PokerStars Pulls Heads-Up Cash Games, Except Zoom

As the poker industry declines in fortunes, online operators have been forced to implement a range of changes designed to make the game more appealing to recreational players once more. In the latest example, PokerStars has decided to pull regular heads-up cash game tables from its offering, with the overhaul scheduled to come into effect this coming Friday.
Nevertheless, PokerStars players interested in heads-up games will still be able to do so at the site’s heads-up Zoom tables, a format in which players compete against a different opponent each hand. Up until now, Zoom heads-up tables ranged in stakes from between $0.25/$0.50 and $25/$50 Cap, but PokerStars said it would be adding a $50/$100 option to cater to its higher stake players. As an email sent out to customers explains:
“We are writing to inform you that as of Friday 12th February No Limit Hold’em, Fixed Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha Heads-Up regular tables will be removed and will be replaced with Zoom pools.”
In addition to the heads-up game being a format in which skilled players can really take advantage of their less experienced opponents, the format has also gained a lot of bad press on account of the unethical practices of some players. In the past, heads-up players would squat at a table and refuse to play anyone they did not feel they had a clear advantage over, a term referred to as “bumhunting”. Such behavior also halts the action, and creates a negative atmosphere for PokerStars customers.
Zoom Poker helps to combat such predatory tactics, and return poker to a more fun, and equal setting, and as Amaya Gaming Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser explains:
“These changes are part of PokerStars’ ongoing strategic plan to improve the poker ecosystem and enhance the player experience. We expect these changes to incentivize more players to be focused on playing poker and less focused on selecting opponents. Ultimately we believe this will raise the competitive bar and help increase a fun and fair playing experience for everyone.”

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