This post was written in June 2019 when I was the Managing Director of Poker at Microgaming.
There has been a great deal of debate about hand histories, HUDs and tracking software in recent weeks. It’s something we have discussed extensively at MPN HQ, both among our management team and with our customers.
Currently at MPN, players can use either our ‘Classic’ poker client, which is available for Windows only and is being gradually phased out, or the new ‘Prima’ software, available for all devices. The Classic software has hand histories which are compromised – full data is only stored for hands that you contributed to. In Prima, hand history files are not available at all.
After reviewing all of the feedback we have received since the launch of our new software, and considering the ongoing debate, we have come to the conclusion that our current policy on hand histories is not right. With the best of intentions, we made a mistake, and so now we’re going to make changes.
The general principles behind these changes are that:
- Players should be able to track their own game, learn, and improve.
- We want to be more transparent, and allow players to verify that we are doing a good job of keeping the games free of cheating. (We are, but you shouldn’t have to trust us).
- We want to comply with the law around data portability.
- We wish to reduce and limit the advantage that can be gained through the use of HUDs, seat or table selection software, and real-time advisory tools which use hand history data.
1. Request Hand Histories
Players can now request a download of their hand histories. To do so, players should contact their poker room’s support team, specifying the date range for which they would like the hand history file(s). Hand histories are available from 1st January 2013 until now.
The hand history will be provided as a .DAT file (which is compatible with HEM v8465 or earlier and PT v4.14.23 or earlier), with complete information about all hands you were dealt into, whether you contributed to the pot or not.
Until we have been able to assess demand, requests are limited to one per week.
2. Hand History Files in Prima
In the future, most likely in Q4 this year, we will add support to our new software to download hand history files to your device. Currently, we plan for the download to be available after a short delay (e.g. 24 hours) to strike a balance between tracking your own results, and enabling HUDs.
Hand History files in the older ‘classic’ software will not be changed.
3. Easier Alias Changes
Currently, players on the MPN can change their poker alias every 30 days, or 1,000 hands (whichever comes soonest). At some point in the future, we will make these changes easier and more prominent.
We are keen to hear feedback on these proposals. Please feel free to leave your comments here, or contact us on Twitter @ThrillOfPoker.
Q. Are you banning HUDs?
A. At this point, no. We feel that the combination of freely-available alias changes and hand histories not being available in real time will greatly reduce the advantage of using a HUD. However, we reserve the right to change our minds and ban HUDs in the future.
Q. Will the hand history files contain all hole cards of all players?
A. No, only the hands revealed by the player (by choice, or because they reached showdown) will be visible in the hand history file.