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When it comes to offering players new and tweaked variants of poker, online giant PokerStars has been leading the race this year. The online gaming giant had introduced and then replaced the Split Hold‘em’ game with a new format – Showtime Hold‘em on its PokerStars client in May and followed it up with bringing in a football themed Spin & Goal variant in June. As per latest reports, yet another exciting game is on the cards. ‘Fusion’,a new cash game innovation is set to replace Showtime Hold ‘em in the cash game lobby across PokerStars’ software clients. And that’s not all. Soon, Fusion will give way to another, super-innovative variant, ‘Unfold’.
The frequent rollout of new poker games clearly indicates the huge resources that PokerStars has been putting in towards game innovation. The company had hinted in May, that Fusion would have a format inspired by Irish poker i.e. a mixed variant of Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha. While the complete details are yet to be revealed, it is surmised that the game will have the same rules as Hold‘em except that players are dealt four hole cards, two of which must be discarded after the flop.
Talking about the game’s launch on the PokerStars blog, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation & Operations Severin Rasset said, “The common goal of these innovations is [to] continue to maintain a high level of engagement from our active players, to reactivate players that may be tired of playing poker as it is today, and to speak to potential players that haven’t discovered the game yet.” He further added that his company has “been putting significant resource toward poker innovation.”
While Split Hold‘em that ran for six weeks was inspired by a common home game called Double Flop Hold‘em and had players facing two boards with the pot splitting between the best hand on each board, the Showtime Hold‘em game featured players having to reveal their hole cards every time they folded, but without the player winning the pot having to reveal his hand, in case he/she won before showdown.
Showtime Hold‘em encouraged players to bluff more often and was received well. PokerStars Team pros even played a Twitch session of the game and the PokerStars blog crew talked about how the game was closer to “Sklansky’s theory of poker.” After a nine-week run, the game has now been taken down.
Like these two variants, Unfold will be PokerStars’ new offering of the year that will entail a unique twist to the classic Hold‘em. Players will be able to unfold their hole cards and get back in the hand at some stage of the game.
There could also be a special ‘Unfold’ round during which the table will light up, and players who previously folded will be given one opportunity to undo their fold and return to the hand.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that PokerStars has floated by the idea of allowing mucked cards back into the hand. The concept was originally woven and was to be included as one of the power cards in the PokerStars ‘Power Up’ game. However, the power card feature never made it to the final version of the game.