The fight over online poker player data took a legal turn for the first time on April 16 with popular online poker room PokerStars threatening to take data-mining website Poker Table Ratings (PTR) to the court. The threat, cited as not just an “idle” one, forced the PTR’s website to go offline temporarily, before it agreed to remove all PokerStars player profiles from its data service.
PokerStars, with its Cease and Desist letters to PTR, indicated that it did not approve the selling of statistical data on individual online poker players by PTR. Database applications like that of PTR allows opponents to search for a player’s name and their win or loss rate. It also provides information, for a fee, the playing style of poker players with graphs of lifetime winnings. They also sell hand histories to players in million-hand bulk purchases.
Now, with PokerStars inferring that it has “assembled a team of lawyers in multiple jurisdictions to follow up,” as quoted by the head of the online poker room’s home games Lee Jones, it’s a fair indication that online poker rooms are thinking seriously of policing their online poker rooms.