PokerStars has distinguished itself this year with limited-time introductions of new poker variants. It is now possible that the online poker giant will bring two of them, Showtime and Split Hold’em, back for multi-table tournaments.
In an interview with Poker Industry Pro, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset indicated that the games might reappear due to player feedback.
“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,” said Rasset.
What are all these PokerStars variants?
So far in 2018, PokerStars has released and withdrawn three different games. All three offered different mechanics and strategies for players to attempt to master.
The first variant, Split Hold’em debuted in March 2018. The concept was relatively simple: every hand would feature two full boards of community cards – two flops, two turns, and two rivers.
Essentially, it’s an entire game of running it twice. Each board would be worth half the pot. Players could win on either board or, potentially, scoop the entire pot.
Pots in this variant would typically be larger than an average Hold’em game. Players would have less idea why an opponent bet or which boards the opponent was betting.
Split Hold’em ran until May 2018. Then, PokerStars introduced Showtime Hold’em to the masses.
Compared to Split Hold’em, Showtime Hold’em was less of a shift from typical gameplay. Instead, the twist would occur when a player folded their cards.
Any players who folded would have their hands revealed to the entire table, The folded hands would remain visible for the rest of the hand.
There are two ways this twist would affect the game. The first is obvious: it became much easier to understand the type of opponents at a table.
Tight players accustomed to getting paid off might get folds. Loose players accustomed to getting folds might get called more often.
The other main difference would be that the odds would need calibration. The knowledge that certain cards had or had not been involved already would be invaluable information for marginal decisions.
The game introductions keep rolling at PokerStars
Rasset’s comments coincided with the site’s withdrawal of another variant, Unfold. As with the other two formats, PokerStars ran Unfold in a six-week trial period.
In Unfold, players contributed antes to a side pot at the beginning of each hand. After the flop, a folded player could match the side pot and retrieve their mucked cards.
The best “Unfolded” hand would receive the pot. However, folded players had no shot at the main, and could take no further action after buying back in.
Amazingly, PokerStars is not finished with running new variants out for players to try. In fact, PokerFuse is reporting that the site will release two more games in 2018 – Six Plus Hold’em and Fusion.
Six Plus Hold’em is also called Short Deck, and as its name implies, the game plays with all cards under six removed. The result is a Hold’em game with a tighter range of holdings for everyone at the table.
The game made a big splash at Macau this summer, with poker pro Nick Schulman winning his first short deck tournament in July. Undoubtedly, PokerStars players have been clamoring to try it out.
PokerStars will also roll out Fusion. Fusion remains a bit of a mystery, but will combine elements of different games.
In short, players of all calibers will not fail to find something new on PokerStars. Even though it’s the largest site on earth, PokerStars doesn’t seem to be resting on its laurels.