Maintaining a healthy poker ecosystem and balancing the interests of all our players is at the core of what we do. It is our responsibility as hosts to ensure that every player has a safe and enjoyable poker experience.
Ever since the dawn of online poker, experienced players have experimented with multi-tabling and tested the limits of how many hands per hour they can manage. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this and poker will always be about finding an edge over the competition within the rules of the game and the site hosting the game.
However, most of our players play on one table at a time. Without careful management, we risk ending up with an environment where the majority of players find themselves at tables disproportionately populated by multi-tabling players. This can lead to a difficult playing experience. Action at the tables can be regularly interrupted, and many players can feel outmatched and that their chances of winning are diminished.
Last year we announced our intentions to test a table cap of 6 for cash games in Italy. We have now carefully reviewed the results of this and are ready to announce the next steps.
As of today, August 20, players on PokerStars (.be, .bg, .com, .desh, .dk, .ee, .eu, .uk, .ro, .cz, .se, .fr, .es, .pt, .it) will be limited to playing four regular cash game tables at any one time, at all stakes. Table caps for all other games, including Zoom, will remain unchanged.
When we trialled this change in Italy last year, we chose a six-table cap as a hypothetical optimum number. We wanted to test the impact this had on our players, those who typically played more than six tables and the majority who played only one. After careful review of the results over time, we now believe that a four-table cap is, in fact, the optimum number to achieve our goals.
We want to maintain a sustainable poker ecosystem and a platform that players of all abilities are excited to play on well into the future. Attracting and retaining new poker players is crucial to the future of the game. By reducing the table cap from 24 to 4, we are reducing the number of multi-tabling players and increasing the number of more casual one-table players at each table. This should lead to increased win rates on any individual table for the strongest players, while increasing the likelihood that single-table players will meet others like themselves. As a result, they’ll have more chance of experiencing winning sessions and continue to play in the longer term.
We’re poker players ourselves. We understand that this change will have a very real impact on many players, particularly those of you who rely on multi-tabling as professionals. We haven’t taken this decision lightly, and we are confident this is the right thing to do for the future of the game.
I hope that by focusing more on each table and winning more at those tables, you’ll find a way to adapt and continue as part of our community.