PokerStars continues to refine their product to match the needs of the recreational player, this time introducing table caps on ring games in a bid to increase the speed of gameplay.
There was no warning. The crackling clouds of change enveloped our existence, and before you knew it, our once fertile land became radioactive. The alchemy of transformation melted machines that once printed money. We could stay and die or find newer lands.
There was no warning.
That’s one way of looking at PokerStars’ recent decision to cap the limit of multi-tabling in ring games at four. The changes came into force on Tuesday 20 August, and the drop was precipitous with the previous cap, 24.
The decision, albeit, on the back of a seemingly successful trial in the Italian market (table cap = 6), would have felt like a lightning strike to some, but this has been a storm long in the making.
Marketers have no choice but to choose an audience, and online poker rooms are marketers. Services and products evoke change. When selecting an audience, the first question seeping out of consciousness must be – who do we want to change?
PokerStars, megaphone fixed to lips, has been screaming a consistent tale that an ecosystem that enables recreational players to thrive, have fun, and with stickability, is the future.
It doesn’t matter how many ways you cut it, the presence of a professional poker player flies in the face of the change that PokerStars wants to make.
And it’s not only PokerStars.
According to a recent article in PokerFuse, 888Poker has a six-table cap, Unibet restricts multi-tabling to eight tables at low stakes and ten at higher stakes. Run It Once Poker has a table cap of six.
It’s is not a change without warning. PokerStars is the home of recreational players, and if you don’t like it, then take your business elsewhere.
The word on ‘PokerStars Street’ is mass multi-tabling slows the game down. Data analysis shows that under normal circumstances, people who play across multiple tables make their decisions as quick, if not quicker, than people who play a few tables. However, crucial decisions take longer and then the rabbits start thumping their back legs, while feverishly munching on carrots.
Severin Rassett, Director Poker Innovations and Operations for PokerStars, believes that multi-tablers will benefit by focusing more on fewer tables and winning more money at those tables.
Phil Galfond, who is in favour of table caps, pointed out on Twitter, that the recent changes will drive professional poker players to the Zoom tables. It’s is a vital foresight, because Zoom tables remain unaffected by the changes. However, the games are more challenging to beat that ring games, and they have a higher rake efficiency.
In Galfond’s words:
“What’s rake efficiency? It’s the percentage of losing players’ net losses that ends up in the hands of Stars instead of the winning players. This means a poker site makes more $ (but bleeds the ecosystem faster) when more ppl play Zoom. Again, this is not bc hands are played faster, which also helps.
“Now more players will play Zoom, the most profitable cash game type for PokerStars, & it’s simultaneously made more profitable for them. They’ll capture a much larger share of the rake in the short-term at the cost of a long-term hit to the ecosystem. I hope I am wrong.”
Galfond wasn’t the only competitor to voice his opinion. In response to Galfond’s claims, Rob Yong, the mastermind behind partypoker, supported the decision by Stars, despite being unsure how the change ‘will pan out.’
“We understand that this change will have a very real impact on many players, particularly those of you who rely on multi-tabling as professionals,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director & Commercial Officer of Poker, in a PokerStarsBlog post. “We haven’t taken this decision lightly, and we are confident this is the right thing to do for the future of the game.”
There are no surprises anymore.
PokerStars story is consistent.
People like us do things like this.
People like us are recreational poker players.