PokerStars Shared Liquidity Network in Europe to Use “Seat Me”

This was published 23-01-2018

PokerStars will be using a shared European liquidity network soon that will not allow players to table select.

Online poker traditionally allows players to browse through a selection of available tables and then choose the seats they liked best.  However, with the “Seat Me” system, players get to choose a game and a stake while the system selects a seat for them, which is similar to the way seating works in most live poker rooms.

Severin Rasset, the Director of Innovation and Poker Operations at PokerStars, commented that they have achieved most of their initial goals with “Seat Me”.   Rasset went on to say that this will greatly reduce players’ ability to hunt specific opponents, completely preventing the use of seating scripts and creating an environment where recreational players play more hands.

There are a number of challenges that come with a shared liquidity network that include regulatory hoops to jump through in two different jurisdictions, which make it quite difficult if the two areas are not on the same page in terms of regulations.  The rollout of the actual product presents choices due to the fact that the operator cannot always simply copy and paste an old product into a new market.

Spain has, in this case, been the test market for “Seat Me”.

According to PokerStars, the system was meant to “improve the overall experience” of players.  They explicitly announced that they were endeavouring to reduce the ability to “bumhunt” or allow strong players to look out for weaker ones.  The new system aimed at seating scripts allowing players to instantly sit whenever a profitable seat opened and data mining, where players could collect data on opponents’ play styles without actually playing with them.

Unfortunately, the system effectively blocked players from “railbirding” on the high stakes tables which have been a vast part of online poker since its inception at most sites.  The industry has, however, been changing.

A year after the implementation of Seat Me, PokerStars had a decision to make with the coming shared liquidity network between Spain and France and eventually Italy and Portugal.  They could go with traditional online poker seating or Seat Me out of the Spain test market.

PokerStars has seen enough of a positive result from the system and intends implementing it to a wider customer base.


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