Staying true to its goal of creating safer online tables, enhancing player experience and maintaining game sustainability, PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker site is planning to limit multi-tabling for its Italian operations. This comes after the successful trial introduction of the Seat Me system in Spain, Portugal and France.
Seat Me is aimed at protecting cash game tables through automatic seating, where players are prohibited to choose their opponents or tables, though they can still choose their stakes and game preference. It also eliminates third-party software programs like seating scripts which are used to optimize the table selection process and increase a player’s success rate. The system, PokerStars noted mimics the live poker room seating scenario, where players cannot choose their tables or opponents.
Seat Me and Multi-Table Limit to Trial in Italy
Seat Me will also be trialed in Italy along with the new multi-table limit feature. If the test runs smoothly, the system will be rolled out on the main PokerStars (PokerStars.com) website later this year.
The Director of Poker Innovation and Operation at Stars Group Severin Rasset has high hopes for the new multi-table limit which aims to enhance the customers’ overall poker experience. The testing will start from July 17. There are no changes yet to current table caps for Zoom and other games.
Background and Expectations
The online poker giant has revealed that most of the complaints registered on their website are about multi-tablers taking too long to act, affecting other players and delaying games. This usually happens when players play multiple tables at a time. While they generally act fast, they slow down action on one table when making an important decision. As a result, the acting speed at other tables suffers. It can be frustrating especially for those playing only one table as it creates a drag on the game.
Under the new plan, players are only allowed to have a maximum of six game tables at a time. According to PokerStars, the change will affect only a slight number of players as the huge majority (99.7%) are already playing six tables or fewer at one time.
As the table limitation trial runs in Italy, Stars Group the parent company of PokerStars will collect data and compare existing information with regards to average acting time. They will not only look at the acting speed of multi-tablers, but they also hope to get feedback from players to determine it the new table limit positively impacts player experience and the games as a whole.
Stars Group expects the six-table limitation will avoid long delays and enable players to gain more winnings as they focus and concentrate more on fewer tables.
Concerns from the Poker Community
Stars Group has admitted not everyone will be happy about this radical change. Pro players would argue that the new limit will seriously affect those who turn to multi-tabling to make money. Not long ago, the traditional VIP program was removed, completely taking away the Supernova/Supernova Elite benefits. PokerStars has made rewards more accessible to the bigger portion of its customers, moving away from milestone rewards that benefit high-volume players.
PokerStars also applied changes to its loyalty program last year. Under the new Star Rewards loyalty scheme, the players’ overall net deposits, stakes played and frequency of play are examined.
The full-time grinders are most affected and it seems that changes introduced by PokerStars are putting pro players at a disadvantage, making it harder for them to maintain their careers and move up the ranks.
PokerStars Will Focus On Sustainable Games
PokerStars’ likely defense would be that the online poker ecosystem is continuously evolving and this requires them to focus more on the vast majority of its customers – the amateur and recreational players.
Addressing concerns, Rasset said they cannot always please everyone but they are sticking to their main goal as a team – and that is to create games that are sustainable as possible.
It’s too early to tell whether the new innovation will give the desired positive results but if indeed it proves successful, the global online poker community can expect to log-in and play with the Seat Me and multi-table limit in place by the end of this year. The company hopes multi-tablers will stay and adapt to the change for a more fun, enjoyable and fast online poker.