PokerStars Has Been Granted a US Patent for Fast Fold Poker

PokerStars hasn’t yet been offered a license to operate in the regulated US market, however, based on recent reports, it seems pretty apparent they are very confident they will be able to gain a license in one of the yet-to-be-regulated US markets for online poker.

United States Patent and Trademark OfficeRational Group, which is the parent company of PokerStars, has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the fast-fold poker variant, Zoom Poker, which will become active on May 20. The patent is described as “Computer gaming device and method for computer gaming.”

Pokerfuse is of the opinion that, “This would effectively result in a PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker stranglehold over fast-fold online poker games in the United States.

Full Tilt Poker launched Rush Poker, the first fast fold poker variant which revolutionized the online poker landscape back in 2010, and clearly it is still riding on its success.

When playing fast fold poker, whenever a player folds a hand at one table, they get moved to a new table to face a set of different opponents. This effectively means that players are able to play many more hands as they are not required to wait around after folding to play another hand.

As a result, players could clear bonuses a lot quicker, and the serious grinders could climb through the different VIP levels faster than would be possible normally. It’s been a win-win for the poker room operators offering fast fold poker games as well, since it generates a lot more rake than the regular online poker games.

Due to the success of Rush Poker, it wasn’t long before Zoom Poker was introduced to the virtual felts on PokerStars. That happened back in 2012. Lawyer Bill Gantz, who is an intellectual property lawyer representing the online poker site on this matter, isn’t incredibly confident that the patent will stand the test of time, saying in an article featured on that, “The amendments which allowed this patent to issue should seem obvious to the entire poker industry and there should be ample grounds for vigorously challenging this patent.”

The number of patent rejections for fast fold poker date back as far as 2005, according, according to a report presented by US-based Robert Burnside and Jerry Biesel are listed as inventors of Hold ‘em One, Inc, which they filed a patent application for. This concept was also described as, “Computer gaming device and method for computer gaming”, which could mean anything, but when you look at the abstract of the patent application, it is referring to fast fold poker as we know it today.

PokerStars acquired Full Tilt Poker after making a deal with the U.S. DoJ. After gaining control of Full Tilt Poker’s assets including their intellectual property, they had every intention of securing these patents to protect one of their core online poker offerings in that of Rush and Zoom Poker.

According to Bill Gantz, the fast-fold poker games that are being offered outside of the United States will not be affected. That said, the approval of the patent is expected to have an impact on the wider US market, with existing operators who legally operate in the regulated online poker market not being permitted to offer variations of the fast fold poker game.

So this could be a frustrating process in the months ahead for operators such as PartyPoker who are operating in the same market and offer their very own variant of fast fold poker. Because of this it’s expected that the current US operators affected by this patent will look to secure their own intellectual property so they can continue to offer fast fold poker games in the United States.