PokerStars Reduces Time to Act in Ring Games

Recreational players all over the world will be delighted to hear PokerStars is reducing the time players have to act before they are automatically sat out.

One of the things that ruins online poker for a lot of recreational players is the ridiculous amount of time some players take over their betting actions – or lack of them. Although it is an accepted strategy in some circles to wind up your opponents by making them wait before you fold your cards, it is the sort of behaviour that damages the poker ecology by making online poker unattractive.

Regular visitors to may recall reducing the time to act was one of three things we wanted Party Poker´s Player Panel to discuss in our article earlier this month. Possibly PokerStars is a regular visitor to, because within ten days of our article being published the world´s largest online poker site is taking our advice – albeit only in ring games.

Actually Not a New Development at All

To be fair, PokerStars has been looking at reducing the time to act in ring games for some time. In July 2017, the site trialled reducing the time to act on its $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold´em and PL Omaha cash tables – extending the reduced time to cash tables with stakes of up to $0.10/$0.25 in January 2018 (although the existing time limits on Zoom Poker tables remained the same).

The latest development sees the time to act being reduced across all stakes and all games (including Zoom Poker), and across all platforms. Furthermore, new time bank settings will also be applied so that players only have a maximum of 60 seconds to wind up their opponents instead of the current maximum of 600 seconds. The changes will come into effect on Tuesday February 5th.

New Time to Act
Action Current Setting New Setting
Pre-Flop not Facing a Raise 18 seconds 10 seconds
Pre-Flop Facing a Raise and Post-Flop 25 seconds 15 seconds


New Time Bank Settings
Action Current New Increases by New Maximum
Pre-Flop Betting 30 seconds 15 seconds 5 every 10 hands 30 seconds
Post-Flop Betting 30 seconds 15 seconds 5 every 10 hands 60 seconds

Writing on the PokerStars blog, Severin Rasset – PokerStars´ Director of Innovation and Operations – wrote, when the time to act was reduced on lower stakes tables last year, it resulted in a 9% increase in the number of hands played per hour. Hopefully the changes will result in equally good improvement at higher stakes cash tables and the habit of acting faster will spill over into MTTs and Sit & Go games.

If Other Poker Sites are Listening, You Need to Do the Same

Often when PokerStars leads, others follow – and, as we wrote earlier this month, it´s not only the time to act and time bank issues that need addressing. Extended late registration periods for low buy-in tournaments exclude many recreational players from taking part in them – leaving them with only slow-to-fill Sit & Go games and hyper-turbo card flips to play.

Improving the player experience – just as PokerStars is trying to do – should be the goal of every online poker site. If players enjoy their time at the tables, thye will spend more money and return time after time. Reducing time to act and extended late registration periods will do just that – giving poker sites more money to pump into promotions to start the next poker boom. But only if they are listening.