Zoom Poker Goes Live on PokerStars in France
PokerStars’ fast-fold ring game product Zoom Poker has finally launched on PokerStars.FR for real money, following a greenlight from the French regulator, ARJEL.
Real money Zoom pools went live at approximately 8pm Thursday evening. Currently only no-limit microstakes—NL2, NL5 and NL10—pools are available for real money.
France is the last PokerStars site to receive the Zoom treatment.
Zoom Poker first debuted on dot.com in early 2012 and was an immediate success. It went live in Italy in the second half of 2012 following the approval of AAMS, the Italian regulator. It was also available to Spanish players at launch day of PokerStars.ES.
In its annual review released last week, ARJEL admitted that falling player interest in online poker is “a matter of concern” and advocated allowing operators to offer “legal new variants of poker” in an attempt to boost player numbers.
Unlike Zoom available elsewhere, on PokerStars.FR a player can only join a Zoom player pool once. Normally, players can join up to four times for each pool, which greatly increases the ability to multi-table and makes it much easier for operators to maintain liquidity at each stake.
According to clubpoker.net, a PokerStars representative reported that this is a restriction imposed by ARJEL. PokerStars is considering two pools at the same stake level to get around the restriction.
Debuting with micro-stakes only is the same strategy adopted with previous Zoom rollouts, as PokerStars tests the water and monitors the effects of liquidity. Zoom is now available on PokerStars.IT up to NL100, and dot.com up to NL500, following similar staggered deployments.
However, French players hoping for higher stakes Zoom soon may which to temper expectations by looking at sister site PokerStars.ES. Despite launching more than six months ago, Zoom there is still only available up to NL50, and the pool frequently does not run. According to the latest data from PokerScout, the Spanish site is approximately 20% larger than the French in terms of cash game activity, and does not suffer from the “one entrant by pool” restriction.
PokerStars will be hoping Zoom will help it close the gap on the surging Winamax, which overtook PokerStars.FR a year ago as the largest poker site in France and has increased its lead with strong growth in the second half of 2012.