PokerStars has continued its quest to appease recreational players by dropping heads-up cash games. Starting Feb. 12th, all HU tables in Limit Hold’m, NL Hold’em and PLO will be shuttered. This of course will also kill the marquee high-stakes matchups that have happened at PokerStars over the years, such as Tom Dwan vs. Dan ‘Jungleman12’ Cates.
From now on, the only heads-up option that Stars players will have are Zoom HU games ranging from $0.25/$0.50 to $50/$100 stakes.
This is just the latest in a number of controversial moves that PokerStars has made in an effort to recruit/retain more amateur players. Not long ago, Stars also made the decision to eliminate rewards for mid and high-stakes tables as well as disband the Supernova Elite level.
Online poker sites more or less tolerated HU cash games during the glory years, despite numerous complaints about bumhunting. However, with global online poker traffic slowly diminishing, Stars is taking every necessary step possible to put recreational players above bumhunters and high-volume grinders.
The obvious reason why Zoom Poker will still feature heads-up cash games is because you’re taken to a new table after every hand. So it’s impossible to sit at a half-empty HU table forever, awaiting your next victim.
Not surprisingly, Amaya Gaming bigwig Eric Hollreiser was supportive of the changes, citing PokerStars’ desire to create a more-fun playing environment for everybody.
“These changes are part of PokerStars’ ongoing strategic plan to improve the poker ecosystem and enhance the player experience,” said Hollreiser. “In this case, we aim to reduce the widespread predatory behavior at heads-up games. 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.”
Most poker pros will hate the decision to get rid of most HU tables. However, it’s very possible that it will be a positive decision for the poker community as a whole.