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Bizarre hand at Carbon Poker leads to doubt about PokerTableRatings and Poker-Edge

A hand was posted in the Carbon Poker sub-forum at 2+2 that showed two different hands where the final pot ended up going to the wrong player.  Both of these hands were from 1 player, and appeared to be played just recently.  This led to a lot of questions and some worry from players that Carbon Poker might have some kind of glitch, especially considering that both PokerTableRatings.com and Poker-Edge.com both reported the exact same hand happening the exact same way.

These worries were put to bed pretty fast by CarbonRyan though as he posted the actual hand history of how it went down. Needless to say that it was vastly different than the one reported by PTR and PE, and then that is when the real questions started to creep into people’s mind.  Since it appeared that Carbon Poker had the correct hand history, why did both 3rd party website have the same mistake?  How could both of these sites that seemed like competitors actually have the same Hand History?  Why were both of the sites wrong in the same way?

Well, things became a little bit clearer when “obviously.bogus” posted his attempt to contact both of the servers, and found out that both Poker-Edge and PokerTableRatings are housed at the same data center in Austin, Texas.  This is exceptionally curious, because normally you would not figure that two competitors would be housed at the same data center, further, with the same mistaken hand history it raises even more questions about how separate both of those companies actually are.

So I decided to look at the results for my Aced Poker screen name (I never use it (another Merge Gaming skin)) on both sites to see if they are different.  What I found was that each had tracked 1,325 of my hands and had me winning the same amount (well, losing) over that same number of hands.  This wouldn’t be as weird if they had not only tracked about 65% of my total hands played.  If they were completely independent, they wouldn’t have the exact same hands for me, especially at such a random amount of my total hands played.  (SN is xblindxpandax for anyone that would like to confirm).

These odd coincidences definitely call into question if they are two different companies or not.  The other major thing that this uncovers is that these sites don’t track all the hands, which we knew, but they also are getting the pot winners incorrect on hands these do track and further are getting the actions wrong.  This is important, because while we know that these sites are against the terms and conditions, many people still use them.  Now, it appears that even if you break the rules and use these sites you might be getting wrong information that could completely change how you would play a hand.  The example from the posted hand is that PT4 or HEM2 which makes automatic notes for you would tell you that this player will get 4 bets in on the river with 2nd pair, which isn’t actually true, at all.

The other implication for this is that if you back a player, you need to question if you really want to use PTR as a source for results.  If pots are being awarded to the wrong player than profit graphs are going to potentially be very wrong.  This means that any information you are going to gain from looking at these sites is tainted in the biggest way.  Keep all this in mind if you decide to break the terms and conditions of a site by buying these HH’s.

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Andrew Schupick

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