Quirky Game Attempts to Bring Online Multi-tabling to Live Arena

by , Dec 6, 2012 | 2:16 pm

One player per hand!? Dave’s multi-stacks at the debut spread-limit hold’em multi-action game @AriaPoker.

Aria Poker launched Multi Action Poker yesterday, a game designed to woo those tired of playing just one hand at a time in a live setting, and perhaps those who miss the concept of multi-tabling online.

In forums and at the tables, players questioned whether the game would succeed. Even some Aria dealers said they knew little about how it would be played. But the game’s inventor, Timothy Frazin, is counting on a hit. He said he’s conducted several trial runs and worked out many of the concerns.

Though a table with two dealer cutouts and wooden slats protruding from the rail might look confusing, the game is simple at its core. Each player is dealt two separate hands, placed over a red spot and a blue spot, separated by a wooden slat, for the respective hole cards and chip stacks.

There are nine players, two dealers facing each other in the center of the table, four decks (two being shuffled, two in play), and ideally two differently colored chip stacks.

“It’s like a football field,” observed one player checking out the new table for the Multi-Action game.

Twice the hands, twice the confusion, twice the rake! Multi Action Poker debuts this week in Las Vegas.

The game is played on a green and blue felt, with white lines marking off the locations for the seats, the wooden dividers, the colored spots, two chip trays, two shuffle machines, and two rake boxes with different table numbers.

(For the games being played yesterday, Aria reduced the rake to $3.)

On Tuesday @ARIAPoker tweeted: “Going to start with some limit hold’em, but will expand to anything demand dictates.”

In the days leading up to the debut, players and dealers around the room speculated about the new game.

“There are probably few places that could pull it off, but I think we can,” one dealer told me.

Another said: “I don’t know how you can focus on this table. There’s so much going on.”

A player chimed in: “They’re probably going to call the floor every other hand.”

In order to avoid confusion, or combining hands, the cards will be distinguishable on the front and back, Frazin said.

If a player takes a long time to make a decision on one hand, stopping the action, the other hand continues and the rest of the table is not left waiting on that one player.

Even the player who tanks on a tough decision will receive a new hand, but Frazin doesn’t expect that to slow down the play.

“If you’re going to stop and you can’t even look at those other cards, then you shouldn’t play this game,” he said. “You can do all those things and still go back and forth.”

Any variant of the game can be played at the table.

“It’s limitless depending on the skill of the player,” according to the game’s website mappoker.com. Which means, in live poker, it might be quite limited.

Frazin said he first thought of the idea for the game in 2007, but temporarily shelved it. He has played a little bit online, but he’s mostly a live player.

“I like action,” he said.

Frazin, a Dallas native, has been around the poker world for years. He made televised appearances as the pizza parlor-owning, Magic 8 Ball questioning World Poker Tour player a few years ago.

He didn’t shake the 8 Ball after asking it about Multi Action Poker, but he believes the new game will attract the action junkies and online grinders who might start to nod off at a typical hold’em table.

“More action and less boredom,” Frazin says.

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