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  1. With more poker players staying home nowadays, top online poker operators have recently ramped up their free home game offerings in a bid to be the platform of choice for poker players looking to play in a private game amongst friends. This week both PokerStars and 888poker have released new versions of their own variations of their private free-to-play platform, both of which now support mobile devices. PokerStars 'Home Games' Expansion In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, PokerStars has seen an explosion in the use of their free-to-play Home Games. According to the online operator, over 300,000 home games were set up in just the past three months. This has not only brought in new customers but also a new wave of user experiences and feedback. Previously planned upgrades to the PokerStars Home Games platform were “recently accelerated in response to customer feedback". The most notable upgrade is that now players can play on most mobile devices. Currently, Android devices are good to go, and support for iOS devices is reportedly coming very soon. Home Games has also been updated to include some of the game formats that had previously been unavailable. These include popular formats like Progressive Knock-Out and Total PKO tournaments. Players can also check out some more unique PokerStars offerings including Five- and Six-Card Omaha, 6+ Hold’em (Short Deck), Split Hold’em, and Fusion. PokerStars’ ‘Swap Hold’em’ will be added shortly as well. Updates were also made to simplify the process of creating cash games and tournaments by “making things cleaner and easier’ for the club managers. Late registration options have been extended with options of up to 90 minutes. New options for the speed of the tournament give managers four options from Hyper-turbos (3-minute levels) up to Slow (15-minute levels). 888poker Invites You To ‘Play With Friends’ 888poker was also quick to recognize that their private, free-to-play customers were looking to play while on-the-go. This week, 888poker also introduced the ability to go mobile. By downloading the mobile app, players can join a game set up by a manager who is on a PC. From a PC computer, the organizer will login and select the ‘Play With Friends’ tab. After the click 'Create New Game' they are prompted to build the event. Select a cash game or tournament and provide other pertinent details including the starting time, game name, and password. Once created, the Play With Friends home game will appear in the lobby. Just enter an email and the details of the game will be delivered to the organizer. From there, it can be forwarded to anyone chosen to play in the event.

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