In the past week 888poker.com has made two moves that they think will help their business in the long run by removing all Heads-Up cash tables (HU) and introducing a mac client available in beta right now. While the second move is obviously a pretty standard move that won’t cause much controversy, the first move will cause a major stir among players, but it’s still unclear if it will end in support of unhappiness.
In a thread started by 2+2 member “MadeInPolanD” he posts posted an email from support at 888poker.com that talks about their decision to remove HU tables because they think that it will allow for players to enjoy the game more and get more from their experience playing at 888poker.com. While there are still some tables open, you cannot start any new tables and it appears as if those tables that are currently running will be removed in due course whenever they lose both players, or when the client is taken down for maintenance.
This move is exceptionally interesting considering all of the debate that has been present in the community lately about how to help the games. HU is a major problem at the higher stakes (and creeping into the lower stakes as well) with people “bum hunting” and just clogging up tables by not playing anyone who sits, and instead only playing the weakest players. Some have suggested using a “Zoom” poker type system, or more intricate systems that focus on “King of the Hill” type of format. Removing the tables has also been a suggestion, but generally hadn’t been as preferred as figuring out a way to fix the games. There are still a lot of players who enjoy playing HU exclusively, and they didn’t want to lose their game of choice.
888poker.com has the feeling that removing the games entirely was the best way to fix the games though, and it’s going to be interesting to see how players react. It’s important to note that you can still start 6-max and 9-max tables, so getting HU action won’t be impossible, but other players can join at will. It’s also important to note that players appeared to not be warned about this change and most people are finding out by trying to find the games they want to play and being unable to find them. If any representative comes with an official statement that sheds more light on the decision PokerUpdate.com will notify you.
This change comes on the heels of a much more universally liked choice to offer a Mac client to its players. While it is still in the beta testing stages, it appears to be liked by players and also seems to work well. This is also important, because WSOP.com is slated to open to US customers sometime soon, and they are partnered with 888poker.com, so presumably you will be able to play from your Mac when real money gaming becomes available to Nevada residents, and New Jersey residents sometime in Novemeber. Improvements like this are important to note, because there areas till relatively few Mac clients offered in the market so, being able to offer a product that still has fewer competitors will help grow the player base at 888poker.com
As more develops and information becomes available about the success of, or lack thereof, htis recent move PokerUpdate.com will update with another story. It’s a bold move for a large company with a healthy player base, and if this decision is met with support from players and increased traffic it will become a choice that other sites have to seriously consider.