Throughout our 20-year history, PokerStars has always believed that offering our players a safe and fair game is the single most important thing we can do. This comes in many forms:
We know some players will try to cheat. That is why PokerStars has a dedicated Game Integrity Team. We have approximately 50 dedicated experts, programmers, analysts and ex-pro poker players who work solely to detect, prevent, and rectify foul play, and keep our tables safe. We also employ developers who ensure we always have the latest tools and systems to keep cheats off our tables.
PokerStars’ goal is simple:
Offer players the safest place to play online poker
We have been developing and improving our tools and detection capabilities for the past 20 years. This dedication is a substantial investment, but it is one that we believe is imperative to give our players the confidence that they are well protected and playing on the safest site.
What we do
We collect a variety of information when you play on PokerStars to ensure we can effectively detect cheating. This is broken down as behavioural, technical, software, and gameplay data.
Behavioural data is how you interact with our client, such as how long it takes for you to make each decision, and whether you use a mouse or touchscreen to play.
Technical data is recording things like your IP address and a unique identifier for your computer or device.
For software data, we record some basic information on what software is running concurrently when the PokerStars software is open. For example, whether you have Chrome or Internet Explorer running.
We also monitor your system in ways that we do not publicly reveal, as doing so would only aid those seeking to evade our detection.
Finally, we have access to all 235 billion hands (and counting) played on our site which we use to analyse gameplay. This is a vital part of any review.
Using this information, we flag accounts for specialised staff to review and thoroughly investigate.
Real Time Assistance
We have been investigating collusion, multi-accounting and bot use for a very long time. However, RTA has been the topic of increased discussion lately but may not be a term that everyone is familiar with. It stands for ‘Real Time Assistance’. This is when a player gets help from a tool or program which tells them how to play and what action to take. We define this as being a form of bot use, and such assistance is strictly prohibited on PokerStars. Whilst this issue has been rising in prominence in the last few years, we have been aware of the tools for a much longer time, and we have taken steps to ensure we have market leading RTA detection. We developed our own platform which measures a player’s level and accuracy of play based on our own models. This allows us to identify who might be using RTA. We can then conduct the detailed reviews as necessary. We have already been using this system for several years to good effect alongside and as an enhancement to the other bot detection methods we have been using for decades.
When we confirm that Terms of Service violations have occurred, we make sure that victims are properly reimbursed.
What we don’t do
We do not, and never have, had any means to capture what is on your screen. To do so would be a serious breach of privacy, and we recognise that we must balance invasive detection with what is both morally and legally permissible.
When reviewing players, we do sometimes ask them to record themselves playing and to send it to us as part of our review process. We also do not arbitrarily or lightly confiscate funds when we suspect wrongdoing. Any confiscation we undertake must hold up to the standard of both the applicable regulator and local laws. In all cases, these requirements are strict. Whilst this may mean some players who we suspect of cheating cannot have their funds confiscated, we can of course remove these players from our site. However, it is absolutely vital that we never take player funds unjustifiably.
We also ensure that we never profit from player confiscations and all such funds are redistributed, with money added where necessary.
Our continuing mission
PokerStars, and parent company Flutter, are heavily licensed and subject to many regulator audits and compliance checks. It is important for our business that we hold ourselves to the highest standards in this area.
We have been dealing with these issues for more than 20 years. We haven’t always got it right as quickly as we’d like, and whilst we are proud of our history and continued efforts, we are always conscious that there are people who are trying to evade our detection methods and cheat their fellow players. Our goal is always to catch them as quickly as possible and deter them from returning. We want them to know that sooner or later they will get caught. That is why the Game Integrity Team and the service we provide continues to be a core part of our offering.
You can learn more about our commitment to these issues and see additional information on our processes and methods HERE.