PokerStars Divides Opinions with Split Hold’em Launch

March 30th, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

The PokerStars innovation team has been working overtime recently to put the finishing touches on its latest online poker creation Split Hold’em but not all players seem to be in love with the end result.

Split Hold’em.

PokerStars announces the launch of a dual action poker variant known as Split Hold’em. (Image: PokerStars screenshot)

Announced on March 28, the new game has been described as an “engaging” challenge for novices and experienced players.

In discussing Split Hold’em on PokerStars’ blog, Ring Games Manager Dan Price said that the format would test players and introduce some new strategic decisions along the way.

A Game of Two Halves

As its name suggests, Split Hold’em is a game divided into two parts. After the initial deal, players get to see two flops, two turns and two rivers. Aside from having two boards, betting takes place in exactly the same as No Limit Hold’em until a showdown occurs.

Instead of winning the whole pot automatically, a player must have the best hand using both boards or force everyone else to fold in order to scoop all the money in the middle. If a player only has the best hand on one board, they receive half the pot.

Giving a tactical breakdown of the game for PokerStars School, Ross Jarvis outlined some areas in which players should focus if they want to win.

As well as thinking more their post-flop play, Jarvis suggests taking the initiative with mid-range hands that hit on both boards.

“If there’s any situation where your hole cards connect well on both boards you should play very aggressively. A good example of this might be if you have suited connectors that hit a flush draw on one flop and a pair on the second flop,” Jarvis wrote on March 27.

Opinions Split Over Split Hold’em

Players can currently play Split Hold’em at eight different buy-in level ranging from $0.02/$0.05 to $10/$20, but the games won’t be around forever.

Although Price didn’t describe the launch as a trial, he clarified that the tables won’t be a permanent fixture on PokerStars’ platform.

In response to the new innovation, reactions have been mixed. While some players have described it as a “fun” variant, others have been less enthusiastic.

“It’s fun if you don’t like money and think more rake is better,” KossuKukkula wrote on 2+2’s NVG forum.


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