I’ve always been a casual, micro-to-low stakes online poker player. Well, I was when I played online poker; living in Georgia makes things a bit more difficult nowadays. I played for fun, which is why I wish I could have been playing on PokerStars this year. I had no loyalty to the site when I did play (I did a lot of bonus hopping), but I would have had a blast with PokerStars’ novelty cash games, as they would have provided an entertaining change of pace from the norm. Unfortunately, most of them have been temporary. But maybe not! According to a Poker Industry PRO interview, PokerStars may bring back one or more of the novelty games in tournament form.
…By Popular Demand
Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, told Poker Industry PRO, “We are considering putting variants in, such as MTTs, because player feedback showed that they [would appreciate] this. Some players were disappointed that they could not find games when we turned them off, so this is something that we want to potentially offer.”
Rasset also heavily implied that at least one more new game is ready for takeoff, lauding the fact that PokerStars released four different No-Limit Hold’em variants this year “and we still have three months to go.”
Some Potential Revivals
The wildest variant was released in April, a game called Split Hold’em. In this one, two separate sets of community cards were dealt and in order to win the entire pot, a player had to create the best five card hand twice – one with the top row of community cards and one with the bottom row. And that’s using the same hole cards.
Most hands in Split Hold’em were destined to result in chopped pots, with different players winning the top board and bottom board.
Shortly after Split Hold’em came Showtime Hold’em. This was certainly an action game, as it heavily punished anyone who folded (beyond not allowing them to win the hand, obviously). When someone folded, their hole cards were made visible to everyone at the table. This meant play styles were quickly found out; if you didn’t want people to know what you were holding, you had better get aggressive and hope everyone folded to you. Additionally, the players remaining in the hand now had more information, causing approaches to alter as hands went on.
This summer, PokerStars launched Unfold, which was originally intended to be a permanent game. In Unfold, all players were required to pay an ante into an “unfold pot.” After the flop and before the flop betting round, those who folded pre-flop were given the option to “unfold” and re-enter the hand with their original hole cards. To do this, they were required to place a bet equal to the unfold pot.
The players who unfolded were only eligible to win the unfold pot and whatever had been added to it. They also did not make any more decisions on the turn or river; once they unfolded, that was it, they just waited for the hand to finish. The players who had never folded just kept playing as normal, vying for the main pot.
The two games that are suspected to be next, based on table graphics discovered by Poker Industry PRO, are Six-Plus Hold’em and Fusion.