Just over a month ago, PokerStars debuted a new cash game called Unfold, saying that it was a permanent addition to the lineup. Not much more than a month later, and PokerStars has reversed course, deciding to ditch the unique game. According to pokerfuse, which routinely breaks the news of new, upcoming PokerStars games, Unfold will be trash canned next week.
“Following a strategic review, we have made the decision to fold ‘Unfold’,” PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset, told pokerfuse, taking the opportunity to use the obvious poker lingo, as he should.
PokerStars is invested in creating and testing products and new variants of poker to suit a variety of player tastes. While not every new development will be a home run, we will keep trialing, listening to player feedback and analyzing engagement with our goal of continuing to offer fresh promotions, formats and updates that enhance our players’ experience and bring more people to the game.
Unfold is PokerStars’ take on what poker players fantasize about: being able to retrieve your cards from the muck when you see you would have made a great hand after you folded.
Let’s Tell You About the Game, Even Though It Will Be Gone Soon
In a game of Unfold, every player dealt into the hand contributes a special ante to an “unfold pot.” That ante is worth one-third of the big blind, except at the very lowest stakes. Any player who folds pre-flop then gets one chance to return to the hand after the flop, before the flop betting round. The players who unfold must pay a price equal to the unfold pot; after all, you don’t get to jump back into the hand for free.
After all the unfold decision are made, the players who did not fold pre-flop continue with the hand as they normally would. The players who unfolded just sit and wait – they do not get to take any more action. The original players who did not fold pre-flop compete for the main pot; the unfolders get no stake in that. Out of the players who unfolded, the one with the best hand at the river wins the unfold pot.
There are three natural instances in which the unfold antes are given back to the players:
• The main pot is decided pre-flop
• Fewer than two players fold pre-flop
• No players choose to Unfold
Those all make perfect sense, as there will be no unfolding in any of those cases. For the middle example, it wouldn’t be fair to let the sole person to fold just unfold and automatically win the unfold pot, though if multiple people fold pre-flop and then only one person decides to unfold, that person does win the unfold pot by default.
PokerStars didn’t explain exactly why it has decided to do away with Unfold, but from Severin’s statement and general logic, it must not be very popular. And a lack of popularity means lack of profit. Personally, I wonder if the ante is the problem, as players might not be too thrilled with having to pay up every hand when they don’t know how often they will even compete for the unfold pot.