The game of poker just got quicker at PokerStars as the industry’s leading poker room shortened the times in which players must act in ring games.
The changes were made after a trial period that proved it beneficial to reduce the time that players are allowed to act in certain situations both pre and post-flop. The overall result is roughly 9% more hands per hour, which will benefit PokerStars’ bottom line in terms of rake collected, as well as improve the overall playing experience for a majority of players.
The changes may not be applauded by multi-tablers, who will likely have to decrease the number of tables open in order to act in the allotted time. However, that’s not the poker crowd that PokerStars caters to anymore, as the site continues trending toward making improvements geared in favor of casual or recreational players.
Recs have often complained that multi-tablers are too slow to act, disrupting the flow of the game – as well as the enjoyment of playing poker. Some poker sites that cater to the casual crowd have limited the number of tables allowed to be played simultaneously for this very reason.
New Time Settings
Under the old time settings, players not up against a raise pre-flop were permitted 18 seconds to act. That same situation will now have to be decided upon within 10 seconds.
During pre-flop and post-flop action in which players are facing a raise, 25 seconds to act was the previous time allowed. The new time allotted for making decisions in those situations is 15 seconds.
The new time settings have already been implemented at the lower stakes cash game and Zoom tables from $0.01/$0.02 to $0.10/$0.25 in the dot.com market at PokerStars. The rest of the tables will fall in line with the same time parameters on February 5.
PokerStars director of poker innovation and operation, Severin Rasset said:
We are confident that there will still be plenty of time to make key decisions while simply reducing the average time spent waiting.
Time Bank Reduction
Players pressed for time will always have a Time Bank to fall back on, but the time allowed there has also been modified. Currently, player Time Banks begin with 30 seconds on the clock and can increase up to 600 seconds.
That maximum time allowed was obviously too long, so PokerStars changed it to a start time of 15 seconds, with an increase of 5 seconds every 10 hands up to a maximum of 30 seconds pre-flop. In post-flop action, the maximum tops out at 60 seconds.
Play or Get Out
Another new change concerns the time in which players can remain at a table while “sitting out.” The old setting was 5 orbits before a player got booted off the table. The new setting is 3 orbits, which was already put in place a month ago.
Keep in mind that the reduction in time doesn’t carry over to tournaments, Sit & Gos or Spin & Gos. Only players at cash and Zoom games must adhere to the new policies.
Also, while the new times to act mentioned above refer to Texas Hold’em and all poker variants at PokerStars, there are adjustments made due to the structures of certain games. For instance, Stud games will use pre-flop time settings for third street and post-flop settings for all remaining streets. Draw games consider the first draw as pre-flop and subsequent draws as post-flop with regard to the time permitted to act.
Kudos to PokerStars for making the changes necessary to speed up the action. It’s sometimes frustrating waiting for other players to act in a reasonable amount of time to keep the game moving. Although the big time multi-tablers may not agree, the new time settings are definitely the greater good for the majority.