PokerStars announced a series of changes coming to its Home Games program, revealing plans on Tuesday to roll out a series of upgrades the company says are based on customer feedback.
Improvements to Home Games will include mobile support and the addition of many of the game’s most popular poker formats.
New Variants, Tournament Options
Players have long asked for the ability to play in a home game from mobile devices. PokerStars has now added that capability for most Android clients, with iOS support rolling out “in the coming weeks.”
The company also touted the number of game types that will be newly available.
While we’ve removed some of the less popular formats, we’re adding a host of new game options for tournaments including 5 and 6 card Omaha, 6+ Hold’em, Showtime Hold’em, Split Hold’em, and Fusion,” Stephen Bartley wrote in the PokerStars Blog. “All those apply to cash games too, along with the popular Swap Hold’em. You’ll also be able to create games in Progressive KO and Total Progressive KO formats.”
Other improvements are more subtle, but will have an impact on those organizing tournaments as a part of their Home Games. Users can now choose from four tournament level lengths, ranging from Hyper (with three-minute levels) to Slow (15 minutes per level). Late registration will now be available for six levels, regardless of level length, and time banks will grow later in tournaments.
Most of these changes mirror what’s available on the standard PokerStars client, bringing the Home Games experience more in line with what players see from the site in general. Not all of these changes will be implemented in all markets.
“PokerStars operates around the world, and under different regulations, so it might be that some of our newer games are not available in your region,” Bartley wrote.
The changes will appear in various markets over the course of the next few days, according to PokerStars.
Home Games Flourish During Quarantine
Home Games have emerged as a popular option at PokerStars, particularly during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Players can use the product to create a place for friends and family to play real money or play money poker together, or expand their clubs by granting access to a wider circle of people, such as a group from a club, team, or forum.
Americans can play Home Games, though only for play money in most states. That hasn’t stopped poker players from using the software to facilitate real money play. Typically, this is done by agreeing to the transfer of funds offline, as PokerStars prohibits the transfer of funds on its play money sites. High-stakes players have used other play money poker apps for the same purpose, though there have been accusations of pros playing on the accounts of recreational players.