PokerStars Issues Cease and Desist Letter to PokerTableRatings.com
Following several years and numerous requests that PokerTableRatings.com (PTR) stop recording hands on PokerStars' tables, the owners of PokerStars are taking legal action against the data mining website.
Yesterday, the head of PokerStars' Home Games told Two Plus Two poker forum readers that a "Cease and Desist" letter had been sent by PokerStars to PokerTableRatings.com: "We have told them that they must immediately cease infringing our intellectual property rights and breaching the terms and conditions of our software. This is not an idle threat; we’ve assembled a team of lawyers in multiple jurisdictions to follow up."
The issue at hand (pun intended) is two-fold: First, it violates PokerStars' Terms and Conditions; Second, it gives regular players - those who are aware of and utilizing these poker data sites - a tremendous advantage over casual ones.
PokerTableRatings.com records the cash game and Sit 'n' Go hand histories of PokerStars, as well as several other poker rooms and networks, among them Party Poker and Merge Gaming. The hand histories are maintained in a searchable database on the PTR website.
PTR visitors may search and view a set number of player stats each day for free. Additional views must be purchased via monthly premium. PTR also sells hand histories that paying customers may import to their own poker analysis software.
The latter are sold in packages that vary by game type, poker room and the game's stakes and number of participating players. For example, the hand histories for PokerStars' No Limit Texas Holdem $5/$10 short-handed cash games can cost as much as $200, depending on the number of histories a user would like to view.
PokerTableRatings.com boasts that it records more than 18,000,000 hand histories per day.
The benefit to PTR customers is obvious. It permits them to see player wins and losses, as well as assess their prospective opponents' strategies based on how they played specific hands.
Though PokerStars contends this violates intellectual property rights and pushes the odds further in favor of more seasoned players, the opposite argument is that it provides a resource for reviewing unusual play and safeguards against cheating. In fact, PTR's hand histories recently played a role in detecting a bot ring on PokerStars.