PokerStars Testing New Poker Variant – Power Up
February 16, 2017, 16:46:34
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A recent announcement of a new game by PokerStars has created a veritable buzz among the online card-sharks. Their newbie variant, christened Power Up, is attempting to further rev up the usual poker rush by importing video gaming sensibilities to the flurry of action one witnesses on the virtual felt.

Power Up is not merely an upgrade of an existing format like Zoom Poker or Spin & Go, KO Poker or Beat the Clock, but a new-fangled innovation on its own right that is about to send the gaming community into a tailspin.

It looks like an ambitious new addition by the team as Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, PokerStars posted on the company blog, “The common goal of these innovations is to continue to maintain a high level of engagement from our active players, to reactivate players that may be tired of playing poker as it is today, and to speak to potential players that haven’t discovered the game yet.”

So far, the game has only been hush-tested for six months by control-groups comprising of both high-volume poker pros and gamers using play-money trying to break it as much as possible. Only recently has it entered the alpha-testing stage.

PokerStars has been careful in letting details leech very selectively. According to the blog announcement, the new variant seems to be a variation of the Texas Hold’em format where players can influence the game with boards, cards and chips. Participants are accorded trading or special gameplays to let them have greater control over card-selections thus making the game more animated and competitive.

Those who have played Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering or such strategic card games will notice a few common features in the new variant.

Concrete rules governing the game have not yet surfaced, though one can make some surmises about special-moves based on the screen-shot of the Power Up lobby on the company blog and a 35-seconds video that has been posted by PokerStars.

Players can chooses ways to receive cards or even select them before a hand, akin to Sit-and-Go perhaps and it can only impact the game in interesting ways. 

Clone– receive a copy of the last power played this hand

Disintegrate– Destroy a targeted board card dealt this street

EMP– prevent powers on this street

Engineer– choose the deck’s next card from three options

Intel– view the deck’s top card for the rest of the hand

Reload– redraw selected hole cards

Scanner– view the top two cards in the deck; choose whether to discard them

Upgrade– draw a third hole card, then discard one

X-Ray– force all opponents to expose one hole card


PokerStars Power Up Preview Video:


From the preview video, it seems like a lot of attention has gone to the looks and vibes of this new variant. Lots of metallic grays and blues, along with electrical effects build up its “futuristic space age” fervor.

Power Up tables have also been given a makeover, much like its graphics – all in line with its video game vibes. The result – “It looks good, certainly not boring.” Says who? Says Severin.

With customized frontend comes a devoted backend. “We integrated a new engine within our software, created animations and powers”, underlined Rasset.

One might have noticed its proximity to existing games specially HoldemX Alpha, a heads-up hold’em game. In fact truth be told Power Up is not entirely culled out from thin air. Similarities with HoldemX Alpha, which was launched about a year ago by Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, parent company of Global Poker Index and Global Poker League, are close.

Speaking about Power Up, Severin said, “PokerStars team understands that something as ambitious as Power Up is a risk. It requires a concerted team effort to dive into the unknown, to keep the faith and to deliver a project that will be right for our players.”

All said and done the game is still in its testing stages, so it might be expected to undergo further fine-tuning. It may be a while before it’s pinned into the main menu. Only after it’s been thoroughly regularized with real-money release can one tell if PokerStars – named Gaming Intelligence's Poker Operator of the Year last week, can get Power Up to stay on the table or send it to the rails!

Related Articles:

1. PokerStars Extends ‘Win The Button’ Format to Online Tournaments

2. PokerStars Launches New 'Beat The Clock' Tournaments

3. PokerStars 7 Now Available in Beta Version

4. PokerStars Now Offers New Lottery Style Spin & Go Tournaments

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