PokerStars removed the new cash game Split Hold’em from its lobby this week, but according to Poker Industry PRO (pay wall), it will soon be replaced with another new game type.
Split Hold’em was well received by players, but it must not have generated the rake that PokerStars wanted, or else it would still be alive. The game was just like regular Texas Hold’em, except for one very important difference: two sets of community cards are dealt simultaneously. In order to win the entire pot, a player must have the best five-card hand twice – once with the top board and once with the bottom board. Obviously, this changes strategy, as, for instance, a player can flop something great on one board only to be stoned on the other. Do you just go for a split pot? Do you try to force others out of the hand? Is the player to your right betting hand into the top board or the bottom board?
It was an interesting game and many players will likely be sad to see it go.
According to Poker Industry Pro, PokerStars has updated its PokerStars.net software client with three new table images depicting three new games: Showtime Hold’em, Spin & Goal, and PokerStars Fusion. The question is, of course, will these all be temporary promotional offerings or does PokerStars intend to have one or more of them possibly be permanent fixtures?
Let’s get Spin & Goal out of the way, as it is almost certainly not going to be a permanent offering. PokerStars has a history of introducing short-term promotional Spin & Go’s in conjunction with some sort of event and I’d bet my bottom dollar that Spin & Goal’s will be run in conjunction with this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
That brings us to the other two, neither of which provide a ton of clues as to what they actually are. Anuj Arora of Poker Industry PRO thinks this Showtime Hold’em could be a variation on traditional Hold’em (makes sense, since Hold’em is in the name). The “Showtime” part is the question. Arora believes it could involve players “showing” a hole card at some point.
“The name hints that players will be showing one of their hole cards at some stage of the hand — perhaps before the betting on the flop, turn or river,” Arora wrote. “Alternatively, it could be mandatory to show one or both hole cards at showdown.”
Then there is PokerStars Fusion. Considering the name, both I and Arora guess that it will not be a Hold’em variant, as it would probably have Hold’em in the name. The “Fusion” portion hints that it may combine a couple games. Arora points to Irish Poker as an example of this; it is a combination of Hold’em and Omaha in which everyone is dealt four hole cards and then must get rid of two after the flop. Full Tilt once offered this game and since Full Tilt is owned by PokerStars, speculation is that PokerStars Fusion might end up to be a rebranded Irish Poker, but I have my doubts. Irish Poker already has a name – the only reason to rename it PokerStars Fusion is for marketing purposes.
Then again, PokerStars does lots of things for marketing purposes, so I wouldn’t rule it out completely.