In a move that likely came as a disappointment to some, but hopefully a surprise to nobody, PokerStars removed the specialty game Showtime Hold’em from its cash game lobby on Monday. This was a scheduled change and is something that PokerStars has done before. The more interesting thing is that the online poker room has teased a new game, “Unfold.”
Players Couldn’t Hide in Showtime Hold’em
Showtime Hold’em was introduced in May and the play while a person was active in a hand was exactly the same as any other hold’em game. The massive difference came in when a player folded. Upon folding, a player’s hole cards were turned face up for the duration of the hand.
Thus, every time someone folded, everyone who was still remaining in the hand had more and more information. In a game of missing information, that is quite a big deal. Of course, all players at the table have the information, so it is even in that regard – what it comes down to is how players use that information.
Having to reveal hole cards upon folding also had the potential to affect how people played at the table going forward. Someone like me who is a total nit would be found out as a total nit. Would I have to loosen up my starting hand requirements to throw off my opponents? Would I perhaps be able to use that image to my advantage and pull off a big bluff later? The opposite holds true, too, as players who play garbage hands could easily be found out. The twist made for some interesting table dynamics and possible fluctuations in playing styles during a session.
Showtime Hold’em replaced another temporary cash game offering, Split Hold’em. In Split Hold’em, two sets of community cards were dealt and players had to form the winning five-card hand with both in order to win the entire pot. Split pots were common with one player winning the top board and one player winning the bottom board.
And now poker fans are waiting to find out what the deal is (no pun intended) with something called Unfold.
In a blog post yesterday, PokerStars said, “But, as one game steps down, the crew of poker remixologists at PokerStars finish cooking up something new to add to the rotation. No comment for now, but we reserve the right to reverse that statement – or Unfold it, if you will – very soon.”
Similarly, the poker room tweeted, “The eagle-eyed among you have noticed something new. We don’t comment on potential, unannounced future game features. However, we reserve the right to reverse this statement — or unfold it, if you will — in the near future.”
No further details were released, leaving players wondering what this new game could be. The obvious guess is that players may have the chance to “unfold” their hand and retrieve their mucked cards at some point. One would have to think that the privilege of doing that will come with a price. What price that will be and, for that matter, what Unfold will actually be all about, remains to be seen.