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PokerStars Increases Speed of All $0.01/$0.02 Cash Tables

By , Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer

Low stakes players on the highest traffic poker site in the world may have noticed the message shown below in the PokerStars client this week. Big bet cash game tables at the lowest blind level, $0.01/$0.02, are now all designated 'fast'. The table speed change applies to No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha.

How long do I have to act?

Microstakes NLHE, PLO and PLO8 players will now have 18 seconds to act per hand, instead of 35. For those that use the option, a one second window will be given for choosing whether to show or muck your hand, instead of three.

Players still receive the same time bank as the now obsolete regular tables - 30 seconds, increasing by 10 for every 50 hands you're dealt into.

How many hands per hour at fast tables?

Fast tables allow for higher volume - approximately 100 to 110 hands per hour. Check the H/hr column in the client to see the exact pace on your table.

6-max regular tables see about 70 hands/hour, and Full Ring 60. Upgrading to fast represents about a 60% increase in game speed.

Will I earn more rakeback?

Yes - your rakeback hourly rises with the dealing speed. On PokerStars, you'll be able to hit higher VIP levels earlier, earning bonuses and stellar rewards at a faster rate.

These bonus rewards are equivalent to flat rakeback, part of the PokerStars VIP club open to all players.

PokerStars Rake & Rakeback at Microstakes

Let's look at four example $0.01/$0.02 players, aiming to reach Silver VIP status, starting from Bronze, and then maintain that status by earning 750 VPPs each month. They'll earn 19% effective rakeback (counting cash & tournament rewards) for 6-max, and 21% for Full Ring.

Each player sits at six fast tables, grinding 660 hands/hour at 6-max and 600/hour at Full Ring. They can expect to be able to reach Silver VIP with just a few hours per day of poker. 

Game Type Table Size Hands / Hour 6-tabling Rake bb/100 Rake / Hour Hands / Month to Reach Silver VIP Hours / Day Played Rakeback / Month
NLHE 6m 660 7.7 $1.02 88500 4.5 ~$28
NLHE FR 600 5.9 $0.71 115500 6.5 ~$28
PLO 6m 660 16.0 $2.11 42500 2 ~$28
PLO FR 600 14.3 $1.71 47500 2.5 ~$28
  • Rake bb/100 average figures correct as of Feb 2012
This is a fairly demanding but workable schedule. At regular speed tables however, they'd need to put in approximately 60% more effort. The NL2 6-max grinder would need to increase his monthly volume to approaching 150k hands.

Adding Zoom Poker Tables

To really pump up the volume, consider joining the Zoom player pool. Four-tabling Zoom poker, a 2NL player can play 1000 hands/hour.

Silver status could then be maintained with a little over an hour of poker per day. Even if you broke even, you'd have 20 buy-ins to move up to 5NL within four months, thanks to VIP store bonuses and stellar rewards. The top microstakes players can beat $0.01/$0.02 for 20bb/100 - that's almost $5/hour with rakeback.


If you can handle the pace, fast tables allow you to reach VIP targets with less time and effort. Everyone at $0.01/$0.02 can now enjoy greater rewards and faster action by default - just make sure you don't time out!

Rakeback.com will keep you updated on any changes to stakes above 2NL and 2PLO. Time will tell if PokerStars enforces 100% faster game speeds and/or the fast-fold Zoom format across higher stakes.


Update: PokerStars has applied these changes to every stake, not just $0.01/$0.02 - all tables are now Speed tables at all levels.

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