PokerStars answers players complaints and introduces ‘Time to Act’

  • PokerStars getting ready to roll out new time setting on July 31st
  • Players will have less time to act on their decisions before the flop, which is certain to appeal to recreational players

Many of those familiar with online poker know that players taking inordinate amounts of time to act on even the simplest of decisions are one of the most annoying things plaguing online tables.

This phenomenon, often referred to as ‘tanking’ is caused by players playing way too many tables simultaneously and PokerStars seems keen to finally put a stop on it.

pokerstars launches time to act

The biggest online poker operator has decided to introduce settings called ‘Time to Act,’ which will be applied to cash game tables. These changes should kick in on July 31, and should answer the increasing number of complaints about excessive tanking.

Significant time bank decreases

Under the current settings, players are given 18 seconds to act before the flop if there is no raise in front of them and 25 seconds when facing a raise. Under the new ‘Time to Act’ settings, this amount will be decreased to 12 and 15 seconds, respectively.

The operator believes this is still plenty of time to make a decision, so it will not influence the quality of games, but it will address the concerns about slow pace of the tables. Initially, these changes will be tested at the lowest limits, $2 No Limit Hold’em and $2 Pot Limit Omaha cash games.

Once the time expires, the Timebank will automatically kick in. Every player has 30 seconds in their Timebank, and the number increases by 10 seconds with every 50 hands played at a particular table. PokerStars announced there will be no changes in regards to the Timebank for the time being.

What does this mean for the players?

Many recreational players will undoubtedly be thrilled with this announcement. Those playing one or two tables and looking to have a good time are the ones bothered the most about excessive tanking. Admittedly, it can be extremely annoying to have to sit around doing nothing as two or three players at your table spend nearly all of their time only to fold every hand.

For professionals used to playing six, seven, or even more tables, this feels like another move against them. A few seconds may not seem like a lot, but shuffling between several tables can be very taxing and those extra seconds mean a lot.


Whenever these types of changes happen, the debate always turns into a “is this good for poker” argument. The truth is, it is hard to say without having access to a lot of information that only PokerStars is privy to. One thing is certain, though. If online poker is to live on and attract new recreational players, it has to maintain its fun element – and playing 20 hands an hour because everybody is timing out isn’t fun and it is very frustrating for someone just wanting to relax. PokerStars has shown lately it is more interested in attracting and keeping recreational players and, for better or for worse, that seems to be the path they are sticking to.

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