PokerStars ‘Unfold Poker’ not sitting well with online poker pros.
A revolutionary new poker game was unveiled by PokerStars this week. They call it Unfold Holdem, and it’s causing quite a stir in the internet poker community.
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Unfold Holdem games gives players the opportunity to get back in the action, even after folding their hand. Some would say it’s a Godsend, as it allows a player who pre-flop folds what would have been the post-flop nuts to regain some value from the hand. Others say it represents everything that’s wrong with the online poker industry today.
How PokerStars Unfold Poker Games Work
In order to participate in this new poker variant, players must take a seat at a table labeled Unfold Holdem. These tables now have their own tab in the PokerStars cash game lobby. They play out just like any other No-Limit Holdem (NLHE) game, for the most part, with a similar betting structure, plus an ante bet.
Each player must first post the ante bet, equal to 25% of the big blind. These antes collect into an Unfold side-pot. The hand then deals out as usual.
The Unfold rule becomes an option for any player who folds their hand before the flop. Then, once the first three community cards are revealed, these players will have the option of unfolding their hand. In order to unfold, the player must make another bet equal to the current size of the Unfold side-pot (all antes combined).
Once a player has unfolded their hand, they may no longer participate in betting. They are, in effect, spectators at this point. After the river card is dealt, the Unfold player with the highest 5-card hand wins the Unfold pot. If the hand does not go to a showdown, all remaining community cards are automatically dealt to determine the Unfold winner.
The Unfold side-pot is only in effect if two or more players choose to unfold their hand. If the pot is decided pre-flop (all players fold to a single winner), or if less than two players elect to unfold their hand post-flop, all ante bets are returned.
Mixed Reaction to Unfold Holdem
The big wigs at PokerStars believe this revolutionary new poker game is the best thing since sliced bread. The brand’s Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset, is most enthusiastic about it; especially the fact that they’re presenting “something new and completely different.”
“Unfold means more action and opportunities for players, reducing the all too familiar sinking feeling of making the correct pre-flop lay down, only to then find you would have flopped the nuts,” says Rasset.
Online poker pro and live streamer Felix Schneider can’t wait to feature these new tables on his poker channel. “It’s a really engaging format and keeps players entertained and sweating it out in the side pot,” says Schneider. If nothing else, he believes Unfold Holdem will be “very funny” for his viewers. Then again, as PokerStars brand ambassador, it’s his obligation to promote new products.
Not everyone is lauding PokerStars’ latest innovation, though.
Jon Sofen of CardsChat calls Unfold poker games “PokerStars’ latest abomination”, saying they represent “everything that’s wrong with the modern game” of poker.
The 2+2 forums are buzzing with commentary. One of the milder reactions says it’s just another attempt at “protecting the recreational player pool”. On the flaming end of the argument, one poster says, “It would be good if we could unfold Amaya’s takeover of PokerStars”.
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