One of the bigger poker stories from last week involved Full Tilt Poker rolling out their ‘New to the Game’ tables. The games are meant to help new and/or recreational players get used to real money poker without being throwing into shark-infested waters (a.k.a. player segregation).
New to the Game tables are open to any real money player, they’re offered in low stakes NL Hold’em and Omaha ring games/tournaments, and players can try these tables for 2,000 cash game hands or 75 tourneys. Additionally, New to the Game tables run at a slower pace and players can only try two tables at a time.
The key in all of this is that players can only participate in 2,000 ring game hands or 75 tournaments. And this is where Full Tilt gets the idea of player segregation right, versus other rooms like Party Poker and Lock Poker.
Both Party and Lock run similar player segregation models where they prevent winning grinders from competing against losing players. In Party’s case, they didn’t even warn players about segregation; they just hid the losing players from winners and certain people happened to notice. In either case, there is no limit on how long the players are divided up, which really punishes winners.
Full Tilt, on the other hand, puts a restriction on how long players can try the New to the Game tables. Once the 2k cash game hands or 75 tourneys are up, people are forced to “graduate” to the regular games. What’s more is that everybody has a chance to try these tables, rather than being restricted to losing players.
Segregation is still in the early stages in the online poker world. So it’ll be interesting to see if more sites take a similar approach to the matter as FTP.