During the coronavirus pandemic, we have done almost everything from home. For many, one of those activities has been poker. Live poker rooms have only just started to reopen in the last few weeks, so even now there is not much opportunity to go play poker with other people in person. And hell, I wouldn’t want to do that right now, anyway. According to PokerStars, their Home Games offering has been booming, with more than 300,000 games setup in the past three months. This week, the poker room announced improvements to Home Games which should provide players with more flexibility, allowing more people to participate.
The new feature that will probably get the most thumbs-up is the addition of Home Game on the PokerStars mobile app. I am still a PC guy myself, but nowadays many people don’t like having to sit in front of a computer (even if it’s a laptop you can tote to the couch), so being able to play on a phone on the deck or while going for a walk is huge. Hell, even if you are still just chilling out at home, the ability to play on a small phone, always able to keep track of what’s going on in the game no matter what you need to do at home, is key.
Currently, the mobile version of Home Games is only available on Android, but it will hit iOS devices in the next few weeks.
PokerStars has also expanded the game types you can play in your Home Games. It said it has gotten rid of some of the less popular game varieties, but it has added a bunch, like 5 and 6 card Omaha, 6+ hold’em, Showtime Hold’em, Split Hold’em, Fusion, and Swap Hold’em. They are available for cash games and tournaments.
Players can even setup Knockout games with their friends.
On a more general level, PokerStars says it has made the game setup process easier. There is now more flexibility in blind level speed, too, with four speeds: Hyper (3 minute levels), Turbo (5 minutes), Regular (10 minutes), and Slow (15 minutes).
And while it might not feel necessary with people house-bound (ok, I guess places, especially the U.S. are OPEN FOR BUSINESS, even if it’s not a particularly fantastic idea), PokerStars has lengthened late registration to Home Games. It used to be 10 minutes, but now players can set it to be drawn out to six levels.
Players on both the real money and play money .NET versions of PokerStars can setup Home Games, though real money players get additional privileges. Real money players can create two Poker Clubs and join as many as ten. .NET players can create just one club and join up to three.