PokerStars Keeps Pace with Modern Players by Reducing Decision-Making Times

February 4th, 2019 | by Greg Shaun

PokerStars is bidding to speed up online poker by cutting thinking times across its range of real money cash games, including Zoom.

PokerStars timebank

PokerStars will cut the amount of time players have to make a decision from February 5. (Image: PokerStars)


After analyzing the average hand time during 2018, PokerStars concluded that reducing its settings will improve the game for everyone.

Less Time, More Action

Confirming the details on February 1, director of poker innovation Severin Rasset said the changes will go into effect on February 5. In addition to reducing the time players have to act during a hand, timebank limits will also be reduced.

When the changes come into effect, pre-flop decisions without a prior raise will have to be made within ten seconds (previously 18 seconds). Action following a pre-flop raise and post-flop will activate a 15-second timer (instead of 25 seconds).

Should anyone need longer to make a decision, timebanks will start at 15 seconds and increase by five seconds every 10 hands up to a maximum of 60 seconds.

Previous trials have proved successful according to Rasset. However, some players may see the new settings as an attack on their ability to play multiple tables.

“During our tests, we found that players would often take a lot of time to act in simple situations, mainly unopened pots pre-flop, because they were engaged in making decisions at other tables. Understandably, this was frustrating opponents on every table,” reads Rasset’s blog post.

Although the time changes won’t stop players from multitabling, it will make it more difficult.

PokerStars Setting New Pace

Since the early days of online poker, grinders have pressed home their advantage by playing as many tables as possible. However, with operators eager to make the game less predatory and more attractive to amateurs, multitabling has fallen out of fashion.

Interestingly, PokerStars was once a champion of high-volume players. As well as being home to mass-multitablers Randy Lew and Hevad Khan, it backed an attempt to break the record for most games played in one hour.

Taking place during the 2009 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, the feat saw Bertrand Grospellier set a new world record by playing and making a profit from 62 SNGs in 60 minutes.

Now under new management and facing different market pressures, PokerStars has moved away from such pro-focused dynamics. Indeed, already in 2019 we’ve seen the online operator launch a more action-packed version of Hold’em known as 6+.

In addition to a game where loose play is almost mandatory, PokerStars has reduced the cost of its flagship MTT, the Sunday Million. Wanting to attract more low and medium stakes players, it announced the $215 buy-in would be cut to $109.

Between these changes and it new time limits, PokerStars is gradually reshaping its platform to meet the demands of modern online poker players.


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