Partypoker’s new “strategic materials” policy came into effect on February 1st, 2021. The rules are part of Party’s (and, at this point, most of the rest of the industry’s) long-term goal of leveling the playing field. The idea is a hot one at the moment among those who wish to create sites that attract recreational players.
The strategic materials policy limits the use of third-party software to a short white-list. Any software not included is now verboten, and can have a player’s account shut down and their winnings “redistributed.”
The full list of acceptable third-party tools is:
- Table Tamer
- Mosaic 2
- Universal Replayer
- Jurojin Poker
While anything not on this list is considered out of bounds, the rules also more specifically ban bots, seating scripts, real time assistants, and tools for circumventing Party’s hand-history rules.
Saving recreational poker
The trend towards making pro players empty their pockets of any strange software packets owes its existence to the long-standing debate on how to bring back the recreational players who made the poker boom so boom-y.
While Phil Galfond’s RunItOnce can be credited with being the most prominent ground-up implementation of this rule, GGPoker became the face of the movement last summer.
RunItOnce used anonymous player names, a built-in HUD, and a ban on third-party tools to reduce players’ edges down to personal skill. GGPoker, on the other hand, clumsily banned winning players and haphazardly rapped the knuckles of anyone who seemed to be winning too much.
Party’s newest policy target’s “strategic material,” defined in the Party bumf as “any form of external material that can be referenced whilst playing which provides guidance, instructions or recommendations.” Anything from starting hand charts to Fedor Kruse’s dream machine would meet the criteria.
One exception is Party’s own in-house software: MyGame and MyGame Whiz. This training software offers personalized tutoring, some basic charts, and access to hand histories. Party describes the software as “your reporting and training tool. [It] is your personal poker coach, giving you real-time tips and encouragement based on your play.”
By banning most software, and making tools like MyGame available to all, the hope is to change the game dynamic and restore the confidence of weaker players.
One of the attractions of poker is that on any given Sunday the worst player could beat Phil Ivey if the cards come down right. It keeps the losers coming back and makes the poker ecosystem sustainable. While the efficacy of moves like Party’s strategic material policy remains to be seen, the direction of play is to be admired.
Featured image source: Twitter