PokerStars Introduces New Hold’em Variant Called Showtime

PokerStars Introduces New Hold’em Variant Called Showtime

Over the years, PokerStars has prided itself on continuously inventing new poker variants in order help keep players interested in the game, with examples that spring to mind including Zoom, Beat The Clock, KO Poker, and Spin & Gos.

More recently, an adaption of the “run it twice” concept was introduced called Split Hold’em in which two sets of community cards are dealt, although the game may not have been quite so well received as the PokerStars had initially hoped.

The site’s latest innovation on the Texas Hold’em theme, however, is sure to create a much greater sense of excitement as players participating in Showtime Hold’em will be able to see their opponents’ hole cards once they are folded. For a game of incomplete information, this will allow players to form a much more complete picture of their opponent’s potential holding and style of play, whilst shining more light on their poker strengths and weaknesses.

Nightmare for Nits

Recently, PokerStars Team Pros Lex Veldhuis, Fintan Hand, and Ben Spragg appeared in a video promoting the new variant, with Veldhuis pointing out that Showtime Hold’em players can now receive all the information necessary in order to make the best decisions possible in a hand. As Spragg subsequently explains:

“For a nit like me, this is a nightmare. People are just going to see how pathetic I am when I play this game.”

Strategic Adjustments Needed

Meanwhile, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset has highlighted that being able to see the mucked cards belonging to players will “introduce some fascinating strategic adjustments” to standard Texas Hold’em games. Professional poker players, for instance, use the cards in their hand to help narrow down their opponents’ ranges and determine their possible holdings, with these cards referred to as “blockers”.

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In addition to being thoroughly entertaining and introducing a new and exciting twist to the game of poker, Showtime Hold’em therefore has the potential to help players to become more attentive and form the right habits when trying to assess an opponent’s hand range, with skills learned applicable to other more traditional forms of NL Hold’em. As Dan Price wrote on a PokerStars blog post entitled “Introducing Showtime Hold’em”, the variant will help players develop different levels of strategy and think outside of the box, explaining:

“Will conservative players be forced to loosen up to avoid being labelled as nits? Will aggressive players still be able to represent strong hands with multiple cards exposed? Will you keep bluffing the opponent folding big hands… until they catch on?”

Limited Testing Time

Showtime Hold’em was initially tested in Belgium before now becoming available across the brand’s international network. Like previous innovations, the latest Showtime Hold’em variant will be introduced for a limited time only before PokerStars decides whether it is feasible to offer it on an ongoing basis.

Split Hold’em, for example, was discontinued after a trial period, although it would have provided the operator with a greater insight into the interest of its customers. Other innovative variants expected to be introduced this year include “PokerStars Fusion,” which is a combination of Hold’em and Omaha, and “Spin & Goal”, whose released date is expected to coincide with the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in June.

Low as $2 Buy-In

There’s plenty of opportunity to learn Showtime Hold’em quickly and cheaply as games are available on PokerStars starting at stakes as low as $0.02/$0.04 with a $2 buy-in. Players are also able to use an “observe” button to watch Showtime Hold’em games being played on the site, with other opportunities to gain experience expected in the near future via PokerStars ambassador livestreams on Twitch.

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Furthermore, players can automatically be seated in games via the “Seat Me” button, with the system introduced by PokerStars in order to prevent “bumhunting” and more experienced players preying on their recreational opponents.


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