Aria Debuts Multi Action Poker

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For years, online poker players have joked about wanting the ability to multi-table at a live casino. Joke no more, my friends, that ability is now yours. The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas launched a new form of poker Wednesday called Multi Action Poker, giving players the ability to participate in two games simultaneously.

The idea behind Multi Action Poker is to decrease the time players must wait to act, thus keeping players better engaged. Though the Aria claims it is not a live version of online poker, it almost is. Just like a player must pay attention to two simultaneous hands, sets of opponents, and chip stacks online, so must he in a Multi Action Poker game (though the opponents will be the same).

At first glance, the table layout looks very confusing, but it as odd as the concept is, it actually makes sense. There are two dealers sitting across the table from each other, each taking care of a separate hand. Everyone, dealers and players included, will be able to differentiate between the two hands based on the colors of the front and backs of the cards. At each player’s seat, there are two spaces, one marked with a blue circle and one with a red circle, on which separate chip stacks will be placed. A small wooden divider sits in between the spaces to help keep the chip stacks from intermingling. The two flops will be laid out on corresponding blue and red diamonds in the center of the table.

For the most part, other than the layout of the table, the game proceeds like any other. Players will need to work a little harder to follow the action and dealers will need to be careful to keep the cards and pots organized, but it’s still just poker. The two games at the table do not need to be the same, though; it all just depends on what the casino wants to do at any given time. The first Multi Action Poker games played at the public Wednesday night were $3/$6 and $5/$10 Fixed-Limit Hold’em, chosen because Fixed-Limit is an uncomplicated game and will be easier to run while any kinks are being worked out. Multi Action Poker is at the beginning of a 30-day trial for Nevada Gaming Control, so the Aria obviously wants to put its best foot forward.

Naturally, some questions may arise as to what happens if a player is felted in one game but not on the other. In that case, according to the rules set forth by the Aria, the player may take chips from his remaining stack to reload in the game in which he busted, provided he has at least the minimum stack in both games. If he chooses not to reload, it is up to the casino’s discretion as to whether or not he is allowed to remain at the table. If there is a waiting list for the table, chances are a player would not be permitted to sit with only one stack.

Word from players at the Aria is that Multi Action Poker is garnering solid interest during its launch night. It certainly is an interesting concept, one we will be watching closely to see how it turns out.

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