PokerStars Experimenting With Shorter Time to Act in Cash Games
One of the most frustrating aspects of…well, we’ll just let PokerStars Ring Games Manager Dan Price explain:
One of the most frustrating aspects of playing cash games can be making a disciplined fold and then having to wait for your opposition to play out a painfully slow hand before you get to make your next decision. Unsurprisingly one of the most common complaints we receive is about opponents taking forever over the simplest decisions… even going into their time-bank just to fold pre-flop!
To that point, PokerStars decided to try a little something starting July 31st at the micro-stakes cash game tables. In order to speed up the games, the world’s largest online poker room is reducing the amount of time players have to act.
For now, only at the $0.01/$0.02 No-Limiti Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha ring games, the following Time to Act changes are being made:
Pre-flop when not facing a raise, the Time to Act is being cut by 33 percent, from 18 seconds to 12 seconds. Pre-flop when facing a raise and in all post-flop actions, the Time to Act is going down 40 percent, from 25 seconds to 15 seconds.
PokerStars believes this is still plenty of time for people to make the more difficult decisions while at the same time cutting a lot of the stalling that we often see.
No other tables will be affected other than the ones mentioned above. All Zoom Poker games and tournaments will remain the same, as well, during this trial run. Additionally, all time bank settings will remain intact. Everyone gets 30 seconds to start and receives an additional 10 seconds for every 50 hands played, up to a max of 600 seconds.
“We will monitor the impact that these changes have on the games and will, as always, listen closely to the feedback of our players,” Smith wrote on the PokerStars blog. “We seek to keep our games fun, exciting and engaging for all players but appreciate that there may be some players who are upset with the new pace of the game. However, we are confident that this is a big step in the right direction for the vast majority of players.”
It will be interesting to see if there really are any noticeable changes as a result of the reduced Time to Act. Certainly, the total time per hand will decline. After all, not everybody acts instantly every decision (nor should they). But as a former micro and low stakes player myself, I would be slightly surprised if stalling, tanking, and just generally slow acting is that much of a problem. Players at $0.01/$0.02 are generally not too into multi-tabling, nor do many put excessive thought into their decisions.
Then again, PokerStars knows a hell of a lot more than I do when it comes to their player base. I wouldn’t expect such changes to trial in high stakes games, but PokerStars will know what their analyzing. If I were a betting man (ha!), I’d say as long as nothing goes drastically wrong with the experiment, it will likely spread to the rest of the cash game tables.
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