So you thought that every variety of poker had been thought on and done to death, right? Fast fold variants, different tournament formats, big prizes. All alongside the big game that is probably one of the best the world has ever seen.
But no! There's a new option for playing poker in town. It's known as Power Up Poker, it's designed to add some new spice to everyone's favourite gambling game, and it's potentially destined for great things.
First off the block are the firm who are probably the biggest name in the online poker world with their Power Up version - known simply as Pokerstars Power Up.
How To Play Pokerstars Power Up
First off this new game is played to standard Texas Holdem rules. Where it's different is in how the power up aspects are played. These are based on a range of different cards, with each player in a round getting three power cards in addition to their starting two Holdem cards.
The power cards obviously have different powers, and each power has an energy level associated with it. All players start off with the same allotted energy level, and using cards causes this to deplete. After each hand the energy level gets replenished by a nominated amount.
The Power Up Cards
• Clone – lets you replicate the last power up played in a hand (cost – 2 energy points)
• EMP – prevents any player from playing power ups in this hand (cost – 3 energy points)
• Intel – Allows you to see the top card in the deck for the rest of the hand
• Engineer – Engineer the hand by choosing the next card from various options (cost – 5 energy points)
• Disintegrate – Destroy/remove a board card turned in the hand (and assume replace with a new one) (cost – 4 energy points)
• Scanner – Get to see the top 2 cards in the deck and choose whether to discard them (cost – 4 energy points)
• Reload – Redraw specific hole cards (cost – 5 energy points)
• X-Ray – Make all opponents show one of their hole cards (cost – 2 energy points)
• Upgrade – Draw a 3rd hole card then choose which one to discard (cost – 5 energy points)
It's early days for Pokerstars new game, having completed an alpha trial with limited players and a wider trial where it suddenly appeared to players on Pokerstars sites.
So far though - aside from some heavy negative views from more experienced poker players - there seems to have been a fairly warm welcome.
Certainly there are some impressive graphics which sit well alongside the potential for players new to the game to get a taste of poker without having to face a battalion of well-practiced sharks, and this new version of poker looks sure to be well placed to compete with the likes of the very successful Global Poker.
In fact the whole design of the game is focused on getting new players to venture into the poker world, or encourage those players who've lost the desire to play to come back and try again.
Pokerstars look like they may have a hit on their hands, and have background plans already to run free play and real money versions side by side. They also have an eye of further developments with potential plans to introduce new power up cards and shake up the existing gameplay.
If Power Up is the success it promises to be, it may not be long before other big poker operators get competing versions out into the world.
They may already be working on it.
How Does It Work?
Imagine standard Texas Holdem combined with popular power games like Magic The Gathering or Hearthstone and you'll have the essence of Power Up spot on - it's traditional poker with added power cards that can be used at varying points in the poker hands to influence the outcome.