Fast-fold poker, also known as speed poker, is an extremely popular variation of the card game in which after folding a hand, the player is immediately switched to another table. Speed poker is rumored to be the variation played on one out five occasions during online cash games.
According to industry experts, Full Tilt Poker was the first to introduce the fast-fold variant with it Rush Poker product. Now that Poker Stars acquired FTP’s players and their rights, talks of patenting speed poker are spreading in the gambling industry.
Poker Stars, now the operators of Rush Poker as well as their own fast-fold version Zoom Poker, is now considering the chances to patent the concept.
The company’s legal chief Paul Telford said in a statement to the American gambling news: “We are doing a full review of our Rush patent applications and will cross reference these with our existing Zoom patent applications to ensure we have broad protection in the area of fast fold poker.”
Telford added: “If necessary, we will use these patents to protect the inventive elements of the Rush and Zoom products and are working closely with our legal advisers to develop a coordinated patent enforcement strategy.”
Other online poker sites in United States and worldwide offering fast-fold games are Relax Gaming with Fast Poker, Microgaming with Blaze Poker, Party Poker with FastForward and Playtech’s iPoker with iSpeed Hold’em.
The competitors are keen on opposing Poker Star’s legal efforts, because a patent protection in accordance with the American gambling laws would mean a significant commercial value for Poker Stars and Full Tilt. Industry analysts value that several hundreds of millions of dollars could be at stake.
Some industry players state that such a patent would be unenforceable. They emphasize that Poker Stars had actually launched its Zoom Poker well before even thinking of acquiring Full Tilt, therefore the firm had no intention to admit that Full Tilt had an exclusive right for the fast-fold variant that time.