PTR is an online poker data mining website that datamines poker player statistics, by screen-scraping tables in observer mode (fast fold poker cannot be mined).
Using a site like PTR controversially allows players to access key statistics of their opponents, such as:
PTR also offers Players Search, Buddy List, and Table Finder options. Combined, these stats can help provide an edge against opponents even without previous playing history together.
In April of 2012, PTR removed PokerStars from their tracking site after a cease and desist order was issued by PokerStars. At the time PokerStars believed PTR was creating an “unpleasant environment” for players, possibly by giving pro’s more of an advantage over the casual player.
The exact reason the two parties have decided to work together again is unclear. However, both companies are recently under new ownership and are moving forward together. This move is a benefit to grinding regs, and at least clarifies that management doesn't consider accessing sites that track PokerStars to be cheating as long as their services are open to all.
One advantage of PTR is it can assist in detecting collusion in the games and other cheating. Some recreationals also enjoyed the achievements aspect of PTR, which allowed for players to display a 'top hat' and other badges on their profile.
Unlike previously, PTR now no longer offers 10 free searches per day, instead requiring payment - this should help to limit its use to berate 'fish' in the chatbox at tables.
Shortly after PokerTableRatings was initially ordered to desist by PokerStars, a secretive 'Russian PTR' emerged on domain http://whotfru.info, providing the same statistics on an invite-only basis. This created an unfair advantage for a small number of regs.
PTR being open to all - for a small fee - is debatably a better situation than WhoTFRU being reserved for cliques of winning regs or those who pay large sums for the information.
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