PokerStars Testing New Side Bet Add-On

January 20th, 2020 | by Jason Reynolds

The wheels of innovation are turning at PokerStars once again and, this time, side bets are undergoing a series of tests.


PokerStars is reportedly testing out a new feature that will allow players to bet on which cards will be dealt. (Image: Bitcoin Insider)

First reported by Poker Industry Pro, the new feature gives players the chance to bet on the outcome of a hand.

As per the report, a select group of players have been given exclusive access to the proposed update. This means the final product may change when it goes live. However, the early prototype gives players the option to make side bets on two unknown outcomes.

PokerStars Testing More New Ideas

Prior to the start of a betting round, players will be able to speculate on the hole cards they’ll receive. Once any pre-flop action has started, active players can bet on the complexion of the flop.

Like a standard sports bet, the wager is made against the house. This means side bet winnings aren’t taken from the pot and are, instead, paid by the house. Moreover, the cost of each wager will be deducted from a player’s main balance and not their on-table balance.

News of the side bet update comes six months after PokerStars introduced All-In Cash Out. The feature divided opinion when it was released in August 2019 as some believed it was a rake trap.

When using the cash game add-on, players have the option to take the equity in their hand. Prior to the flop, turn and river being dealt, players that activate the feature will be offered a cash out price.

This offer takes into account the equity of their hand based on the cards their opponent or opponents have. If the offer is accepted, they receive a cash payout equal to the value of their equity, minus a 1 percent fee.

To ensure those that don’t use All-In Cash Out aren’t affected, the equity payments aren’t deducted from the pot. PokerStars covers the payment and, in the event the cashed out player wins, the house collects the pot.

Live Poker Influencing Online Action

The feature continues to divide opinion, with forum users debating whether or not it favors experienced players or newbies. Opinions aside, it has inspired PokerStars to continue charting a similar course.

Just as equity payments are similar to insurance in live cash games, side bets are also common at high stakes tables. In recent years, viewers will have seen the likes of Doyle Brunson making side bets known as props on shows such as High Stakes Poker (see video above).

PokerStars is now taking this old favorite and using it to make online poker more entertaining.


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