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Old 11-11-2013, 01:15 AM   #1
PokerStars Steve
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PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

I’d like to offer my thanks to the six players who joined us on the Isle of Man in late October for our semiannual player meetings. The input we received will be valuable as we work to improve the site in the coming months.

I have requested of the player representatives that they leave the posting of PokerStars opinions to me, instead including in their trip reports their own opinions. Below are our (PokerStars) thoughts regarding the topics discussed.


VIP Program
We are not making any changes to the VIP Program in January 2014. There are some types of changes that can be implemented at any point in the year without negatively impacting players, so there is some possibility that there may be changes of this sort later in 2014.

I do not expect that there will be any increases in value offered to Supernova+ players in the forseeable future.


VIP Store
We remain committed to providing a wide variety of high quality merchandise in the VIP store. We have recently started working with new suppliers that will allow us to improve variety.

Electronics and books are areas in which we are currently working to improve variety. We are also considering changing t-shirt designs more frequently.

Items branded with VIP statuses have proven popular thus far. We will continue to offer them.


Ring Game Rake
We are aware of the many posts on the forum here that claim PLO rake is too high and/or that PLO games are unbeatable. We have been discussing this issue with players at these meetings for over a year now. We have reviewed PLO rake and winrates in comparison to other games in at least three different ways, creating new ways to analyze this information in between player meetings. Each analysis leads to the same conclusion: PLO rake is not too high and the games are beatable for a healthy profit.

I have no doubt that some players will not be convinced by this statement and that PLO rake will be a topic that comes up in the future. As long as player representatives want to discuss this topic at our meetings, we will continue to share our analysis and listen to player thoughts.

Our analysis does suggest that rake might be out of balance in a few other game types. In some cases rake might be lowered, and in other cases raised. We will review in more detail and consider making changes early in 2014.


Promotions
We aim primarily for our promotions to engage recreational players, though there are exceptions such as Happy Hours and Battle of the Planets that tend to reward regulars more. Improved milestone hand experience and the introduction of Golden SNG are two examples of promotions improvements in 2013. We also introduced the prize drawing reward mechanism during our August VIP promotion, visualized in the client through 4-max shootout flipaments.

We plan to add a few more promotions types to our bag of tricks in 2014. Expect them to debut later in the year. I cannot offer any details in public due to our desire to keep such information out of the hands of competitors.


Software
Player representatives had the opportunity to play on PokerStars 7 and provide feedback. We look forward to the full release of PokerStars 7 software in 2014.

Each year it becomes more and more a mobile world. We are continuing to work to improve our already successful phone and tablet applications.

Our anti-ratholing functionality is developed and tested. We plan to start rolling it out this month for at least one stakes. I acknowledge that this is significantly later than our originally planned deployment date. I hope it proves worth the wait.

We plan to work to improve our ability to prevent datamining of our site, as in the long run this is likely to be the most effective method of preventing the sharing of hand histories in violation of our terms of service and the inappropriate public display of results based on datamined hands.

We recognize that many players do want us to automate dealmaking in tournaments. As an item frequently requested in player meetings, this will get additional priority yet again.

We are not going to spread open-face Chinese in the foreseeable future. Programmers have already developed very sophisticated bots that perform at a very high level in this game of perfect information, making it a poor choice to add to our selection of games despite its clear popularity.


Ring Game Seating
Ring game seating is easily the largest player behavior problem we are currently facing. Unfortunately there is no easy solution.

Many players would like us to ban the use of seating scripts. There are three common complaints about such scripts. The first is that they result in an ‘unfair’ ability for some players to reliably get seats against desirable opponents. The second is that the use of such scripts makes transparent to desirable opponents that they are being hunted, so much so that these opponents become discouraged or dissatisfied and play less or not at all. The third is that some consider the purchase of scripting software a necessity to be successful at certain game types, resulting in an unnecessary and substantial drain on the poker economy as regulars feel forced to pay (sometimes quite a lot of) money to script authors.

We agree that the current situation is problematic. We do not agree that taking action against seating scripts is a good solution for two reasons.

First, enforcement is likely to either be ineffective or have negative side effects. The strictest measures that would have the best chance of greatly reducing the use of seating scripts would also result in stopping the use of popular software programs such as Table Ninja that do not break our current rules. Enforcement measures designed to continue to allow use of software such as Table Ninja would not be able to detect certain kinds of scripts, especially custom made scripts with small distributions. The end result would be that those with specialty scripts who were willing to break the rules would have a low probability of getting caught. We will continue to review possibilities for enforcement to see if we can identify better options, but we do not have high hopes at the moment.

Second, seating scripts are only a symptom of the overall problem. In a world without seating scripts, players might be able to ‘fairly’ compete in their development and execution of sophisticated bumhunting strategies. However, the experience of the targeted desirable opponents would not be much different. The reality is that for certain mid and high stakes games, in our current environment there are simply going to be players who focus almost exclusively on getting the best seats. Getting rid of scripts won’t change that.

It’s better for poker, and for PokerStars, if the primary focus of successful players is on play at the tables, not lobby gamesmanship. While table selection has long been an important skill utilized by successful players, we’ve gotten to the point where sophisticated bumhunting is damaging the overall poker playing environment enough that the importance of solving the problem might outweigh the desire to preserve the long valued skill of table selection.

We do not plan any immediate action on this issue, but only because we do not currently have a good solution. We do appreciate the high importance of this topic; addressing seating issues is the top priority for our ring games manager in the coming year.


Ring & SNG Offering
We have a fairly comprehensive offering of ring games and Sit & Go tournaments. For ring games, the main outstanding requests we have from players are for heads-up tables at additional game types. We plan to make changes to our HU ring game tables in 2014 to improve the lobby situation, after which we will consider offering new types of HU tables. We plan to launch HU Zoom in the next month as an alternative to traditional HU cash tables.

Sit & Go offerings are always a challenge. Liquidity is critically important for Sit & Go tournaments. While a player might correctly point out that if we were to offer their favorite new tournament type it would get plenty of players, the same argument could be made for a large number of variants. It’s critically important that we not offer so much variety that players are spread out too thin, resulting in long waits for tournaments to start.

We were able to quickly accommodate one request made during the meetings for two new 180-player SNG, a $0.50 Turbo and a $1.00 regular speed.


PR & Forum Presence
Taken all together, PokerStars staff members spend quite a substantial amount of time reading forums and making posts. While certain individual staff members may not post every day or even every week, PokerStars is still quite active. For example, I post far less frequently than I used to, but I work closely with Nick, Baard, Chris, Caleb, and Gareth, who collectively post quite a lot.

We participate here for a few reasons. The primary reason is to better understand you, our customers, and listen to your feedback and suggestions. Additionally, in the unusual case that PokerStars has made a customer-facing decision that is not in line with our policies and principles, the forums provide an additional way for the community to draw attention to the issue. We are also able to directly answer customer questions on a wide variety of topics. Finally, the forums are a good way for us to explain why we have taken certain actions, as an explanation made in a single post will be viewed by many readers.

We are not here to engage in debates beyond the point at which the discussion is no longer constructive and new ideas are not being exchanged. We also do not aim to please all forum participants with every decision, which is good because that would be impossible as two forum members often each desire exactly the opposite decision as one another. In some cases we even knowingly make decisions that we know are displeasing to the majority of posters here! After all, certain types of players are not well represented on these forums, but they must be considered when making decisions.

We make a lot of decisions as a company, and we make a lot of posts too. It is unlikely that many, if any, of you will agree with absolutely everything that we post and every decision that we make. This does not mean that we are not listening. I can assure you that the input provided on these forums and in the player meetings is extremely important to our company and that we listen very carefully. Coming to a different conclusion is a very different thing than not listening.

One area of potential improvement is finding a way for our forum posts to be more easily found by players. A FAQ, for example, would allow information posted here by our staff to be more visible to players. Information posted can often be buried deep in lengthy threads that many forum users do not care to read in their entirety.


Other Topics
The meetings on Game Integrity, Live Events, and Scheduled Tournaments were led by other PokerStars staff members. I will work with those staff members to ensure you get some statement from us regarding those meetings. I can say with regard to live events that we are currently taking a very close look at the EPT London hotel situation and expect to take action and make a formal statement in the near future.


Looking Forward
We are excited about the improvements that we will be delivering to you in the coming year, starting with PokerStars 7. We will continue to listen to player suggestions and feedback and build the input into our plans and prioritization.

The focus of many of our efforts over the coming year will be on pleasing recreational players. This includes retaining existing players and making the first few experiences on the site more pleasing for new players.

We plan to hold the next player meetings in April 2014.

Thanks again to the player representatives for the time and effort they volunteered for the purpose of improving our site. It was a pleasure to meet and interact with all of you.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:38 AM   #2
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by PokerStars Steve View Post
We plan to work to improve our ability to prevent datamining of our site
That is good news. Complete hand history for players only.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:02 AM   #3
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Oh how I wish Party Poker was on the same level as you. Kudos to Stars again for incredible client service.

This is how it's done
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:29 AM   #4
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by PokerStars Steve View Post
I can say with regard to live events that we are currently taking a very close look at the EPT London hotel situation and expect to take action and make a formal statement in the near future.
Do you mean Barcelona? If not, does anyone have a link to what Steve is referring to here?

Also, eagerly anticipating the explanation of how it was conclusively proved once again that AT LEAST(!) 0.1% of the player pool beats low stakes PLO
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:49 AM   #5
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Jfc thats some professional shiz right there in the op, gotta love Stars

I wish plo rake was lower though...
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:32 AM   #6
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Mostly standard gibberish, but this part is quite interesting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerStars Steve View Post
Our analysis does suggest that rake might be out of balance in a few other game types. In some cases rake might be lowered, and in other cases raised. We will review in more detail and consider making changes early in 2014.
Tough guess:

In the popular game Courchevel rake will be lowered and in all other games it will be raised (as there are still players with winrates bigger than 1bb/100h....gasp......outrageous).

Milk the cow until it's dead.....must be f***ing nice to have a monopoly, right?!
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:38 AM   #7
analyze_this
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Hey Steve,
Have you ever thought about proposing the option of anonymous poker?
Tables where players have no names, no pictures?
Meaning no notes (a more 'beatable game' for occasional and average players), no seating problems, no datamining, no collusion
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:18 AM   #8
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by analyze_this View Post
Hey Steve,
Have you ever thought about proposing the option of anonymous poker?
Tables where players have no names, no pictures?
Meaning no notes (a more 'beatable game' for occasional and average players), no seating problems, no datamining, no collusion
yea, let's copy successful sites like bodog, that's great for business.
Let's also make tables where every hand is allin preflop, it will make the games more beatable for the average player as well.

FR-nit noticed an obvious concern in Steve's post about some games' rake getting raised.
I assume holdem is a suspect here, in general or at least the higher stakes.
Which would be weird considering they lowered the rake to 4.5%, why would they raise it back?

Also Steve seems to prepare us for the eventual table selection removal. They don't have a good solution for this yet, they tried doing it with zoom, easy seat, table starter without significant results.
From the looks of it they'd like a more brute force approach of removing the normal selection altogether and they'd do it today but they think the volume will drop a ton.
I think they already tried this at 5-10 CAP games and above and no games were running, hence the hesitation to pull the trigger on this matter.

However overall I like Steve's post and the way Stars makes their decisions taking a lot of factors into consideration.
That's why they're number 1 and I wish some of the other competitors would take notes.
Looking forward to the rathole solution as well.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:55 AM   #9
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Just allow every player to change his screen name after a time period (3 months?) or after a certain number of hands are played (50K?). This would solve lots of issues easily.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #10
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Hope the rathole solution is the same that was announced before.
Because based on other parts of your post I get a bad vibe:
"you wanted the seating problem solved->we consider removing table selection
you wanted fair rake->we consider raising it for some games
you wanted to solve rathole->here's the new 40bb tables you asked for :-) "
Hope the last line is just fiction on my part:-).
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

I noticed the $1 180-man sngs. Thank you for adding those. As someone who loves playing larger SNGs but can rarely afford the $4.50 games, I will be playing them every time I get a chance.
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by shahrad View Post
Just allow every player to change his screen name after a time period (3 months?) or after a certain number of hands are played (50K?). This would solve lots of issues easily.
terrible idea
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:45 PM   #13
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Looking forard to the game security statements. I got a huge survey about it from stars like 2 weeks ago, so I assume there might be some big improvements.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:28 PM   #14
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by PokerStars Steve View Post
[..] enforcement is likely to either be ineffective or have negative side effects. The strictest measures that would have the best chance of greatly reducing the use of seating scripts would also result in stopping the use of popular software programs such as Table Ninja that do not break our current rules.
just a quick comment: PM me if you need help in figuring out logically consistent rules. regards, mme.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:25 PM   #15
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by PokerStars Steve View Post
Our anti-ratholing functionality is developed and tested. We plan to start rolling it out this month for at least one stakes. I acknowledge that this is significantly later than our originally planned deployment date. I hope it proves worth the wait.
Can you say which stake this is going to be? And when will it be rolled out at all stakes please?

Last edited by Mike Haven; 11-11-2013 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #16
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

i hope zoom cash games will get a reduced rake.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:30 PM   #17
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Pokerstars top 10 or top 5 best companys in the world i bet. And not talking about poker company's ranking.. In that it's number 1 for sure Fantastic job everyday keep it going!
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:03 PM   #18
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

was the rake for o8 discussed aswell?
will it still be the same
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:50 AM   #19
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Pokerstars top 10 or top 5 best companys in the world i bet.
Dear Sir

you couldn't be more wrong, Rational Group is not even in the top 500 in the world (regarding revenue).

Sincerly



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i hope zoom cash games will get a reduced rake.
There are players making more than 1 bb/100.....forget it!
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:42 AM   #20
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Good news on focusing on rec players. Can't say I'm a fan of hu zoom at all, but I guess that would prevent bumhunting and hit and running to a degree. Would prefer a system that rewards people for sitting anyone and/or locking players in to play 'x' amount of hands.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:22 AM   #21
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If rake isn't too high in PLO and games are healthy. Why don't you post the analysis for all of us to see? Why must I come to IoM to see?

The community consistently posts numbers and you simply disregard them with providing proof.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:42 AM   #22
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by PokerStars Nick View Post
Our plan is to roll out this feature as soon as we are able to. I expect this to be before the end of the year.
June, 3rd quarter of the year, soon, before end of the year.......

Stars knows to keep his word ........... NOT!

But i appreciate Steve's hidden hint of a new rake-rape next year as it will make decisions easier for a lot of people to move on to other sites (at least for me).
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:08 AM   #23
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Is there anywhere we can see a peak of Pokerstars 7?
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

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Originally Posted by Frank Sobotka View Post
Is there anywhere we can see a peak of Pokerstars 7?
https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29...lient-1253317/

http://pokerfuse.com/news/poker-room...ha-test-30-08/
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:43 PM   #25
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Re: PokerStars Player Meetings Report, October 2013

Don't really care about SS but I'd like the buyin raised so FR-Nit can finally stfu.
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