PokerStars Tests Table Cap Concept in Italy, Phil Galfond’s New “Run it Once” Site to Follow Suit

3 min read

One of the primary appeals of online poker for many is the ability to play unlimited tables at one time, but two sites are now eyeing an end to that practice.

Pokerstars table cap
Could playing at dozens of poker tables at once eventually become a think of the past? (Credit: Video Blocks)

PokerStars is currently testing the concept of a table cap in Italy, a market which is segregated from the rest of the world. Players there are now limited to multi-tabling no more than six cash game tables at a time. Before, users could play as many tables simultaneously as their screen space would allow.

The goal is to cut down on excessively long delays and make the game more fun and sustainable in the long term. (We’ve all sat down with those players who have so many tables open that every decision they make takes a painfully long time.)

Table Cap Concept Explained

PokerStars officials admit that extreme multitabling is not necessarily a widespread issue – only 0.3 percent of PokerStars players are playing more than six tables at once — but notes that it only takes a few people doing that to slow a game down for everyone else.

“When there is an important decision to make at a table, all other tables must wait,” Stars Director of Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset explained. “And of course, the more tables being played, the more frequently this situation can happen.”

Rasset says they’ll use the information from the Italian experiment to see if table caps are something they want to eventually implement on their other domains.

And while PokerStars waits for test results before deciding whether or not to deploy Table Caps across their entire network, the world’s largest online poker operation isn’t the only one that sees limiting multi-tabling as potentially beneficial for the long-term health of the game.

Built-in Shark Repellent

Poker pro Phil Galfond is in the midst of launching his own poker site, Run it Once (RIO). In his latest blog post detailing the site’s progress, Galfond reveals that RIO will also have a table cap in place when it opens, and not just on a trial basis.

Galfond points out that while a table cap means less earning potential for his site, in the grand scheme, it also means more money for everyone else.

“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,” Galfond explains in his blog post.

However, it’s yet to be decided what that cap will be set at. Players will either be limited to four or six tables on the new RIO site, and Galfond is putting the call out for public feedback to help him decide which it should be.

It’s not the only eye-opening decision that Galfond has made for his up-and-coming site.

Most notably, he raised the ire of some online regulars when he announced that using Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) and tracking software, something that was long standard on most poker sites, will not be allowed at RIO.

Instead, he’s trying something new by implementing dynamic avatars that will express varying emotions depending on how those users are playing the game.

In his latest update, Galfond also unveils some potential designs for both the tables and cards, and once again, he’s asking for user feedback before finalizing any decisions.

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