Last week during the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Sanremo, PokerNews was treated to a presentation on the upcoming PokerStars 7 Client, PokerStars' seventh software update in 10 years. Lee Jones, head of PokerStars Home Games, demonstrated the Alpha-level version of the new client, including changes to the software and new features.
“We’ve made changes to the client to make it easier for new players,” Jones said. “We want it to be easy and fun for people that are new to poker and new to online poker. So that they can be comfortable in the environment, relax, and really enjoy themselves. Those of you who have been using the PokerStars software for years it’s no big deal to you, but I think we can all agree that it’s not the most newbie friendly software in the world.”
Part of making the client more user friendly to new players was a one-page streamlined registration process, and that leads to what is being called the “Quick Lobby”, which is a one-step click to being seated at a table, bought in, and waiting for the blinds. “We are trying to shorten the path for everybody, from getting into the client to having cards pitched at them. This is one of the first steps to doing that,” Jones explained.
The Quick Lobby features a graphical view of who is at the table, what their stack size is, and where seats are available relative to the button. If it’s a seat you desire, all you do is click on it and you’ll be taken straight to it. Players will be able to efficiently customize their desired buy-in range and the max number of players they want to play (i.e. heads-up, six-max, etc.).
The Quick Lobby will also feature an app bar on the right-hand side of the client. The controls, which are neatly laid out, include Settings, Tools, Help, Profile, School and My News, though they’re able to add different apps if so desired. “We can just make that a place you can come and see what’s going on at PokerStars, and in general have much better control, a much friendlier client, a client that will reflect the way that people like to use software now,” Jones said. “Again, it’ll be friendly to people who are new to poker.”
The Quick Lobby, which is fully customizable, is also complimented by a “Live Events” tab, which allows players to quickly and easily locate satellites into PokerStars popular land-based events such at the EPT, Latin American Poker Tour, and Asia Pacific Poker Tour. The Live Events lobby offers players everything they need to know about upcoming tournaments including when they start, the buy-in, prizes, and number of entrants.
“This is the kind of quick access to satellites that makes it very easy for people to understand what they want to do and how they want to do it,” Jones said in regards to the big green “Register Now!” button that provides one-click access. Furthermore, players will be able to search for more tournaments via a scrolling slider, or if they prefer, the traditional list view. “This Quick Lobby view is much easier and user friendly than the traditional airport departure list,” Jones added.
Complimenting the “Live Events” is a map feature that Jones and company hope introduces players to the various destinations. By clicking on certain areas on the map, you’ll be able to discover upcoming events, how to enter them, and what the venues have to offer. There is also a “News” area in the Quick Lobby that notifies players when new items are available, including updates on Team PokerStars Pros, tournament, and promotions.
“We’re very proud of our current software product. It’s taken good care of our customers and of us for the last 10 years, but anything like that, times change, and there comes a time when you want to start with something a bit fresher that reflects advances [in technology],” Jones concluded. “We think this client will be easier, and more efficient for the veterans, but most importantly it’ll be more inviting, friendlier, and more fun for the new players.”
PokerStars is currently going into closed beta with the new client, which will allow a select group of people to test it out. It will then move to an open beta, which means anyone who wants it could get it. “Obviously when you bring out a moderately big change like this, you want to go slowly and carefully to make sure that you don’t have any serious bug,” Jones said. The closed beta test could take some time, but players certainly have something to look forward to in the PokerStars 7 client.