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PokerStars Experiments with New All-In Cash Out Feature

Pocket aces cash

Every poker player lives in fear of the proverbial bad beat, but online poker giant PokerStars is experimenting with a new tool for players that could take bad luck out of the equation.

The new feature, which PokerStars is branding as “All-in Cash Out,” would allow players to cash out their equity in a situation where they are worried about getting unlucky.

For instance, if a player was all-in pre-flop with pocket aces against an opponent with pocket jacks, they could use the All-in Cash Out tool to cash out their equity (in this case, it would be 80 percent).

That means if the pot were $100, the player with aces would immediately “cash out” $80 and wouldn’t have to worry about what happens on the flop, turn or river.

PokerStars would take a small fee of one percent from the player in order to “buy” the player’s hand and take on the risk of getting aces cracked.

It’s a potentially game-changing feature that could save players’ bankrolls from bad runs of variance in certain situations. For the time being, PokerStars is experimenting with the feature on the micro-stakes tables of its real-money cash games.

PokerStars Takes Risk … For a Fee

So why would PokerStars take on the risk of getting a good hand cracked? The company has a much, much bigger bankroll than the average player.

Because PokerStars is a massive publicly traded company, it has the coffers to soak up a huge amount of variance.

PokerStars can afford to go on downswings and still come out on top in the long run. The math is solid and the company is also benefiting from the one percent that it takes from players who choose to “cash out” in the middle of a hand.

The All-In Cash Out feature is available currently at select micro-stakes cash game tables. It’s only available to players who are all-in with no action pending.

It’s worth noting that players can use the feature when they are dominating a hand and are scared of getting unlucky, but they can also use it when they are crushed as a little consolation for a hand they are most likely going to lose.

If any player does decide to use the All-In Cash Out feature, it does not affect the other player in the hand at all. The board will be dealt as normal and the player will win or lose the exact same amount regardless of All-In Cash Out.

Players can opt out completely from All-In Cash Out in settings if they don’t want any part of the feature.

Similarities to ‘Running it Twice’

While the All-In Cash Out is a pretty outlandish new feature for an online poker site, it’s actually similar to something that’s been around for ages in live cash games.

For years, real-life cash game players have utilized a system called “Running it Twice” to limit the amount of variance in their games.

Running it twice was simply an agreement that players would make to deal out two boards, giving players more of a chance to hit their cards. If a player wins on one board but loses the second one, then it’s a chop pot.

This is particularly useful for players who are playing big games and their bankroll would have trouble sustaining the loss of having their pocket aces cracked in an extremely unlucky scenario.

If you have an unlimited bankroll, and you are a good poker player, then there’s really no point to schemes like Running it Twice or All-in Cash Out.

Essentially, Running it Twice, and the new All-In Cash Out, is a form of insurance for players.

PokerStars Becomes the ‘House’

It remains to be seen whether any of the other major online poker sites will add a version of the All-In Cash Out but the feature isn’t completely without criticism.

One of the guiding principles of poker (online or live) is that you are competing against other players and not the casino.

The casino takes a flat rake from the game and has no investment into how each individual hand plays out. Traditionally, the casino makes the same amount of money regardless of whether you get extremely lucky or unlucky at the table.

The All-In Cash Out changes that philosophy and PokerStars would directly benefit if your All-In Cash Out ends up being for nothing. In the long run, it would break even, based on expected value, but it still gets the one percent fee.

The company has issued a statement saying that it won’t change the way it operates and its random number generator will function in the exact same way.

It’s up to players to decide how they feel about the feature, however, and there are plenty of other online poker sites if they ultimately decide they don’t like the direction that PokerStars is going with the All-In Cash Out.