Late last week, professional poker player Phil Galfond posted another update as to the progress of his upcoming real money online poker room, Run It Once. This time, the main topic was table caps, that is, the maximum number of tables a player is allowed to have open and active at once.
It seems like a pretty basic decision – most online poker rooms allow either unlimited multi-tabling or permit a large, but limited number of open tables – but Galfond is debating between permitting players to have only four or six tables active at once. He explains:
The primary purpose of a table cap is to improve average game quality. More often than not, those who play 8-24 tables are professionals, and those who play one table are more likely non-pros, which means that the ratio of pros to recreational players at each table is much greater than the ratio of pro to recreational active accounts.
The fewer tables each pro can play, the fewer seats per table will be occupied by pros, and this will positively affect win and loss rates for everyone.
Many of the decisions Galfond and his team have made have been to make the poker experience as fun as possible for recreational players, and this is no different. He also believes a low table cap can help deter bots, as botters usually need to have loads of tables going simultaneously to be profitable.
Galfond admits, though, that having a low table cap will result in less rake to Run It Once in the short-term. The benefits, though, should be seen long-term as players are happier with the site.
His summary of the benefits of the two different cap sizes are as follows:
• Increases the average game quality
• Slightly more of a bot deterrent
• Increases liquidity at launch – more tables will run.
• Increases short-term revenue for Run It Once, which means a higher chance of success and a larger marketing/acquisition/development budget.
• (Obvious but still worth mentioning…) Players who want to six-table are happy.
Galfond says his preference is a four table cap. That said, in an interesting move, he is leaving the decision up to the players. Run It Once has a page that registered players can go to in order to vote on which option they like best (it is free to register and anyone is permitted to sign up, even if they can’t play on the site). Whichever option gets the most votes is what Run It Once will use.
Galfond is also accepting feedback on design options. On the blog post, he showed possibilities for table backgrounds, card fronts, card backs, and player marking colors. He said that Run It Once will eventually give players the option to change all of these things to suit their own preferences, but as that is a low-priority task for the development team, there is a good chance that Run It Once will launch with just stock graphics. Thus, Galfond wants players to have input on what they will be staring at for a while.