French operator Winamax wanted to get in on the new trend towards fast fold poker variants, as they have taken a big share of global online poker traffic. But the company has learned the hard way that even if you want to name your game “Go Fast,” it may pay off to take things slow when you’re first trying to launch a new product.
Last week, Winamax.fr launched their own version of fast fold poker, making them one of the last major operators in the world to offer the high-speed variant. The offering, known as “Go Fast,” had most of the same features that poker fans have come to expect from these games: after joining a pool, players are dynamically assigned to tables, and will move to a newly generated table each time they fold a hand or go to showdown.
These games, which began in 2010 when Full Tilt Poker launched “Rush Poker,” allow players to complete several times as many hands per hour as standard tables. This is great for action junkies or serious players who want to increase their play volume, while also benefiting the sites themselves by creating more hands to rake.
Despite the fact that there are several popular fast fold variations out there, however, it seems that Winamax wasn’t immediately able to perfect their own take on the high-paced poker game. Almost immediately at launch, players noticed serious bugs in the software, ranging from annoyances like common freezing when attempting to multi-table to a failure to accurately track money in player accounts as they left tables.
Those issues were enough to cause Winamax to shut down the games until they could get a handle on the situation.
“In order to fix some user-related issues, we have temporarily stopped GO FAST,” said a statement on Winamax’s Go Fast page. “We hope it will be back very shortly.”
Later last week, the games came back, and this time it appears that they work fine. They’ve certainly proven popular, as PokerScout has reported that 28 percent of all cash game players on the site are now sitting in Go Fast games. Considering the high speed of these tables, it’s possible that a majority of all raked cash game hands now take place at Go Fast, a trend that has been seen at other poker rooms in the past.
The offering seems to have bolstered Winamax’s position in the French market. Before the introduction of Go Fast, the site was in a tight battle with PokerStars.fr in the cash game traffic rankings. Just two weeks later, Winamax.fr is now firmly ahead, with PokerScout’s numbers showing their average cash game traffic at 1,250 players compared to about 1,000 for PokerStars.fr. PokerStars has its own fast fold game, known as Zoom Poker, though it has not proven as popular in France as Winamax’s version.
While Winamax is not active in online poker outside of the French market, they’ve become an increasingly influential player in the industry over the past year. Winamax was the creator of Expresso Poker, the first ever lottery-style sit and go, in which players compete for a prize pool that could be worth as much as 1,000 times their buy-in or more. That style of game has since been emulated by major competitors such as PokerStars and Full Tilt.