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Poker news | Jan 03, 2020

The Death of High Stakes Online Poker Tracking

By RTR Dennis

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The high stakes scene was once one of the most-prominent aspects of online poker. Famed pros like Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, and Viktor Blom would do battle on the cyber felts on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, hundreds of players would railbird these games and discuss them afterward.

Tracking sites (e.g. HighStakesDB) emerged from this period of high stakes bliss. They began monitoring the results of prominent pros in an effort to determine the big winners and losers. You could visit such a site and quickly pull out a graph of a notable player to see their results.

However, these days now appear to have come to a close. HighStakesDB was the last site to track the online nosebleeds, but they’ve announced that they’ll no longer be doing so.

Why doesn’t anybody want to document the results of the biggest internet games anymore? You can read about the primary reasons why below.

Some Sites Are Using Anonymous Tables

A database can’t track high stakes results when the players in question have anonymous screen names. More and more online poker rooms are beginning to roll out these tables as well.

Partypoker, which now draws the second-most cash game traffic, has recently brought the anonymous feature to their high stakes tables. Therefore, tracking sites can’t document results at what’s the second-biggest internet poker room.

PokerStars is currently developing their own version of “stealth mode” tables. They’ll soon test their anonymous tables and consider using them across the board.

Stars still draws the most cash game traffic in the world. Assuming everything goes according to plan, nobody will be able to track results at the two largest poker sites.

PokerStars Evoked Hostility from Prominent Pros

Another reason why HighStakesDB has soured on tracking the nosebleeds involves some of PokerStars’ latest moves. Stars infamously disbanded their SuperNova Elite VIP level in 2017.

Naturally, the highest-volume players were angered over this decision. Many elite pros boycotted PokerStars as a result of their rewards being significantly reduced. Tracking sites joined in this boycott by choosing not to promote Stars as heavily.

The outrage wasn’t so much that PokerStars decided to get rid of their highest VIP tier. It was more about how Stars chose to go about it.

They decided not to honor their commitment and deliver Supernova Elite awards to those who’d earned them for the following year. The world’s largest poker site used loopholes in their terms and conditions to get out of paying up on rewards.

High Stakes Aren’t as High These Days

Part of what made high stakes online poker so special in the past were the limits being played. Antonius, Dwan, Ivey, and others would regularly battle in $500/$1,000 NL games and above.

No poker site features tables this big anymore. A few years ago, the industry collectively decidedly that it wasn’t even worth the effort to offer such limits in their lobbies anymore.

You can still find some $50/$100 NL games going on at the largest poker sites. However, you’re likely never going to see $500/$1,000 tables online again.

Old Results Will Still Live On

New high stakes results aren’t going to be tracked. Therefore, you won’t be able to find out who’s crushing the biggest internet games these days.

The only solace is that you will be able to check out old results. You might find this worthwhile for nostalgia purposes and/or out of curiosity regarding a player’s career.

Full Tilt Poker was once the key spot for big online games. Full Tilt has very little high stakes action these days. However, you can still see how players used to fare in the biggest games there. You can also look up old results involving PokerStars.