Commencing liftoff in 5,4,3,2…
PokerStars’ much-talked about twist on traditional Texas Hold’em, Power Up, was given clearance for a real-money soft launch on Tuesday. The poker variant combines the principals of traditional NLHE poker, in a three-handed Sit & Go format, with new game-changing “power” that allows players to influence the action in a way that has never before been possible.
The majority of the PokerStars player base will find Power Up play money games readily available to take for a spin while those who are using the .EU client will have access to playing Power Up for real money. The initial cash stakes are expected to be $1, $3, $7 and $15. Although no date for a full rollout has been released, players on both the .com and .UK clients can expect real money play to be available in their client relatively soon according to the company.
The basics of Power Up follow the time-honored rules of Texas Hold’em. Each of the three players in the Sit & Go get two cards and play them on a five-card board. There’s a flop, turn, and river. Standard stuff. The alterations begin as players select from a number of futuristic characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses who will carry out the players bidding. Additionally, players are given three “powers” which, provided your character has enough energy, you can deploy to help your Hold’em cause or hinder your opponents. Cards and some energy are refreshed at the start of each hand and the contest is played out to a winner.
“Power Up will greatly add to the poker dynamic and I am especially looking forward to rotating sets of powers as they will keep strategies constantly changing,” said PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov at a recent PokerStars Power Up question and answer session. “In a time when professionals started playing more similarly than they used to, the addition of new dynamics will rock that boat and create a lot of entertainment.”
Power cards like “Disintegrate” (eliminate a card on the board), “Intel” (allows you to see the top card of the deck for the entire hand) and “X-Ray” give players weapons never before wielded in a pure game of poker. When asked what he thought the most useful power was, five-time World Series of Poker bracelet winnerJason Mercier selected, “X-Ray, viewing one card of all of your opponent’s seems like a huge advantage and should make it very easy to make decisions throughout the hand.”
PokerStars hopes that by adding a new layer of strategy, the management of your powers and ability to execute them, that they can also add a new layer to their customer base.
If you are looking to check out the new Power Up, simply fire up your current PokerStars client and look for the Power Up tab right next to your standard Cash, Sit & Go and Tournament options.