Cash game players can now cash out of all-in pots, reducing risk and securing some financial value for their equity.
We’ve all had those moments where you’re all-in and ahead in a big cash game pot, but you’ve got a bad feeling your hand won’t hold up. Up until now you’ve had to cross your fingers and hope for the best, but with PokerStars’ new All-in Cash Out feature, you can get out while the getting’s good.
When all-in with no action pending, players will be offered a choice to cash out or let the hand run as normal. So, in those spots where you’re ahead but have a bad feeling, or those hands you’re dominated and want to cut your potential losses instead of hoping to suck out, you can lock up an amount which is added directly to your stack.
The feature will only be available at the micro-stakes ($0.01/$0.02, $0.02/$0.05, $0.05/$0.10) of No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha and 6+ Hold’em cash games (ring games only).
Here’s a look at how things can play out:
All-in Cash Out amounts will be offered to eligible players in all-in situations, on any street, who have a winning probability of over 0% and under 100%, with additional cards to come.
If a player declines the Cash Out, the hand will play out as normal for them, with the whole pot being shipped their way if they win.
If an opponent opts to Cash Out, however, the pot remains the same and the hand plays out as normal but the player who Cashed Out is no longer eligible to win the pot. If the Cashed Out hand goes on to win, the pot goes to PokerStars rather than the Cashed Out player.
If both players choose to Cash Out, their stacks with be credited with their Cash Out amounts, then the rest of the hand is dealt with the pot going to PokerStars.
If neither player chooses to Cash Out, the pot runs out in the normal way.
Don’t like the sound of this new feature? No problem. Players can opt-out of All-in Cash Outs entirely by visiting the ‘Settings’ menu in the PokerStars client. You will then no longer be presented with the option to Cash Out (although other players may still utilise the feature).
How is the All-in Cash Out amount calculated?
Opting to Cash Out does not affect the probabilities of either yourself or your opponents winning the hand outright in any way.
Your hand value is calculated according to the probability of your cards winning the pot. When offering the Cash Out amount, a 1% fee is applied to your hand value (not the entire pot). When that 1% equals less than $0.01, no fee will be applied.
Can players still Run It Twice (RIT)?
If both players do not Cash Out and have RIT enabled, they will get to Run It Twice.
If one player Cashes Out, the other player will run it once against PokerStars. This decision was made in order to speed up the game and simplify the flow.
With RIT there’s no guarantee for any player that their opponent will also have RIT enabled, so the impact should be minimal.
Are dead cards taken into consideration?
Dead cards are those which have already been folded by non-all-in players during the hand.
These cards are not taken into consideration when an All-in Cash Out amount is determined. Only the cards known to the players at the time of the potential Cash Out (your own cards, your opponent’s cards, and the board cards) are considered when calculating equity and the Cash Out amounts.
Isn’t there a conflict of interest between PokerStars and the players?
This is a very serious subject, so let’s break it down.
With this new All-in Cash Out feature, players are going up against the house (PokerStars) and not other players. This leads to the question of vested interest.
Would PokerStars manipulate the cards in order to get the result that is most beneficial to us?
In no way whatsoever will PokerStars manipulate the dealing of any cards. The only way that PokerStars will make any direct revenue from this feature is through the 1% surcharge. While PokerStars will take the pot in hands where a player has Cashed Out but then goes on to win the hand, overall the number of pots won and lost will balance out according to Expected Value (EV).
Therefore, PokerStars will only break even in this regard, and subsequently the only revenue we will receive will come from the 1% surcharge.
It’s worth noting again that the All-In Cash Out feature in entirely optional. If you don’t like the sound of it, you can opt-out of All-in Cash Outs entirely by visiting the ‘Settings’ menu in the PokerStars client.
What are the pros and cons of All-in Cash Out?
- Players are offered more control
- It reduces variance
- It can help players avoid downswings in poker
Negatives (from player’s point-of-view)
In effect this is very similar to playing in an online casino. There has to be an element of trust from players that the game is fair.
PokerStars has developed a reputation over almost 20 years. There is absolutely no way we would risk this by attempting to influence any results. The potential downside is far greater than any potential upside. It simply does not make business sense, and when coupled with the fact that PokerStars is highly regulated, be assured that the dealing of cards will remain as random as it has always been.
We’re sure that some players will love the All-in Cash Out feature, and others will hate it. The good news is it’s entirely optional for each player (you can opt-out entirely in the ‘Settings’ menu).
Players who choose to opt-out will still have to adapt to playing against players who elect to be offered Cash Out amounts though. The skill element comes from navigating these situations. For example, if you know an opponent has All-in Cash Out enabled, would you be more likely to call with a wider range of hands? It’s situations like this which could become very interesting.
This is one of the reasons we feel it is important to have a fee. In order for it to remain poker, and that there is skill in the decision, each player must decide for themselves whether it is worth it.
Why has this feature been introduced?
We’re always looking for ways to enhance our offering, in this case by responding to something that we know has happened in live cash games for years. In many ways, All-in Cash Out is a more advanced version of Run It Twice, but without the requirement for both players to agree.
It simply gives players the option to lower their variance and lock-up a share of the pot in certain situations.
Doesn’t it take the fun out of poker and add incentive for players to collude?
It’s probably best to answer this in two parts.
Run it Twice has been in play for some time now. All-In Cash Out is simply the equivalent of running it infinite times. In fact, because All-In Cash Out is optional, it enhances the RIT feature. It only requires one player to opt-in, with more opportunity for players to weigh up the value and decide that the benefits of reducing variance outweigh the 1% on their EV.
Collusion is, of course, something we continuously consider and prepare for. It’s against our terms of service, and we have detection systems in place that we’ve designed specifically to address and prevent it.
Will PokerStars introduce this feature to tournaments?
There are no current plans to have a similar feature for tournaments.