The first decade of the 21st century saw major online poker sites gearing their software and promotional campaigns towards the acquisition of professional grade, high volume players of all stakes levels. In recent years, though, there’s been a major shift if the trade winds as more and more poker sites are catering to recreational players; the type that play single tables for entertainment as opposed to multiple tables to meet circadian profit quotas. PartyPoker is one such operator, and has spent much of 2014 integrating and enhancing its new ‘Casual Cash Game’ (CCG) tables.
Back in May, PartyPoker unveiled the new CCG format, which got mixed reviews from their substantial player base. For recreational players, it was a Godsend, but for grinders, it was a means to an end – more literally, the end of their fish hunting days at the online poker room. To this day, some love the concept while others are strongly opposed, but in the eyes of PartyPoker’s engineers, it’s been a highly successful innovation for the business. So successful, in fact, that they’ve announced another upgrade that will accommodate CCG fans of higher stakes levels.
According to a post by ‘Party_Rep’ that appeared yesterday on the popular online poker forums, TwoPlusTwo, the site’s Casual Cash Games will now be offering higher stakes up to $10/$20. Up until now, the highest stakes available in CCG format was $5/$10. “We believe the live and online poker community is full of mid/high stakes players who would enjoy playing 10/20 NL against other players who also only play in that one cash game on our site,” explained the online poker site’s community representative.
There is a very simple concept behind the CCG format at Party Poker. Recreational players generally play only a single cash game at a time. Therefore, if a player chooses to play on a CCG table, denoted by an unmistakable smiley face icon in the poker lobby, they will not be permitted to join any other cash game tables while seated in the CCG. If the player is already seated at a standard cash game, they will not be permitted to join the CCG table unless they close any other open cash game tables first.
The idea is to thwart sharks, who typically seek out casual players for their loose gameplay. A shark could certainly enter a CCG table and go after the fish, but it just doesn’t fit their profile. Sharks, by nature, are looking for fast action on multiple tables to increase their ROI. Playing a single table of fish might be profitable, but not nearly so lucrative as doing it on multiple tables at once.
Casual Cash Games do not offer any of the faster-paced gaming options either. There are no fast-forward table options and no hyper/turbo blinds. If a recreational player does wish to increase their action without exiting the CCG format, they do have the option of entering tournaments on the side. No additional cash game tables can be opened, but multiple tournaments are always an option.
The response to the new CCG enhancement was not taken well by everyone. Some complained that the traffic at $10/$20 cash tables was already low, and that the addition of that limit for CCG would wipe out what’s left of it. The majority of complaints, however, were that Party Poker needs to stop focusing so heavily on the recreational side of the platform and work on the core software, which many players have reported being buggy (i.e. freezing, malfunctioning, forcing closure, etc.) for months now.