Hand History sites and data mining sites – are they good or bad for poker? What have HH sites done in the past, present and especially in the future to harm or help the poker community?
What in the future could data mining sites do to Serve and Protect online poker players? Can and would a Hand History site be used and utilised for ethical purposes? For example allowing online poker players to check out a sites real life RNG performance and stats?
Can Hand History sites and the information they gather be used as the new poker police force?
Poker Hand History sites collect and then sell the play history data of online poker players. HH sites data mine across cash game tables on most sites and networks that they can track players. Or in the case of some supposedly anonymous tables/sites that in theory they can not track (hhSmithy did not use or sell these Hand Histories in any form). Hand Histories of players are sold by the HH site to its members who have access to the millions of hands of new hands per day.
The question about poker Hand History sites (data mining) and are they good or bad for poker is a simple one but the answer is not, as there are many factors. The waters get even murkier if you separate the HH sites from the poker tracking software.
The Hand Histories by themselves can not do much for a poker player but when combined with player tracking software such as Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker they create a very sophisticated analysis tool of – depending on where you play – virtually all the players you are playing against now. Poker Hand History sites are good for the players who utilize them. That can not be denied. To have access to players stats and styles, especially when you have not played against them, means you have a large edge.
Any edge nowadays with online poker is a real advantage and Hand History sites provide that instantly. Some people though consider it a form of cheating – to have information about a player when you have not paid to play against them to learn that information. One of the most famous examples was the Isildur1 scandal when Hand Histories were shared and analyzed. But was this any different that going down the pub with another poker player and discussing how a regular at your local casino plays?
Ethical uses for Hand History data mining sites?
If it was not for Hand History sites combining with poker player tracking software then some of the most famous online poker scandals and cheating may not have been discovered or enough evidence gathered and analyzed to confirm them. The Ultimate Bet Super User, online poker bots and even the not so anonymous tables on Party Poker and Bodog.
But what are the effects on poker players both the casual fish that keep the poker world going, what are the effects on the grinders, how does it effect poker sites and networks? Will Hand History sites and data mining even have an effect on the attempts in the US to regulate online poker and especially protect online poker players?
Opinions on Hand History sites and the good or bad effects they have with online poker are very varied. You are normally very strongly for or against HH sites, or you don’t really know about them and how they can effect you.
In these series of articles we will investigate the arguments both for and against hand history sites and are they good or bad for poker? We will also be discussing if a Hand History site and data mining site can be ethical and be used for the good of the online poker world now and in the future.
Could they become the new poker police force used to fight crime, poker bots, cheating and colluding when it seems that most of the poker sites and networks themselves will not or just can not protect us?