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pokerstars_tablePokerStars has announced that the static version of the heads-up table will changed. The operator communicated to players that Zoom games will soon become the norm at the site. Now with the newer Zoom, on each heads-up hand players will face a new opponent.

Last Monday, February 8th, all players that had played at a heads-up table (with real money) in the last three months received a message posted on 2+2 by player “numbeo”. Players were informed that from February 12thon, No-Limit, Fixed Limit and Pot Limit Hold’em as well as Pot Limit Omaha static heads-up table would no longer be available on the site.

New Heads-Up

Zoom heads-up tables are already available at stakes ranging from $ 0.25/$0.50 to $25/$50. The format is the same as full-ring and six-max Zoom games. On every single hand players are placed in a different table, which is chosen randomly by software.

The main goal of this new concept is avoid that experienced players, the so-called sharks, seek unexperienced players to clean their clocks.

PokerStars will also add more Zoom heads-up table, also with $50/$100 stakes to accommodate players used to joining higher stakes tables.

Bum Hunting

Since 2010, with the arrival of “professional grinders” and online poker training sites, heads-up games have become very hard to play. Besides the fact that, in general, players became more skilled, bum hunting (when an experienced player sits in a moderate table so he can take advantage of less experienced players) and sitting out has contributed for a decline in the number of active tables.

This practice can be seen in many online poker sites, including PokerStars. Experienced players sit at an empty moderate table and if an equally skilled player sits at the same table he will refuse to play, until the opponent decides to leave the table. The goal of the experienced player is to play against a weaker player and not an equally skilled one.

Many poker sites have used different schemes to make this practice decrease. iPoker tried, for instance, to track players who did “bum hunting” and to restrict their access to heads-up tables. Also to prevent this practice from happening, Microgaming Network decided to replace its classic heads-up tables with heads-up Blaze tables, a type of fast-fold poker.

After trying to tackle this issue in a number of ways, such as a force play system, PokerStars has decided to eliminate the source of the problem. This is in line with PokerStars’ shifting its service to satisfy the more recreational player.

That is what they said on their statement last Monday:

“This change is part of our commitment to reducing predatory behavior and improving the recreational player experience”

After the announcement was made, players responded positively at a number of poker forum. Players such as “TheDefiniteArticle” are happy with the changes, as stagnating games and empty tables are “a blight on the poker economy”.