The world's largest poker room PokerStars once again recently unleashed a new Sit-&-Go-style game dubbed Beat the Clock. The new game is prominently featured in the poker client with a tab in the main menu bar. Currently the game is available at both $1 and $3 buy in levels with players receiving 5,000 opening chips with the duration of the game lasting five minutes. It was rolled out initially in the Russian market with only $1 games; however, this weekend $3 games were added when it was rolled out to other markets including the dot-UK and dot-EU domains.
The game kicks when 48 players are registered with a stopwatch set at five minutes with some sound effects. Blinds start off at 200/400 with an ante of 80 and increase every minute with the final level being 500/1,000 with a 200 ante. Not only is it fast paced due to the quick increasing of blinds and five-minute duration, but also due to the game being held in Zoom Poker format at four-max tables. Players surviving the five minutes each share a portion of the prize pool based on their chip counts.
If successful, this could be rolled out to other games, buy-ins, durations and amount of players. There are drop down menus for each game but only the buy in drop-down menu allows players to choose between two types of games where every other selection just provides players one choice.While these games won't allow players to strike it rich like the popular lottery-style Spin & Go format, with players able to potentially win up to $1 million in a matter of minutes, they do provide a good alternative for those with just a few minutes to play or who want to grind a different style of a fast-paced game.
It could also prove popular to tournament grinders that began a session with many tables open and later on only have one or two games remaining. Rather than kick off more multi-table tournaments to further extend their session, they can instead fire off these games to compliment the games they are already playing. Beat the Clock is the third type of "new" game launched this year. Earlier this year, PokerStars launched Knockout Poker, which in effect is merely a rebranding of its bounty tournaments. In August, the online poker room launched Bubble Rush tournaments, which are hyper-turbo games that go until the bubble is reached before slowing down when the bigger prizes are on the line.