PokerStars, not known for being shy about introducing new games, has given players yet another novel offering. So if you sit down at a Split Hold’em cash game table, don’t freak out thinking there is a glitch. What you are seeing is completely normal.
Split Hold’em plays just like regular Texas Hold’em except for one very key difference: two sets of community cards are dealt simultaneously. That means there are two flops, two turns, and two rivers. Each player is dealt just one pair of hole cards, though. Betting is just like it is in any Hold’em game, but players must keep track of what’s going on with two sets of board cards.
If a hand goes all the way to a showdown in Split Hold’em, players must make the best hand with both sets of community cards to scoop the entire pot. Think of it like needing to win the high and low hands in an Omaha Hi/Lo game, except here, you need both high hands. If one player has the best hand using the top set of community cards and another has the best hand using the bottom set of community cards, those two players split the pot.
As is the case in standard Hold’em (or really any other poker game), a player can win the entire pot by forcing his or her opponents out of the hand.
It will be interesting to see how the strategies work in Split Hold’em. Do players loosen up their starting hand standards because they have an extra chance to win the hand? Do players stay in hands longer because they have more opportunities to win a piece of the pot (I would guess the answer to this is yes)? Is it a fool’s errand to play for a split pot or is trying to grab a little bit of dead money wise decision?
I would think it will definitely be much hard to read one’s opponents, you won’t easily know which board they are playing or if they have something legit for both. Turn and river percentages will also change, as more information will be known. I might have a heart flush draw with the top board, but if there is a heart on the bottom board, I now know my draw chances have taken a hit.
Split Hold’em will also utilize the Seat Me system, which PokerStars says is the first time this will be implemented for its “global liquidity player pool,” meaning the .COM site. Seat Me is an automated seating system, getting rid of the ability for players to choose their table and seat. Instead, players will just choose to play Split Hold’em and the stakes for which they want to play and the software will find them a seat. The main goal of this is to reduce bumhunting and stymie seating scripts that allow players to hunt down weaker players and sit with them. If someone wants to play Split Hold’em, they will have to actually play, not keep jumping tables to find their preferred target.