New PokerStars Game Showtime Hold'em Set to Debut
Traditionally in poker, if a player surrenders his or her cards and gives up on a hand, those cards make their way quietly into the muck, never to be seen or heard from again in the current hand. In PokerStars' new Showtime Hold'em, however, those cards will be revealed for all to see.
Rasset: "The possibility to see all folded cards will introduce some fascinating strategic adjustments."
It's the latest twist on traditional Texas hold'em introduced by PokerStars, after Split Hold'em was rolled out a couple of months for a trial run that recently ended. In that game, players saw two full boards dealt simultaneously, with the best hand on each board taking half of the pot.
Now, it's all about adjusting to changes in information rather than valuing a hand on two separate boards. Like Split Hold'em, Showtime Hold'em will run on a trial basis in the PokerStars client. Early media releases featuring the game show six-handed tables with what appears to be a max buy-in of 80 big blinds.
“It is a real pleasure to offer this second temporary variant to our players," said Severin Rasset, PokerStars' director of poker innovation and operations. "The possibility to see all folded cards will introduce some fascinating strategic adjustments to the traditional and well-loved no-limit hold’em game.”
Hold'em With a Different Twist
Indeed, the strategic ramifications of the new twist seem plentiful. PokerStars Team Online's Lex Veldhuis, Ben Spragg and Fintan Hand discussed the game in a video produced by PokerStars when the trio attended EPT Monte Carlo.
For one thing, players will get a stark look into the playing styles of their opponents. No longer will they be left wondering whether an opponent in the tank really made a big fold.
Spragg: "People are just going to see how pathetic I am when I play this game."
"For a nit like me, this is a nightmare," Spragg said. "People are just going to see how pathetic I am when I play this game."
For another, the cards in the muck could drastically alter which cards are likely to emerge from the deck. A flush or straight draw could all of a sudden be much more or less likely to hit based on whether needed cards have been folded.
Blockers have taken on a rising strategic importance in recent years, and this takes that to the extreme.
"Even one card makes such a big difference," Veldhuis pointed out.
Still, the game playing with essentially the same mechanics as hold'em means it should stay accessible to all, Spragg said. Ultimately, it's just one change to the most popular poker game in the world, so PokerStars will hope that players can pick it up as easily as Spragg expects.
"This was a very interesting new twist on a game we all know and love," Veldhuis said.
Veldhuis, Spragg, and Hand are all candidates to participate in an upcoming Twitch Invitational hosted by PokerStars, wherein team ambassadors will battle in a streamed game so fans can watch and learn. More information on the game can be found here.
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