PokerStars to Take on Ratholing Issues

May 21, 2013

Ratholing is a prominent problem on all online poker networks, and professional poker players have been requesting operators to find a solution for it, for a long period of time. PokerStars, a leading name in the online poker industry recently issued a report, which addressed this issue with regard to their players. The representatives from the company gave out various recommendations in the report, and the company might adopt some of them in order to address the issue of ratholing.

What is ratholing?

Ratholing is a very common problem in online poker rooms, as it helps poker players save their winnings. It can be described as a technique wherein the winner of a poker game leaves a particular poker table, so that he or she can join the same table, or a new table with a smaller stack. This method helps the winning player save his or her money, especially in a game with a big pot amount. So once the player has won the game, he or she can keep half of it on the side as safety, and join a new table to play with a smaller stack.

Even though ratholing helps a particular set of players, for majority of the players it lowers the chances of them winning back their lost money. So even if the players are very good with their game play, they might not receive a second opportunity to win back their lost money on a particular table.

PokerStars’ solution to ratholing

The Representative from the company Steve Day has suggested a solution to solve the ratholing problem on the PokerStars network. According to Day, this issue can be addressed if it is clearly defined. Day feels that defining all behavior where in a player does not wish to play with a deep stack is illogical. A lot of poker tables are filled by aggressive poker players. It is very hard to assess such players, as their game play is extremely tight. So many players might choose not to play on such tables once they have made a certain amount of money.

The PokerStars network wants to ensure that such players are not harmed under the name of ratholing, but the network also wants to assure that the players who are bothered by this method do not discontinue their association with the website. In his report, Day stated that the network needs to define ratholing in technical terms, and use a software in order to detect it. He feels that compiling a software to assess whether or not a player is indulging in ratholing will yield better results, than players making verbal claims will.

The problems with regard to defining ratholing

The biggest challenge that the website is going to face while trying to define ratholing with the help of technical terminology is the fact that no operator has been able to find an appropriate solution to this problem so far. Day accepted the fact that even though PokerStars wants to code a software to address this issue, the members from the company have not been able to come up with a common definition of the particular behavior. In fact, Day confessed that it is almost impossible to describe this behavior, and distinguish it from the regular game play of a player.

The complex solution provided by the company

According to Day, the company has been having a lot of discussions in this context, and it has come up with a complex solution to the problem. The company had an official business meeting in order to discuss this problem, and during the meeting, a BDR or Business Requirements Document was drafted by the members. This document suggests that the website will launch a software that will keep a track on the stack sizes of all the players on the PokerStars network. So when the players leave the table to join a new poker table, their minimum buy-in will be dictated on the basis of their previous stack sizes.

Each of the players will have their own stack identity. So every time a player moves from one poker table to another, he or she will have to pay a buy in on the basis of the previous stack size that he or she was playing with. If this system is implemented, players who play with large stack sizes will not be allowed to play on tables with low buy-in. As a result, they will not be able to protect their large winnings by ratholing.

The impact of this software on multi-tablers

The officials from the company also discussed the impact of this software on players who play on multiple tables at the same time. This software is going to deal with such players in a different way, and the multi-table players will be allowed to use their lowest stack identity for their buy-in amount on any table.

The officials declared that the software will calculate a table cap with regard to multi-table players, but the details of this feature have not been released as yet. The company has not made any mention of the expiration of the stack identity as well. The company has currently started testing the percentage of ratholing that would be curbed with the implementation of this software. The results of this experiment will determine whether PokerStars is going to adopt this software, and there is a high possibility that the software might not work as planned.