PokerStars Kills Off Unpopular Unfold Poker, Could Short Deck Be on Tap?

September 12th, 2018 by CardsChat News

PokerStars’ latest attempt at innovation will be a short-lived one, as the company is tossing the concept of “Unfold Poker” into the muck.

Unfold Hold'em

PokerStars had hoped Unfold Poker would be a hit, but not so much. (Source: PokerStars School)

The game variation — which allowed people to pick up and play cards which they had already folded — was only introduced to the international player pool six weeks ago. But after reviewing the early returns, the company has confirmed that Unfold Poker will be removed from its poker client sometime next week.

So much for the variant being a long-term offering, as promised in the initial press release when Unfold Poker was introduced in early August. In fact, the game was met with criticism from the start. Players were unhappy with everything from the increased rake, to the name itself — Unfold’em Hold’em is nothing if not catchier.

“While not every new development will be a home run, we will keep trialing, listening to player feedback and analyzing engagement,” Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset told Pokerfuse.

Short Deck on Deck?

While the company is chalking this one up to a misstep, its next experiment should be more likely to succeed.

Short Deck Poker, aka Six Plus Hold’em, has quickly become one of the most popular games in the high-stakes live poker scene. Phil Ivey made a splash when he won $605,000 in a Short Deck tournament in Montenegro earlier this year, and indications are that PokerStars will soon be bringing the game to the online realm.

The company hasn’t confirmed it, but graphics files for Short Deck tables have been spotted in recent PokerStars software updates, a clear indication something is in the works.  It wouldn’t be the first poker site to offer Short Deck, as America’s Card Room announced it was bringing the game to the virtual felt this week as well.

For the uninitiated, Short Deck is played the same way as traditional Hold’em, only with all 2s, 3s, 4s, and  5s removed. It leads to some huge hand holdings and plenty of action, which is why it’s become so popular among the high-stakes players.

It can also lead to some extra brain twists, as long-time pro Maurice Hawkins discovered when he missed a straight at the Poker Masters on Tuesday.

Waiting on a Winner

While Short Deck has a good shot at catching on, PokerStars has simply been unable to come up with a popular poker variant of its own. That’s not for lack of trying.

Earlier this year, the company introduced Split Hold’em, a game which featured two full boards of community cards. That game never caught on and only lasted a few months.

In May, it was replaced by another novelty game called “Showtime Hold’em,” where players were forced to show every hand they had folded. That game was also killed in late July, and the next week PokerStars introduced Unfold Poker, which suffered the same short-lived fate.

19 Responses to “PokerStars Kills Off Unpopular Unfold Poker, Could Short Deck Be on Tap?”

  1. Max Diver says:

    Good, bad idea that Unfold thing.

  2. korneel says:

    This short deck thing seems intresting.
    I hope they will make it happen 🙂

  3. MatMackenz says:

    Was not really a big fan of this game. It is nice they keep trying new things tho.

  4. ZenGreen says:

    we dont need new carnival games, everyone thinks that going to reignite poker. Whats next space ships shooting lasers at cards that can be removed if you rake enough to the next level

  5. JBCD71 says:

    Poker Stars is back on track again. Unfold was no good.

  6. 22meandu says:

    Sit & Gos could catch on if they got rid of Casino Spins > But thats not going to happen > Poker has been around for a long time . Time to develop something that they can more readily bleed.

  7. lilu80 says:

    Tiring game! Unfold pot is only few cents maybe one dollar, when high stakes. For me this game is very boring, becouse unfold pot always is very very low! Unsuccessful due to the very low unfold pot. For me a waste of time in a boring game for pennies 1 blind! Such a win doesn’t make an impression. This game definitely needs a correction unfold pot. Imo this game certainly will be abandoned from players! I don’t see in this game sense of competition with one big blind unfold pot.

  8. vovqa93 says:

    Rofl. Of course short-deck will be interesting, if compare with “Unfold”, short- deck will be like PLO for holdem players 😀 Alot, alot of gamble

  9. Nelson1712 says:

    this game mode took away the essence of true poker, I do not see why after withdrawing a hand, any player could go back to the game after having voted, it does not make sense at all, it is the best that they would get from the pokerstars lobby

  10. sergik1992 says:

    It`s no surprise for me. As for me this format was boring and uninteresting!

  11. whiskers77 says:

    I have to say, that I haven’t tried this Unfoldem. Somehow it did not attract me. I guess, it is difficult to invent something new around poker, that is not crushing the concept of poker. It is pretty normal, that they remove the kind of game, when it is not attracting any players. They act like every business owner would act, who tried something new and realized, that it is not working out somehow.

  12. Spaceman says:

    I know that most players arguing that Pokerstars holdem variations are just a way to get more rake but I really like them. I know that Pokerstars want to attract happy-go-lucky recreational players, so Short Deck is like Omaha designed for those players. My wish would be something that lowered somehow the variance, to stop getting donked by 72 and one outter rivers. A simple running it twice in tourneys would be a better variation than short deck.

  13. Vorem says:

    I do not like this game, as well do not like split hold’em. I’m for good old Texas Hold’em

  14. Helloween says:

    Instead of introducing any type of Unfold into the client, it’s better to increase rakeback. At least raising the prizes from the chests. It was clear immediately that the Unfolding game was a failure. I had 5 hands to understand this.

  15. jfmcd86 says:

    I tried unfold only once ever since it was on pokerstars , didn’t quite like it at all. So, I never bothered playing on it again. it wasn’t really my type of game .

    Im just learning how to play short deck on ACR, so it would be good to have it on Pokerstars too !

  16. Rijckenborg says:

    I did not try it.
    I prefer to stick with normal poker.
    I am not a fan of all those new arcade poker game.

  17. Miguel Chacon says:

    Finally Thanks God this insane game is out of the face of earth is the worst idea for a poker game I wasn’t interested at all never even play a hand of this … now talking about ”Short deck or Six Plus Holdem” that it really looks interesting game this gamemode could be a thing.. I haven’t try it yet but i definetly will anytime soon and pratice it to see if i can take down some MTTs … very nice news to hear!

  18. DiegoRamos says:

    I’m looking forward to the arrival of O Short Deck Poker, in Brazil we have the Truco, which is something similar. But nothing compared to the adrenaline of poker.
    Unfold did not please me, but the expectation for the new variant is high.

  19. RidersFan says:

    I played about 500 hands of this just to try it out and found that it wasn’t that fun and I found myself getting board quite quickly. I thought that PS would get rid of it, hopefully they do have short deck coming soon. I have played a bit of short deck and it’s a very entertaining and challenging game.

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