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PokerStars Introducing Zoom-Only High-Stakes Games to "Remove Predatory Environment"

Beginning Jan. 1, high-stakes cash games will have a new look at PokerStars. The world's leading online poker site announced this week that starting next year, all $50/100 no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha tables will be removed and replaced with Zoom Poker player pools. PokerStars says this major change will take place during off-peak hours, and will occur on a trial run to evaluate player reception.

Zoom Poker was introduced by PokerStars in 2012 as a fast-paced way to play poker. The game plays exactly the same way as any other online cash game except for one huge difference — as soon as you fold, you are removed from the table you were seated at and placed at a new table with different players.

According to PokerStars, the change is being made at the request of players who have voiced their concern about table selection software.

"PokerStars developed a special High Stakes Zoom product with an eye toward replacing all high-stakes games with Zoom, and it’s now time to put it to a test," said Nick Williamson, Ring Game Manager for PokerStars.

"Our players have told us that they want to focus on playing poker, rather than worrying about seating, lobby and software settings to get them the best seat at the table. This is in an effort to allow players to concentrate on actually playing poker while encouraging a healthy, competitive, non-predatory environment in our highest stakes games."

Lee Jones, PokerStars' Head of Poker Communication, stressed that the games need to become less about table selection and more about the poker itself. Jones said it isn't healthy for these games to have a "predatory environment."

"We don't want it to just be a constant situation where players are thinking more about which seat they're trying to grab rather than just playing their best poker," Jones told PokerNews' Sarah Grant on Tuesday.

PokerStars has not decided whether this change will be permanent or temporary. After the high-stakes Zoom games have been implemented, PokerStars will conduct a review based on player feedback and make further decisions regarding the high-stakes scene.

Stay tuned to PokerNews for more on this story next month.

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