Online poker Since being taken over by Amaya there have been plenty of big changes over at PokerStars, and yet another surprise move has recently been anounced which has come as a shock to many – as of this Friday 12th February, all regular heads-up tables will be removed, with just heads-up zoom tables available, up to and including the $50/$100 stakes. PokerStars sent out an email to their regular heads-up players which stated: “We are writing to inform you that as of Friday 12th February No Limit Hold’em, Fixed Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha Heads-Up regular tables will be removed and will be replaced with Zoom pools. Heads-Up Zoom is already in place at most stakes and will be added at $50/$100. We will also be adding Zoom No Limit Hold’em Cap games at stakes up to $25/$50. This change is part of our commitment to reducing predatory behaviour and improving the recreational player experience.” The reaction to this latest change by PokerStars has been met with mixed reviews on the poker forums, with some people agreeing that something had to be done about the bumhunting situation where regs would sit at numerous tables for hours alone, only accepting action from recreational players, or players they know they can beat, creating a swathe of open tables with no action. On 2+2, regular poster Andro said “Who cares? HU lobbies have been pure AIDS for many years. There are just too many bumhunters. This may or may not be bad for the fun players, but it is for sure bad for bumhunters, and that’s a good thing. It could also be good news for elite players who are willing to play anyone but can never get any action as now they can join a player pool where they will automatically get a new opponent every hand. Perhaps they won’t get action t $50/$100, but if they drop down the stakes they will at least get some hands in. Whether or not he was 100% serious we don’t know, but top HU NLHE player Doug “WCGRider” Polk added to the 2+2 thread “Yah I get to play now” However, despite the occasional indifferent or positive post regarding the change, the overwhelming majority of commentators seem unhappy with the changes, speculating that Stars are just moving towards phasing out HU altogether and that the change is less than ideal. Certainly it will completely change the dynamic of heads-up play. Heads-up play is usually about getting inside your opponents head and adjusting your strategy and countering your opponents strategy over a period of time. With a different opponent every hand that kind of meta-game is going to be hard to play. Players have argued (including recreational players) that this will not benefit the poker ecology as the “fish” will still lose, just against an increased player pool. It has also been argued that rec players enjoy playing heads-up, and that Zoom heads-up is a completely different proposition which only benefits the elite players. It’s certainly true that the heads-up lobby needed some shaking up – but only time will tell if this is good idea, the jury is very much still out!