In what seems to be a never-ending effort in the poker industry to speed up the games, PokerStars announced last week that it will be conducting a trial of some new “time to act” settings at its cash game tables. Announced in a post on the corporate blog, the goal of the new settings is to try to reduce the impact of unnecessary tanking.
“One of the most frustrating aspects of playing cash games can be making a disciplined fold and then having to wait for your opposition to play out a painfully slow hand before you get to make your next decision,” wrote Dan Price, the PokerStars Ring Games Manager. “Unsurprisingly one of the most common complaints we receive is about opponents taking forever over the simplest decisions… even going into their time-bank just to fold pre-flop!”
To that end, PokerStars is implementing the trial of the new “time to act” settings on a limited set of tables today. At the ultra-micro stakes – $0.01/$0.02 No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha – the time a players has to make a decision has been reduced.
On the other cash game tables, and on these tables prior to today, players have 18 seconds to act pre-flop if not facing a raise and 25 seconds to act pre-flop when facing a raise and in all situations post-flop.
Now, on the trial tables, those time limits have been reduced to 12 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively.
Knowing that there are some situations in which a player needs more time – perhaps a tricky board with one’s entire stack at risk – PokerStars has not changed the time bank rules. Everyone starts with 30 seconds in their time bank (an extra bucket of time a player can use if the regular timer elapses) and gets an extra 10 seconds after every 50 hands played with a maximum of 600 seconds in a time bank.
“We will monitor the impact that these changes have on the games and will, as always, listen closely to the feedback of our players,” Price wrote. “We seek to keep our games fun, exciting and engaging for all players but appreciate that there may be some players who are upset with the new pace of the game. However, we are confident that this is a big step in the right direction for the vast majority of players.”
Of course, those who have absolutely no patience and can’t even wait even a few seconds for other players to act can always play poker over at the Zoom Poker tables, where players get whisked away to a new table and a new hand right after they fold. Problem solved!
To clarify, though, the time to act rules have not changed for the Zoom Poker tables, nor have they changed for tournaments. Right now, it is at the $0.01/$0.02 No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash game tables only, though we should probably expect it to be expanded to other cash game tables once the trial period ends.