Back in the good old days, the days when I could play on the corrupt UltimateBet from the United States, I loved playing off the beaten path games. Crazy Pineapple was my favorite, a game in which you are dealt three hole cards and discard one after the flop. I was pretty darn good at it, mainly because this was back in the day where most people playing online poker didn’t know anything and as long as I had some semblance of strategy, I could clean up. This is all to say that I wish I could play on PokerStars right now, as the online poker room announced the launch of Fusion yesterday, a bonkers new cash game that I would have loved, even as it gave me fits.
As you might be able to tell by the name, Fusion combined two types of poker. Can you guess what they are? I bet you can. Correct! Texas Hold’em and Omaha.
The game begins like any other Hold’em game, as each player is dealt two hole cards. After the flop, though, everyone (everyone who is still in the hand, that is) is dealt yet another hole card. Three hole cards. Yikes. THEN…after the turn, everyone is dealt yet another hole card, giving everybody four pocket cards (the term “pocket” should be used more to refer to hole cards, not just when referring to a concealed pair).
At that point, the game is Omaha. At showdown, the winner is the one with the best five card hand using two hole cards and three community cards. Thus, in a way, the game is never really Hold’em, even though it begins as such, since hand strengths can change dramatically from street to street.
Thinking about it briefly, it feels like it is Omaha with limited information. In a regular Omaha game, you get all four hole cards at the outset, so you have a good idea what sort of potential your hand has. Obviously, things change based on the community cards, but you can plan accordingly from the get-go. If you are dealt A-A-K-Q, that’s great. If you are dealt A-A-8-3, that could still do something, but you know there’s a good chance someone is going to end up with something better, especially if neither Ace is suited.
In Fusion, if you are dealt pocket Aces, you know you have the start of an excellent Omaha hand, but that’s all you know. It could become A-A-K-Q or it could become A-A-8-3. You don’t have as much information as you would in Omaha, so you need to be much more flexible in your course of action as the hand plays out.
“We want to give our players games that they have never played before and bring a unique offering to the table,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, in a press release. “Fusion mixes two well-loved formats together, giving an exciting twist to the game. We eagerly await player feedback and look forward to seeing everyone joining the tables and giving Fusion a try.”
Like PokerStars’ other novelty games, Fusion will be a temporary offering.