With its main rival aiming at the highest rollers, PokerStars is rolling out more innovations aimed at making online more entertaining for everyone.
First picked up by Pokerfuse, the latest update from PokerStars HQ has given the observant a glimpse of a new Omaha variant. Although no official announcements have been made, graphics contained in the recent update files show images of a unique split variant.
Two Boards Are Twice as Nice
As per the report, the new game looks likely to be a double-board Omaha variant that bears more than a passing resemblance to Split Hold’em. Despite lasting for just six weeks, it seems PokerStars isn’t ready to give up on the split-board dynamic.
This time, however, there appears to at least be some demand for a double-board version of Omaha. Although it’s far from mainstream, various incarnations of the game have been played on side tables at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and other major events.
Rules regarding pots and splits will only be reveled once any new variants go live. But the crucial difference between double-board Omaha and the game on which its based is the way pots are awarded.
The most popular ruleset is the none, one or both format. Put simply, a player’s hand is compared to one board and then the other.
If they hold the best five-card hand using the first set of community cards, they scoop half the pot. Alternatively, if they can make a winner from the second set of community cards, they scoop the other half of the pot.
Finally, if they can make two winning hands, they’ll win the entire pot. Or, if their four cards can’t make a winner from either board, they receive nothing.
PokerStars Pushing the Entertainment Stakes
With Omaha already known for being an action-packed game, it will be interesting to see how a split variant adds to the drama. For PokerStars it could further enhance its growing reputation as a place for exotic action.
Although Split Hold’em fell by the wayside, the recently released 6+ Hold’em is receiving positive reviews. Designed to provide new challenges and more action, the game has become popular with experienced players and casuals looking for extra excitement.
Split Omaha would have a similar level of appeal, something PokerStars can use to push back against recent innovations by Partypoker.
As part of the ongoing battle between the two operators, the latter has increased rakeback rewards for top-tier players. Seen as a move to attract high rollers, the loyalty scheme has added a new dynamic to Partypoker’s overall package.
By launching a variant that appeals to a more general audience, PokerStars is betting that appealing to a broader appeal will help it win the battle for online supremacy.