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Online Poker Data Mining -- The Pro Opinion VIII

Final Part in Our Series on Online Poker Data Mining Sees Marty Smyth Discuss His Feelings About The Issue


Following on from Card Player’s recent report about the data mining dilemma facing the online poker industry, we decided to ask a selection of players their thoughts on what has become a very sensitive issue.

Each player was asked if they use online poker tracking tools and if they felt people should be allowed to data mine; is it good or bad for the game, does it change the game at all, and what was their opinion of sites taking action against it? This resulted in a surprisingly mixed reaction which you can read over the past week at

Marty Smyth on online poker data miningMarty Smyth

I don’t use tracking software, although I have purchased PokerTracker and Hold’Em Manager. I just find them difficult to use, and I don’t really play enough to have built up a lot of statistics on players. Also, I don’t play cash very often these days and I don’t think it’s as important for single or multi-table tournaments. I’m also very lazy which if I’m honest with myself, is the main reason I don’t use them.

I think overall it’s pretty bad for the game that sites allow them to be used, and I also feel it’s completely unfair. I know that everyone has the freedom to use data mining tools, but a lot of new/recreational players aren’t aware that they even exist and would probably be pretty horrified if they knew that this kind of stuff was being used against them.

Online poker has gotten really tough, and unless you’re a decent player, you don’t really stand a chance. I just think it would be fairer and ultimately more profitable for the sites if they took away this added advantage that the online grinders have. Good players will still make money, maybe not as much as before, and bad players will still lose money, but maybe they will lose it more slowly, giving them a bit more enjoyment, and it would also create more rake for the site.

The simplest way of putting a stop to data mining is to allow players to change their name as often as they wish, although I know there are drawbacks to this too. I don’t really know much about the technical side of it, but I imagine there must be ways of combating it without doing this.

Check out the opinions of Joe Elpayaa, Rory Rees Brennan and Cristiano Blanco, Arnaud Mattern, Brandon Schaefer, Dara O’Kearney, and Paul Marrow.