PokerStars has released another quirky poker variant as part of its ongoing mission to offer “engaging” new challenges for its players.
Announced on Wednesday, the new game is known as Split Hold’em and will essentially give players two ways to win a hand while introducing a host of new dynamics.
“Split Hold’em has already provoked a lot of internal discussion around the best strategy, so we can’t wait to see how players adapt,” ring games manager Dan Price wrote on PokerStars’ blog. “You may know how to play 88 and AQ – but what about when you have two boards to consider.”
More Ways to Win
Split Hold’em is initially being made available at eight levels, ranging from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20. According to Price, the latest innovation will take traditional Hold’em and introduce two major changes:
Players will see two flops, two turns and two rivers.
The pot will be split in half and players can win one, none or both pots.
Split Hold’em will use PokerStars’ “Seat Me” on the operator’s global liquidity platform.
Already available on some of PokerStars’ regional sites, the function removes a player’s ability to choose their own table or position.
Instead, players select their stakes and wait. If there’s a table with an open seat at the specified level, the player will be added to the game. Alternatively, if there isn’t a table, the player will be put on a waiting list.
Less Predatory Ecosystem
The decision to activate the Seat Me feature plays into the player-friendly ethos of the game itself and PokerStars’ push to attract more newbies. Automatic seating was introduced as a way to stop what had become known as bum hunting.
During the early days of online poker, players would devise strategies to find tables filled with weak players. Using statistics such as the number of players per flop and the overall aggression rating, experienced players were able to find potentially profitable spots.
While this predatory tactic was legal, it did put novices at a greater disadvantage than they may have otherwise faced. Therefore, to improve the overall playing experience and give new players a fighting chance, PokerStars and other major platforms took away manual seating.
What’s more interesting about the release of Split Hold’em is that the games won’t be available forever. Although it hasn’t been called a test, Price confirmed on PokerStars’ blog that tables aren’t intended to be a permanent fixture.
This may change if the games prove popular, but for now it looks as though anyone wanting to try the new game will have to ante up sooner rather than later.