Earlier this month, we reported that PokerStars was getting ready to launch “novelty game” tournaments based on new filters that were added to the PokerStars poker client. There was no indication as to when any of these tournaments would appear in the lobby, but now we have answers. On Friday, PokerStars announced that 6+ Hold’em tournaments will begin later this week.
The first 6+ Hold’em tournaments will be part of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) on Friday, May 17. It is SCOOP Event #22: 6+ Hold’em Six-Max; as it is SCOOP, there are three buy-in levels. The $22 tournament has a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool, the $215 tournament has a $100,000 guarantee, and the $2,100 tournament has a $250,000 guarantee. All of them begin at 2:30pm ET.
The SCOOP tournaments are the only novelty game tournaments listed in the PokerStars lobby right now. PokerStars said that $2.50, $7 and $15 6+ Hold’em Sit-and-Go’s will also be made available soon.
6+ a Different Animal
If any of the novelty games would become a more significant presence on PokerStars, it is 6+ Hold’em, as it has been gaining tons of momentum the last year or two, even in live poker rooms. 6+ Hold’em is an action game (as these new games tend to be) in which all cards valued at five and lower have been removed from the deck; the game is also called “Short Deck Hold’em” for that reason.
Because removing those cards from the deck changes the probabilities of hitting different hands, a Flush is now a stronger hand than a Full House and a Three-of-a-Kind is now better than a Straight.
Just One of Several Novelty Games
PokerStars began the concept of temporary cash games last year when Split Hold’em debuted in March. Showtime Hold’em was up next in May 2018; then it was Unfold in August and Fusion in November. 6+ Hold’em launched in January of this year and is still in the lobby, so it might be the first of the novelty games to be a permanent addition.
PokerStars received feedback from players that they enjoyed the novelty games and were disappointed they disappeared after a couple months. It wasn’t unreasonable for the games to be removed, as PokerStars offers loads of options already and more games have the disadvantage of diluting the player pool. But Stars hinted last fall that it may bring some back in tournament form, which is what has happened.
There are other novelty games that appear in the PokerStars tournament filter, though nothing has been scheduled yet: Showtime Hold’em, Showtime Omaha, and Fusion.
Showtime Games (Omaha was never one of the cash games) require players who fold to fold their cards face up and leave them like that for the rest of the hand. This has the potential to alter players’ strategies, as it would be hard to get away with the same play style throughout a session when people know what you are folding every time. It also provides players who remain in the hand much more information.
Fusion games start like Hold’em, but after the flop, players are given another hole card, and after the turn, yet another. The winner at showdown is the player who has the best Omaha hand.