PokerStars Begins Testing “All-In Cash Out” Feature
PokerStars is testing a new cash game feature it is calling “All-in Cash Out” on its play money .NET platform and it has set tongues wagging in the online poker community.
Several new PokerStars games and features have started life on the .NET platform before making their debut on the real money .COM platform. If this trend is to follow, we should see All-in Cash Out become available for No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and Six-Plus Hold’em (Short Deck) cash games in the near future.
What is All-in Cash Out at PokerStars?
All-in Cash Out gives cash game players the chance to cash out their equity when they find themselves in an all-in situation. Clicking the Cash Out button sees the player forgo the rest of the hand in exchange for a cash payout equal to their equity in the hand less an administrative fee of 1% of their equity.
An example of All-in Cash Out is as follows: If a player finds themselves all in on the flop and has 50 percent equity in a $100 pot, this player has the option to take $49.50 (50% of $100 minus 1% of the player’s equity, or $0.50 in this case) instead of taking the result of the hand after the remaining community cards are dealt.
If the all-in player decides to cash in their equity and their hand goes on to beat the other, the additional money is collected by PokerStars. Players have the choice to continue playing the hand as normal even if their opponents opt to take advantage of the All-in Cash Out feature.
Where Will All-in Cash Out Be Available?
It appears that PokerStars plans to launch All-in Cash Out across all No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and 6+ Hold’em cash games, if .COM follows the tests on .NET. PokerStars has removed the option to Run It Twice at tables where All-in Cash Out is active.
Run It Twice has long been a feature of many online poker sites. It is something that live cash games players have done for many years, with it becoming popular on the televised High Stakes Poker series.
For Run It Twice to happen, at least one player has to be all-in and there has to be at least one more street left to be dealt. Should a player be all-in on the flop and both players active in the hand agree to run it twice, two turns and two rivers are dealt and it is possible for either player to win one or both run-outs.
The main difference between running it twice and this upcoming feature is Run It Twice has to be agreed upon by both parties.
Although PokerStars is yet to officially announce where All-in Cash Out will be deployed, it is highly unlikely that, in the first instance, it will be available in PokerStars’ ring-fenced markets such as New Jersey and Southern Europe, the latter consisting of France, Portugal, and Spain. This is because these markets are among the most heavily regulated anywhere in the online poker world and this new cash-out feature could require a new license due to the fact cashing out one’s equity could be considered a different form of gambling than peer-to-peer.
Is the Concept Completely New?
PokerStars is often at the forefront of innovation when it comes to new games and features, but All-in Cash Out has existed previously, although in slightly different guises.
Players on the GGpoker Network have access to a similar feature known as All-in Poker Insurance. Cash game players on this network can take out insurance when they are all-in as a favorite, there are only two players remaining in the hand, there are 14 or fewer outs that their opponent can catch to win, and the total pot is at least 10 times the size of the big blind.
In 2012, a company called InsuredPlay offered to insure cash game players against bad beats at Full Tilt, on the iPoker Network, partypoker, and PokerStars. InsuredPlay ceased trading after only 16-months, citing undisclosed difficulties.
Poker tournament players had the option to protect themselves against bursting the money bubble in 2011 via a company called Bubble Protection. For a cost of 12% of the total entry fee of the tournament, players would receive their buy-in back if they finished on or around the bubble. Like InsuredPlay, however, the company did not last long and is now defunct.
Will This Feature Be Widely Used?
There are no statistics currently available as to how many of PokerStars’ .NET clients have cashed out during hands, but one cannot help thinking this new feature takes away the essence of poker. Part of the game’s thrill is being all-in as you have your stack at risk. Bad beats happen and can be frustrating, but they are part of poker’s make-up, dealing with losing is crucial to long-term success.
It also smells of a cash grab by PokerStars as they not only guarantee themselves 1% of the cashing out player’s equity in a hand but also stand to win the additional money from the pot should a bad beat occur.