PokerStars Software Update Features Synchronized Breaks

Date: 2009-08-04
Author: Sean Gibson

The world's largest online poker room, PokerStars, released a new version of its software client this morning.  Its timing is probably more than coincidental, coming only a few days after Full Tilt Poker's new release and 24 hours away from the start of its 13th Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS).  Nevertheless, the new features released in this update bring some of the most requested features to the world’s most popular online poker room.

On Monday morning, Alex Scott, a representative for PokerStars on the TwoPlusTwo forums, posted that there was going to be a major client update.  The renovation includes four features that many online poker enthusiasts are extremely excited to see implemented:

- Addition of a New Game, Mixed Hold'em/Omaha.  This means that there is a round of one game (nine hands) followed by a round of the other.  This game is part of the 2009 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) schedule and can be found in the “Other Games” > “Mixed Games” > “PLH/PLO” lobby.

- Synchronized Tournament Breaks.  Tournaments are now synchronized so that they all go on break at 55 minutes past each hour.  For example, if a tournament begins at 13:20, the breaks will occur at 13:55, 14:55, and so on.  No tournament will miss its break; even if it starts at 15:50, for example, the tournament will still have a break at 15:55.

Tournaments that are a part of the synchronized break program are marked in two ways.  First, if the tournament is selected in the PokerStars lobby, the side panel will show that it goes on break at 55 minutes past the hour.  Second, the “Breaks” area of the tournament information window also shows when it goes on break.

PokerStars support has noted that this synchronized break program is considered a beta feature and that only a small number of tournaments will be part of it at first.

- Improvements to Extended Registration.  The length of the extended registration period is now shown in the "Tournament Info" dialog and bugs were fixed with this update.

- Private Tournaments for Smaller Stakes.  Players can now create private single-table tournaments at the $1.10 and $3.30 levels.  The ability to create private tournaments on PokerStars is still available to anyone who has amassed 2,000 Frequent Player Points over the lifetime of their account.  Players who wish to have the ability enabled on their account can e-mail customer support for more information.

- Tourney Satellite Bug Fix.  There's been a bug involving satellites that has been resolved.  If a player wins a satellite, but the target event has already started, they will be entered if extended registration is still open.  If it is not open, the player will be credited with T-Money, W$, or a tournament ticket depending on the event.

In the early hours of the update, most of the new features have yet to be implemented.  Within the cash game lobby, the section for the new Mixed Hold'em/Omaha game was in place, but had no tables open.  All of the tournaments starting in the morning and early afternoon failed to have synchronized breaks added to their schedule.  It seems for the time being, the update might be in place software-wise, but the poker room has yet to officially launch some of the features for players to use.

The update to the software is confirmed to affect cash game players using Holdem Manager and PokerTracker 3.  Players using these hand history tracking programs are reporting this morning that their Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) are not working at cash games, are functioning normally in tournaments.  Both development groups have already stated that new patches are being developed.

The software update for PokerStars can be received by either downloading the client from the PokerStars homepage or by starting up the program.

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