In a move designed to protect recreational players, MPN has transitioned all its ring game heads-up tables to a player pool format under its fast-fold variant, Blaze Poker.
Heads-up players will compete in an eight-man pool of players and will be redirected to another table to face another opponent upon folding. Formerly the Microgaming Network, MPN seeks to do away with the practice of players sitting at a heads-up table and waiting for a less experienced player to join them. “Bum-hunting” has long been a successful scheme of pro players who take advantage of and prey upon weaker players.
In announcing the new heads-up format, Lydia Melton, who is in charge of network gaming at MPN, told eGR that the move is “the latest in a long line of recreational player-friendly developments for the MPN.”
Those player-friendly initiatives are not exclusive to MPN, as the industry as a whole has been shifting its focus toward protecting casual players. The most extreme of those maneuvers is the use of anonymous tables to keep less-experienced players from being targeted by pros armed with poker-tracking software.
Bodog shocked the entire industry roughly 18 months ago by using the anonymous table format on all cash and tournament tables. Other poker rooms and networks have since followed suit, albeit not exclusively. Skill segregation techniques have also been implemented almost industry-wide in an effort to extend the life of weaker players’ bankrolls.
Online poker room managers have come to realize that a balance of skill levels is required to maintain the overall ecology of the poker room. Without enough net-depositing players to mix with the grinders who typically make withdrawals without depositing, a poker site may eventually die.
Representatives at Unibet, one of the more popular skins on MPN, applauded the switch to a maximum eight-player fast-fold heads-up pool on the network. The site’s head of poker operations, Martin Stalros, said that the change showed “strong commitment to innovation and unique product development” by MPN honchos.
Naturally, this latest move at MPN will not sit well with a number of players who park themselves on a heads-up table to await the arrival of a known “fish.” Posters at online poker forums have often complained about the changes being made to level the playing field for weaker players. Many are of the mindset that players all have the same opportunities to improve their game and to use whatever tools may be at their disposal to do so.
This has not deterred MPN and other sites from continuing the trend to assist the more casual players. “I truly believe that we have developed an exceptional product for our operators to utilise, and I’m extremely excited about being, once again, first to market with such a player-focused software feature,” Melton added.