Nearly a month after PokerStars combined its New Jersey & Michigan player pools into a single network, the network has launched its popular fast-fold cash game product Zoom.
Real money Zoom ring games went live on PokerStars US Network on Monday, January 23, at approximately 9:00 PM at multiple buy-in levels, starting NL2 and up to NL200. The launch was also accompanied by a promotion incentivizing players to start tables by giving them double reward points.
Per the press release, Zoom poker would be available to NJ & MI — on the same shared liquidity network — “for a limited time.” The game will not yet be available in Pennsylvania.
But unfortunately, the launch did not go well, as technical issues forced the operator to remove the game from the lobby.
Players on social media reported problems with games not loading even after meeting the minimum number of players required to start the table.
At the time of writing, no Zoom cash game tables are currently deployed, and the Zoom tab has been removed. The game will probably come back soon once the operator resolves the bug.
Its launch in the US market was long-awaited, as it is the only jurisdiction deprived of fast-fold style poker. Going by the name “Zoom” on PokerStars, the format made its debut in 2012. It is incredibly popular in the dot-com and segregated European markets.
In fast-fold games, players join an uncapped pool of players. Once signed up, each player is instantly seated randomly with other opponents in the pool. Each time they fold their hand, they are taken to a new table with a new selection of players. Players also have the option to “fast fold,” which allows them to fold their hand out of turn and immediately move them onto the next hand.
The format is a fast-paced game, allowing players to play over 200 hands per hour while single tabling. It also benefits operators by eliminating predatory practices such as “bum hunting” by removing seat and table selection.
However, it can be hard to get pools started. The game requires adequate liquidity to keep it running as, without two tables-worth of players, there can be a long pause between folding one hand and getting seated at another.
Often, operators incentivize players to start the game by rewarding them in some form. PokerStars is doing precisely that by launching its tried-and-tested Early Bird promotion. The promo gives players double reward points if they are among the first ten to start or join the Zoom play for ten minutes.
Second Operator to Launch Fast-Fold Variant in the US
PokerStars becomes the second operator in the regulated US market to spread this format. BetMGM Poker runs its fast-fold variant under the name FastForward in all of its three states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. However, games are often empty and only run during peak hours on busier days. The FastForward games are available from buy-ins starting from $10 buy-in to up to $50.
WSOP — another regulated operator in the US — has yet to offer the game format despite one of its networks sharing player pools between three states. Whether that is because of regulatory reasons or some other, it could change soon should WSOP MI become part of its existing tri-state shared liquidity on the WSOP Network comprising New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
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But this is not the first time PokerStars has opened Zoom pools in the US market. Twice, the network launched the game variant in New Jersey — once a couple of months after going live in the state and four years later in June 2020. However, both launches were short-lived and had to be pulled due to a lack of enough liquidity.
However, PokerStars US players are no strangers to the format. While the operator does not spread Zoom cash games, it runs Zoom tournaments from time to time, especially as part of a tournament series.
In the ongoing PSPC Online series — the first-ever series to run since the merger of PokerStars NJ & PokerStars MI — four tournaments are being run using this format, two of which are being offered in the bounty format and one as a heads-up.
The PSPC Online Series spanning the MI-NJ network runs until January 30 with total guarantees of $2.5 million. So far, the series has paid out over $1.5 million with at least $1 million in guaranteed prizes still up for grabs.
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