Third Party Tools and Services FAQ
As online poker has grown in popularity, people have developed tools and web-based services to help them play better online. We think it is okay for players to use some of these tools and services. However, we think that some go beyond what we consider acceptable as an aid to playing online.
There are many things that a player can do to improve their chances in a poker game. For instance, they can play a lot and gain experience, or they can read a book about poker. Both of these techniques are clearly appropriate. At the other end of the spectrum, they can work in collusion with a partner, sharing information about hole cards and teaming up against other players. This is clearly cheating.
In between those two extremes are many tools - some of which we consider to be too close to cheating. For example, there are people building huge databases with profiles of every player on PokerStars, and they are selling access to these databases. A player with access to such a database can call up detailed information about every one of his opponents without ever playing against those opponents himself. We believe this gives that player an unfair advantage against others at his table.
Obviously, knowledgeable people will disagree over what is appropriate and what is not. We have developed what we consider to be a reasonable compromise between letting players take every possible fair advantage, and prohibiting the unfair ones.
We have received emails on this subject from many players. Some want to use these tools or services and are asking if they're okay. Other players are concerned that their opponents are using them. We needed to establish a policy so we could draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable tools and services. We made this decision only after thorough discussion within PokerStars and with poker experts outside PokerStars, including our team of professionals.
The following types of tools and services are generally acceptable:
- Tools and services that simply report basic game state information, such as pot odds or absolute hand strength.
- Tools and services that are static reference material and basic in nature, such as a single table-based starting hand chart.
- Tools and services that monitor and display numerical based statistics in-game, but make use of only information which you have accumulated through your own play.
- Macros and Hotkey programs that don’t have any bearing on gameplay logic. For example, you can use AutoHotKey, MacroExpress or AutoIt3 to make it such that you ‘bet the pot’ when you press the 'P' key, but you cannot use these or other utilities to create an autofolder that folds poor starting hands, or that automates advice or actions from any other tool or service.
Consider this: you are playing at a six-person table and the other five players at that table are using a shared database program. After each hand, they are able to see what cards every other player (except you) had. Do you want to play at that table?
The following are examples of tools and services which are permitted:
NOTE: PokerStars does not make any guarantees regarding the functionality, reliability, or safety of any of these tools or services.
|FreePokerDB (aka FPDB)||Gam Poker Analyzer||Hand2Note|
|Holdem Indicator||Hold’em Manager 2||Hold’em Profiler|
|Official Poker Rankings||Omaha Indicator||OpenTool|
|Poker Indicator||Poker Office||Poker Pro Labs|
|PokerTracker 4||PS Hand Watcher||PS Last Hand|
|PS Mate||PS Never SitOut||PS Play ByVoice|
|PS Wins Viewer||RankExplorer||Selektor|
|SessionLord Multitabling||SharkScope||SimplePostflop †|
|SitnGo Wizard (version 188.8.131.52 and newer) †||SmartBuddy||SpinWiz (version 3.0.5 and newer)|
|Table of Interest||TableDroid||TableScan Turbo|
|Tournament Indicator||Turbo SeatIN||Unfold Poker|
|Universal Poker Table Organizer||Xeester|
^ Denotes tool is compatible with Mac OS X only
† Denotes tool offers a limited subset of features when the PokerStars client is open, in order to comply with our policy
The following types of tools and services are prohibited:
- Any tool or service that shares hole card data with other players or services is colluding, and is prohibited.‡
- Any tool or service that works off of a central database of player profiles, hands played or private results is prohibited.
- Any tool or service that plays without human intervention (a ‘bot’) or reduces the requirement of a human playing. For instance, an ‘auto-folder’ is prohibited.
- The practice of datamining (observing games without playing in order to build up a database of hand histories for future reference) is prohibited.
- Any tool or service that offers real-time commentary or advice on the current game state that goes beyond reporting data and statistics.
- Any tool or service that is targeted towards the manipulation of opponents in games in which you are unable to choose a specific table to play on, such as Spin & Go’s
‡ Hosting live streams on Twitch and other similar services is not considered as sharing hole card data.
The following are examples of tools and services which are prohibited at all times:
|Advanced Poker Calculator||CardAnalyzer||Frogbot|
|hhSmithy||Hold'em Watcher||Holdem Hawk|
|Holdem Inspector a.k.a. Online Holdem Inspector||Holdem Pirate||Holdem Spy|
|Holdem Tournament Raider||ICM-Bot||iHH Harvester|
|Online Omaha High Inspector||Online Poker Bot||Online Tournament Inspector|
|Open Holdem Bot||OPI Wizard||Paragon Poker Pal|
|Poker Android||Poker Bloodhound||Poker Bot+|
|Poker Crusher||Poker Edge||Poker Inspector a.k.a. Online Poker Inspector|
|Poker Mate||Poker Prophecy||Poker Sherlock|
|Poker Sidekick||Poker Table Manager||Poker Usher|
|POKERobot||Preflop Autofolder||Preflop Poker Bot|
|Shanky Bot||SharkMate||Sit And Go Shark|
|Sit n' Go Brain||Sixth Sense||SmartCollector a.k.a. Mixed Harvesters|
|SpadeEye||Stars Hand History (SHH)||SpinWiz (version 3.0.4 and older)|
|Table Ratings aka Poker Table Ratings||Texas Auto Fold||WarBot|
There are some tools and services which have legitimate uses for analysing your game, but which are not appropriate for use during play. Typically, these tools fall under the following categories:
- Any tool or reference material that offers commentary or advice that goes beyond a basic level, such as a collection of individual stack-size-based starting hand tables, decision trees or heads-up displays that dynamically change based on actions, card values or player tendencies.
- Any tool or service that computes advanced equity calculations, such as range vs range simulators, ICM or Nash Equilibrium-based programs.
The following are examples of tools and services which are prohibited while PokerStars is running:
|ALL IN Expert||ChartManager||CoffeeCalcs|
|HoldemResources Calculator||Holy Grail of Poker||ICMIZER|
|Jennifear||Limit Hold’em Pre-flop Hand Advisor by Intellipoker||OmahaChecker|
|Poker Hole Cards||PokerJuice||PokerRanger|
|PokerStove||PokerStrategy ICM Trainer||PokerStrategy’s Equilab|
|PreflopSSS||ProPokerTool’s Odds Oracle||Poker Push Bot|
|PushPot||RangeEdge||SAGE Decision Calculator|
|Short Stacking Strategy Calculator||SimpleNash||Sit n’ Go End Game Tools|
|SitnGo Wizard (v184.108.40.206 and older)**||SNG Power Tools||SNG Solver|
|Spade ICM||STT Analyzer by PokerSoftware Tools||Texas Calculatem|
* PH Stars (a compliant version of Insight Poker Hound) is permitted
** SitnGo Wizard version 220.127.116.11 and later is permitted
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with all the information you have about the tool or service in question. Please include a URL to a relevant web page if possible. We will review the tool or service and let you know if it's permitted or not.
Yes. In addition to evaluating new tools and services that come to our attention, PokerStars frequently re-examines those already on the permitted and prohibited lists to ensure they continue to fall within our terms of service. In addition, the terms of service themselves and the definition of a prohibited tool or service are periodically re-examined and are subject to change without notice. These re-examinations can result in a tool or service being reclassified without notice, moving from the permitted list to the prohibited list or vice-versa. PokerStars assumes no responsibility to notify players of any such reclassifications. Players should regularly check the lists of tools and services to verify the current status of any item's classification.
PokerStars does not actively endorse or support any tool or service on the permitted list, nor do we make any guarantees regarding the functionality, reliability, or safety of any service whatsoever.
No. You may only collect hand histories and player information from hands in which you are a participant.
Absolutely not. Our sole interest is in protecting our players and our site from tools and services that we believe are bad for the integrity and fairness of our games.
PokerStars believes that it is best to take action against these services at the root. Consequently, we are continually improving our software to stop the datamining of our games. In addition, PokerStars reserves the right to take legal action as it deems fit against those services that maliciously and repeatedly breach our Terms of Service.
PokerStars may, at our discretion, prevent the PokerStars client program from running on your machine, or require players to upgrade the client program. However, it is not possible for PokerStars staff to remotely modify any file on your computer, or send any file to your machine.
While we reserve the right to confiscate the funds of somebody running a prohibited tool or service, we are not going to do this lightly. Our goal is to educate via warning players who are found to be using prohibited software that is publicly available for download. However, we will confiscate funds if a player shows a pattern of using prohibited tools and services after being warned, or if a player attempts to bypass our detection measures, or if a player is found to be privately developing or using privately developed software which violates our policies.
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Frequently asked questions and answers about playing poker at PokerStars.
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