Why HSDB Stopped Tracking Online Cash Games

HighStakesDB has been the go-to database for a decade of highstakes online cash game results – from the days of Full Tilt Poker and its remarkable battles that had poker players the world over enthralled – but the question that has been asked a lot lately is why has the tracking stopped – and what happens next?

By: Andrew Burnett

The decision to temporarily end tracking mainly comes down to two huge decisions made by the biggest sites in the game: PokerStars summarily ending the SuperNovaElite programme; and partypoker taking over second spot in the market and choosing to protect player identities.

Starting with PokerStars, the controversy generated by their decision to end the SuperNova and SuperNovaElite status mid-season left a sour taste in a huge number of poker players’ mouths.

Boycotts and bad press naturally followed, and some companies and many players decided that they simply couldn’t – and wouldn’t – promote or play on a site that treats its paying customers so badly.

With the database compiled of more than half Stars results, that naturally proved problematic, especially since Full Tilt – which accounted for the remainder of the data - had ceased to be.

Making tough calls is what poker is partly about, though, so the decision was taken to discontinue PokerStars tracking, but leave the historic data alone.

That goes for the old Full Tilt results as well, battles between the likes of Patrik Antonius and Viktor Isildur Blom, for example, or Phil Ivey’s incredible winning graph, deserving of preservation.

In the meantime, partypoker had vaulted to second spot in the market, with a liquidity and status worthy of being tracked, but rules and regulations that simply wouldn’t allow it.

The reasons behind partypoker’s resolution to ban hand history data collection were well-discussed and openly debated. The difference from PokerStars being, players weren’t hoodwinked halfway through, nor did they have legitimate earnings stolen from them.

Anyway, we are where we are, which many believe is a shame for HSDB after more than a decade of keeping poker players updated with the highs and lows of online poker.

However, with the emergence of sites like HighStakes – where Luke Schwartz, Joseph Cheong and others are regularly doing battle at the highest stakes – there is every chance that tracking will resume, HSDB currently working with a few sites to explore that possibility.

In the meantime, HSDB still has one of the widest news and features offerings of any online poker site, which coupled with the historic poker angle should hopefully keep you happy for now.


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