Zoom poker, PokerStars' fast-fold poker variant, accounts for 25% of all cash game hands played on the internet.Keith, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

“Assuming the Zoom player is playing hands three times faster—a lowball figure—a remarkable 27% of all internet poker hands are being played on Zoom. “ One in four poker hands played on cash game tables is played on PokerStars’ Zoom Poker tables, according to the latest available traffic figures. This jaw-dropping statistic is even more impressive considering that Zoom Poker is only 28 days old—and still in beta.

To take one data point, at peak time yesterday—2PM EST and early evening in Europe—PokerScout showed just over 80,000 seats filled at cash tables across all internet poker sites. We counted 7,500 seats taken at PokerStars Zoom tables: Around 9% of the total.

This in itself is impressive: One in eleven seats playing online is at PokerStars’ brand new, still-in-testing, poker variant.

But then we need to consider the number of hands dealt: Zoom Poker tables deal hands much faster—averaging over 250 hand/hour. Most sites at regular tables manage 75 at best. Assuming the Zoom player is playing hands three times faster—a lowball figure—a remarkable 27% of all internet poker hands are being played on Zoom.

Corroborating evidence comes from PokerScout’s weekly traffic report on Tuesday, that showed 25% of PokerStars players were at Zoom tables, and accounts for nearly 50% of hands dealt.

Zoom launched on March 16 with tables available at only the lowest stakes. Now players can play No Limit and Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo and Fixed Limit 5 Card Draw at stakes up to $2.50/$5. We can expect Zoom to hit the mobile client, PokerStars has hinted at Zoom MTTs, and are even considering the possibility of removing regular tables and only offering Zoom tables at the high stakes.

In the year since Black Friday PokerStars has seen a decline in site traffic of 16%. In the same period Playtech’s iPoker skins have gained 6% and the Merge Network sites which accept US players have gained an impressive 72%. Zoom poker may be the magic bullet which returns PokerStars to growth.

The phenomenal amount of traffic on Zoom will bring its own challenges. The higher dealing rate means that rake is collected up to 4 times faster than on standard tables. Player deposits are depleted as winners cash out and PokerStars collects rake.

Taking money off the tables more quickly means having to generate more deposits to replace it. PokerStars will need to increase its marketing efforts or instead of creating growth it will have cannibalized itself.

The instant success of Zoom will certainly be of interest to Relax Gaming and InstaDeal, that both offer off-the-shelf fast-fold poker products ready to go. They hope that sites without a fast fold offering may opt for a quick solution rather than waiting for the development of an in-house offering.