Cards and chips on green felt casino table

PokerStars.net Launches All-in Cash Out Tables

Poker is a fun game, but it is a game that is replete with moments that feel terrible. Chief among these moments is getting sucked out on for a hefty pot. You get your money in as a heavy favorite and oops, the poker gods hate you. If you play on PokerStars, you may soon have the chance to avoid those monitor-breaking situations in the future. On its free-to-play platform, PokerStars.NET, the online poker room has implemented the “All-in Cash Out” feature on select tables, giving players the opportunity to bank the equity they have during an all-in and avoid the heartbreak of a two-outer.

Don’t want to take a chance? Take your money right away!

The way it works is a little wonky, so let’s take it slowly. When a hand reaches a situation where a player is all-in and called with no more action left to come, play is paused and the players involved are presented with an option: continue or “cash out.”

If all players opt to continue, the hand just plays out as normal, with the rest of the community cards dealt and the pot being awarded to the winner.

Any player who decides to cash out – regardless of whether or not they are the one who is all-in – is paid a percentage of the pot based on their equity in the hand. The equity percentages are displayed on the table so that the players know what their chances of winning are and therefore how much they will be paid. The payment is not actually taken out of the pot. Instead, PokerStars just pays the player and the pot remains on the table.

Choosing a cash out comes with a price. PokerStars takes one percent of the payout of whoever wins.

Perhaps an illustration would be better

For example, let’s say Player A goes all-in after the flop and Player B calls, creating a pot of $100, with Player A as a 60 percent favorite to win. No other players remain in the hand. At an All-in Cash out table, the hand would pause and both players would be given the option to “Resume Hand” or “Cash Out.” If they both choose to resume the hand, the turn and river are dealt as normal and that’s that.

If, though, Player A wants to cash out, Player A would receive 60 percent of $100 directly from PokerStars’ pocket, less the one percent tax for choosing that option. Player A would win $59.40 – the one percent is taken from Player A’s share, not from the total pot. Similarly, if Player B wanted to cash out, he would receive $39.60, 40 percent of $100 ($40), minus one percent ($0.40).

If both players cash out, the hand ends right there. No more cards are dealt.

That was easy. Wrap your head around this.

Where it gets a bit weird, and frankly a little confusing, is if only one player chooses the cash out option (we’re still going with the two-player example to make things a little easier). If Player A cashes out, but Player B resumes the hand and then Player A wins, PokerStars itself – the house – takes the pot. Yes, that’s right.

So in our scenario, Player A got $59.40 for the cash out and is no longer eligible to earn any more chips in the hand, but since Player A won said hand (as Player B wanted to play it out), Player B obviously can’t receive any chips. Thus, PokerStars just takes the $100 pot. PokerStars always makes money from cash game hands because of the rake, but in this situation, the house just profited nearly $40. It paid Player A $59.40 for the cash out and then took the $100 pot. As weird as it is, actually makes sense, since neither player has a claim on the pot by the end of the hand.

Of course, there is the reverse scenario, one where PokerStars loses. What if Player B wins the hand when he wanted to resume and Player A took the cash out? Player A still gets $59.40, but Player B can’t be penalized for wanting to continue, so he still wins the entire $100 pot. In this case, PokerStars loses money, as it just gave away $59.40.

Needless to say, PokerStars would not implement All-in Cash Out if it was afraid of losing money. Just like the casino loses some and wins some in blackjack or craps or roulette, PokerStars is going to win some and lose some in All-in Cash out. In the long run, though, that one percent tax amounts to extra rake it is taking from the pot and that extra rake will make PokerStars the big winner.

In fact, the initial reaction from the poker community is that this is a terrible deal for players, as it is an added rake. Additionally, the Run It Twice option has been taken away from the All-in Cash Out tables. Run It Twice is another way to reduce variance, but doesn’t come with additional rake. The flip side of that coin is that Run It Twice requires all players involved to opt-in and All-in Cash Out is a guaranteed payout. Fortunately, players are not required to press the cash out button and can always play out the hand as normal.

Even if a player never selects the cash out option, though, the effects of an All-in Cash Out table will be felt. Logic would dictate that with the cash out protection available, players will be less afraid to make big moves. This changes the table dynamic from a regular table and naturally creates more action and larger pots. That is certainly a good thing for PokerStars (along with the one percent tax); whether players themselves like it is up to the individual.

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