A common complaint among recreational online poker players is being preyed upon by pros that seek them out and sit at their tables. That practice of “bumhunting” is eliminated with a “Seat Me” automated seating system that places players at tables according to their desired stake levels and table size.
To level the playing field for its customers, PokerStars has rolled out Seat Me at its poker sites operating in France, Spain and Portugal. Next in line for an automatic seating trial balloon is Italy. If success follows as it has in the initial regions thus far, players at the world’s leading site of PokerStars.com can expect to transition to the Seat Me system as well.
Seat Me isn’t an original concept by PokerStars, as players at US-friendly PaiWangLuo Network sites such as Ignition Poker and Bovada are quite familiar with the process. The system has been in place for more than a year and is referred to as “Quick Seat” at the PaiWangLuo sites.
The Seat Me process is much more akin to the way players are seated in casino poker rooms where placement at the next available seat is the norm and players are generally not allowed to select their choice of tables or opponents. It’s in the best interest of players for poker sites to mimic the live poker experience as much as possible and to forbid the more skilled players from taking advantage of weaker ones.
Of course, players who make their living by selecting tables where the “fish” are plentiful are none too pleased with Seat Me and Quick Seat systems. However, such predatory behavior tends to drive away amateur players. The “sharks” will have no fish to feast on at all if the playing field isn’t made more fair and equitable.
Limits on Multi-Tabling
Another attempt to cater to casual online poker players begins at PokerStars.it this week when the number of cash game tables that players will be allowed to play simultaneously will be limited to six. The idea is to speed up play and keep the games moving, which can’t always be done when some players are juggling a dozen or more tables at a time.
Player complaints that some were taking entirely too long to make decisions and act were heard loud and clear by PokerStars’ brass, necessitating the restriction on multi-tabling. Analysis and player feedback from the Italy site will determine whether to expand the limitations to PokerStars.com.
Been There, Done That
As with the Seat Me system, a restriction on multi-tabling is nothing new and has long been the norm at Bovada and Ignition Poker. A maximum of four tables is permitted at those poker rooms, whether the tables are cash games, tournaments, or a combination of the two.
While table limits speed up the action, another purpose is served at poker sites that favor recreational players. Many pro players multi-table to maximize bonuses available in player loyalty programs. By restricting tables, it tends to drive pros away in search of poker rooms that allow and encourage multi-tabling.
Finding a proper balance of players that run the gamut of all skill levels is a difficult task for any poker site to accomplish. However, making the game fun and fast, while at the same time eliminating or reducing predatory behavior, is a win-win for all.