Bodog’s New Zone Poker (Re)-Introduces Fast-Fold Poker to US Players
Bodog’s recent launching of its new fast-fold poker variant, Zone Poker, adds the network to the growing lineup of online-poker companies that have chosen to implement a variant of fast-action poker to their lineups.
For Bovada, the US-facing skin of Bodog, it’s the first fast-fold action available since Full Tilt exited the US market on Black Friday, some 28 months back. In early 2011, Full Tilt was alone in having a fast-fold product, Rush Poker, though its success stirred quick imitations throughout the industry.
The rush was so fast, in fact, that PokerStars, which acquired all rights to the Full Tilt software in 2012 as part of its own settlement with the US Department of Justice, announced later last year that it would pursue patent protection of its fast-fold variants, which included the original Rush Poker on FTP and Stars’ later version, called Zoom Poker.
Back then, PokerStars general counsel Paul Telford offered a brief statement to pokerfuse which included the following: “We are doing a full review of our Rush patent applications and will cross reference these with our existing Zoom patent applications to ensure we have broad protection in the area of ‘fast fold poker.’ If necessary, we will use these patents to protect the inventive elements of the Rush and Zoom products and are working closely with our legal advisors to develop a co-ordinated patent enforcement strategy.”
The thing, though, was that Stars had already launched Zoom Poker in March 2012, three months before it actually acquired the Full Tilt software. Full Tilt never actively pursued patent protection for Rush Poker before its Black Friday-induced demise, and several other networks offered their own fast-fold variants before Stars even entered the mix.
All that adds up to a situation where Stars claims about a “broad patent protection” regarding fast-fold poker products might not amount to too much, and why Stars has yet to actually file an action against any of the other networks offering similar products.
Lengthy segue completed, it’s back to the latest entry in the niche, Bodog/Bovada’s Zone Poker. Zone Poker comes with a FAQ page (US / International). It’s fine for those new to the concept, but there’s not much new to see:
Here are some of the features of Zone Poker:
CHECK/FOLD NOW or FOLD NOW button are [sic] available, allowing players to fold hands and move to a new table with new cards much quicker than before.
Cuts down on time between hands, allowing players to wait less and see more cards.
When a player folds their cards or the hand ends, a table sliding animation will be shown to transition towards the next table and hand.
What’s interesting at Bodog or Bovada isn’t that they’ve installed a fast-fold product, it’s that it took them so long to join this bandwagon. Fast-fold products are designed for action junkies who just need to clicking their mice as often as possible, and that’s been a definite need for Bodog, to find ways to get more action from their players.
Remember, Bodog is the anonymous-player network, where HUDs and similar artificial software aids are largely rendered useless. Without screens full of secondary data to scan, Bodog’s players are actually far less busy than grinders on other sites; it’s safe to say that there probably aren’t mass quantities of grinders on the site.
Remember, too, the second reason for that: Bodog (and Bovada) have the lowest number of multiple tables allowed for any single player, at four. Compare that against a site such as Stars, where 24 tables is the cap (with special exceptions), and that raises a serious business question: Has Bodog left business on the table?
Since Bodog is the largest US-facing network and has a significant international presence as well, one would think they’d like to shore that up, assuming the answer might be yes. Perhaps there are network speed and connectivity issues to consider, as Bodog’s software has always been a bit clunky.
Clunky or not, it’s been an issue. The site’s been at least a generation behind most of its competitors in learning how to squeeze the maximum amount of action out of that segment of its customer base that simply wants more action — whether that’s more tables or more clicking via a fast-fold variant. Last week’s introduction of Zone Poker might be a step toward closing that gap.