Full Tilt Introduces “New to the Game” Tables

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Full Tilt Poker launched an update to its software Tuesday, introducing three new features. The most significant addition is Full Tilt’s take on player segregation, but done in a much gentler manner that at competing poker sites.

Player segregation has been a disappointing trend in the online poker world lately in which different sites and networks have made a concerted effort to separate the “fish” from the “sharks.” Lock Poker, for instance, has made it No-Limit Hold’em tables at the $1/$2 stakes and higher exclusive to its own site, removed from the rest of the Revolution Gaming Network. The network will also be rolling out “Fair Play Technology” which will categorize players based on skill and in turn only allow players of the same skill level compete against each other. PartyPoker sneakily hid certain tables from skilled grinders, making them only available to new or losing players and only admitted doing so when players figured it out and made it public.

All of these moved were made to try to make the sites friendlier to the recreational, more profitable, player.

Full Tilt Poker’s strategy is a little different and not nearly as extreme. It has introduced “New to the Game” tables, designed for people who are new to poker, want to figure out a different game, or simply new to the site. Everybody, even Tom Dwan and Patrik Antonius, is initially eligible to play at these tables, but they are also completely optional. New to the Game table eligibility does not expire after a certain amount of time; players can theoretically have them available indefinitely. Once someone plays 2,000 ring game hands or 75 tournaments at these beginner tables, however, they will not be able to return to them and will have to play at the regular tables.

Interestingly, though, the ring game hand and tournament counters are separate, so if someone graduates to the regular cash tables after playing 2,000 New to the Game ring game hands, they are still eligible for the New to the Game tournaments until they play 75 of those. Similarly, there are separate ring game counters for different games. One could be required to play at the normal Hold’em tables but still be eligible to play at the New to the Game Omaha tables.

There are several differences between the New to the Game tables and standard tables:

•    Gameplay is slower, players are given more time to act, and the showdown is displayed longer so as to allow players more time to read the winning hand.
•    Current hand strength is displayed above the betting area.
•    Players may only have a maximum of two New to the Game tables open simultaneously.
•    More tooltips are shown at the tables.

New to the Game tables can be found up to $10 buy-ins for No-Limit and Pot-Limit cash games, up to $0.10/$0.10 for Fixed-Limit games, and up to $2.25 for single-table Sit-and-Go tournaments.

The other new features are fairly minor: the cards used to make the winning hand will be highlighted at showdown in Hold’em and Omaha Hi games and random seat re-draws will occur at the start of the final table in Multi-Table Tournaments.

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