unattractive, the table hogger will simply not play.
Eventually, what usually happens then is the opponent will get frustrated from waiting and leave the table. Table hoggers can often be sitting alone at several tables listed in the lobby at once. This table hogging practice can hurt the poker rooms, as it makes available tables inactive and can cause frustrated players to logoff.
partypoker’s solution to this is not to prevent players from hogging tables, but to make the practice less attractive to them. If a player is sitting at multiple cash game tables of the same stake and game type by themselves, only one of those tables will be displayed in the lobby. All others will be hidden. Thus, there is no benefit to the hogger to sit at more than one table. Once an opponent sits at the one visible table (and presumably when the game starts), one of the other, previously hidden, tables that the hogger is occupying will be revealed in the lobby. When play at that second table begins, a third table will be made visible, and so on and so forth.
In the dedicated partypoker thread on Two Plus Two, a partypoker representative said of the new policy, “With the above, we are trying to encourage players to simply sit on the maximum amount of tables they would like to play and make sitting on more tables than those redundant, as they simply will not show in the lobby before another player is actually sat. This will result in a less cluttered lobby, making it easier for all players to find games in their preferred stakes.”
Those who use the One Click Lobby to quickly and automatically be sent to a table will only be seated at tables that are visible in the regular lobby.
The effort to restrict bum hunting has been well-received by the poker community, though the exact implementation has been questioned. One player posted, “…why such a complex solution? Why not just limit the amount of empty or 1/6 tables open? That would certainly force games to get start and people to compete over those tables. I see no reason why that would be bad. If a player has no intention of playing, then if another player sits to play with him and he will not engage, he will be removed. Simple as that, only those willing to actually play poker will be playing. Why cater to those that are destroying the atmosphere of your site…”
Another player said that there are still table hoggers that block multiple tables with two or three people seated, so this new implementation will not deter them.
It remains to be seen how well party’s new system will work, as the software update was fraught with bugs when it was rolled out, so the table hogger prevention is not currently active. It is expected to be fixed soon.
Last July, the iPoker Network implemented a similar feature called “Heads-Up Hogging Prevention.” With iPoker’s system, the software detects if a player is a bum hunter and then restricts his access to heads-up tables.
Other updates that are/will be included the new update (whenever partypoker fixes the bugs) include:
• Auto-Rebuy & Auto-Add-on feature on Classic table – The Auto Add-on and auto-rebuy feature will now be extended to players using the classic poker table theme.
• My Tournaments count – Players will now be shown the number of tournaments that they are registered to by the My Tournaments icon/link in the lobby.
• Tournament Ticket lobby count – Players will now be shown the number of tournament tickets that they have available by the notification icon for tournament tickets in the footer on the main lobby.
• Show Running and Completed Tournaments – Players will now be offered a quicker way of showing/hiding ‘Running’ and ‘Completed’ tournaments.
• Show Tournaments – This option will show players that as per the tourney filters set, the tournament listing only shows a subset of the total number of active tournaments at that moment in time. This feature currently only applies to the download Mac client and the no download poker client.
• Late Registration tournaments displaying starting chips – Players can now see the starting chip amounts during late registration to help them decide if they want to play in a tournament