You know what’s the worst? Folding trash hole cards pre-flop only to see that you would have had the sneaky best hand and a shot to scoop a huge pot. Well, I suppose the worst is having your Aces cracked or your opponent hit a one-outer on the river, but you catch my drift. Well, now PokerStars is giving players the chance to right a wrong. After a short bit of speculation that the game was on its way, PokerStars launched “Unfold” last week, which, as the name implies, allows players to snatch their cards back out of the muck and give it another go.
But alas, it is not quite as simple as unfolding whenever you want to and continuing with the hand. There are some rules and restrictions.
To start, players can only unfold when the flop is dealt, prior to the flop betting round. You get one chance, and that’s it. No waiting until the river to see that you have the nuts. Before the flop betting starts, everyone who folded pre-flop is given a few seconds to decide if they want to unfold.
Everyone dealt into the hand – unfolding or not – puts up an ante that goes into the “unfold pot.” Those who make the choice to unfold must pitch in an amount of chips equal to that unfold pot; the privilege to unfold is not a free one.
Looking at the PokerStars.com cash game lobby, the stakes for Unfold games range from $0.01/$0.02 through $1/$2. Aside from the two lowest stakes, the unfold ante is one-third of the big blind (it is higher for those two stakes because the math dictates as much – it’s tough to have an ante that is one-third of two cents).
Once everyone who had folded pre-flop makes their decision to unfold or not to unfold (that is the question), the hand moves along. Those who did not fold keep playing as they always would in any hold’em affair and compete for the main pot. The players who unfolded, though they are back in the hand, do not play anymore. They just wait for the turn and river cards to be dealt – kind of like they are all-in – and then see which of them has the best hand. The unfolded player with the best five-card hand wins the unfold pot, which is completely separate from the main pot.
There are three instances in which all unfold antes will be returned to players:
• The main pot is decided pre-flop
• Fewer than two players fold pre-flop
• No players choose to Unfold
Those all clearly make sense, as with each situation, there is no unfold contest to be hand. That said, if only one player decides to unfold, that player automatically wins the unfold pot. It won’t amount to much money, but it’s more than zero. Additionally, at least four players must be dealt cards for an unfold ante to be collected and the unfold mechanism to be in play.
Unfold is slated to be a permanent addition to the PokerStars cash game lobby.