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  1. [caption width="640"] PokerStars PowerUp hopes to add a new dimention of strategy to the classic poker game.[/caption] PokerStars' new variant on the game of poker, Power Up, is back up and running in the PokerStars lobby giving players a whole new set of strategies to employ in order to take the game of Hold’em to the next level. The new game format takes the basics of No Limit Hold’em and tosses in game-changing power cards that allow players to impact the hand in ways never before possible. In a recent Q&A with a number of Team PokerStars Online Pros, Felix ‘xflixx’ Schneiders, Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew and Kevin Martin talked about their hopes for the game as well as their favorite powers and strategies to become a beast at the three-handed Power Up Sit & Gos. “I love the way X-Ray messes with everyone’s head,” Team Pro Schneiders said in reference to the card that allows a player to expose one hole card from each opponent. “Once the cards are exposed you can start to really step up and level the game to new dimensions.” X-ray is one of nine powers that in play. At the start of each Sit & Go players are gifted randomly with three power cards to try and help them navigate the hands. At the beginning of each hand as the tournament progresses, cards are replenished as they are used. Schneider continues regarding the X-ray card, “It will be fun to run elaborate bluffs or going for value with that extra piece of information while knowing that your opponent things that you think that…” Another one of the powers is Disintegrate, the ability to literally erase a card on the board changing the entire board texture and, if used properly, diminish the strength of your opponent's hand. “Disintegrate is going to be the most creative and interesting card in PowerUp,” online mainstay Randy ’nanonoko’ Lew said. “I can’t wait to destroy people’s flush draws and top pairs and ruin their strategy.” Fellow Online Pro and Twitch streamer, Kevin Martin agrees with Lew. “My favorite power is Disintegrate. You can take cards that are great for your opponent’s range and get them off the table.” The power can be used on any street to eliminate either a card on the flop, turn or river and can actually be used twice per hand. “It’s a savage card and can be used in a lot of fun spots! ‘Oh hey, that King helped you, didn’t it? Well, it’s NOT there anymore!” An added level of strategy comes with the execution of the cards. In order to utilize them, you need enough Energy to do so. Each Power consumes a certain amount of Energy, which means that players will need to keep tabs on how much Energy they have as the Sit & Go advances. The various moving parts of the game is an attempt to merge the worlds of poker and strategy gaming. From the futuristic look and feel of the graphics to the new expansion of ways to play any given hand, PokerStars hopes players will get excited about traditional Hold'em poker with as yet undiscovered new depths. “I'm really excited to see more people get into it. It's a new way to think about and enjoy poker. It's also great for streaming, adding a little bit extra onto the game. It will be interesting to see what kind of strategies get developed.” said Martin, who knows a little bit about shifting strategies after winning Big Brother Canada Season 5. Schneider sums up his hopes for the future of the game. “I'm convinced that Power Up will open up huge unexplored strategic dimensions which the game of poker has not seen before.” After a brief hiccup, Power Up on PokerStars is now available for players to try for themselves for real money play in select markets.
  2. [caption width="640"] PokerStars' Power Up gives players a new power packed gaming experience[/caption] 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.

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