PokerStars Introduces Unfold
When PokerStars ended the limited run of Showtime Hold’em, I wrote,
“PokerStars has hinted that the next limited-edition game will be ‘Unfold’ or something like that. No further details have been given, but people are speculating that the game will allow players to get back into the hand after folding.”
This past week, PokerStars launched Unfold and sure enough, I am a genius for believing in “people,” as Unfold is exactly what everyone thought it would be. Then again, unless the name was a complete ruse, it was pretty obvious.
At any rate, the basics of Unfold, which is a Texas Hold’em game, are very simple. After the flop is dealt, anyone who folded pre-flop can get right back into the hand with the same hole cards they had just ditched. As we all assumed, though, that can’t be done for free.
Every player dealt into the hand at an Unfold table must pay a special ante which is added to an “unfold pot.” This ante is equal to 30 percent of the big blind, except for at the two lowest stakes, where just because of math, the ante is a higher percentage.
Before the flop betting round begins, everyone who already folded is given a chance to unfold. To do so, they must pay an amount equal to the unfold pot, which, in turn, is added to the unfold pot. After that, the players who did not fold keep playing as normal and compete for the main pot. The unfolders, if you will, just wait for the hand to finish as if they were all-in. The unfolder who has the best hand wins the unfold pot.
So Unfold offers players the chance to correct a possible “mistake” they made in folding pre-flop, but at the same time they have to pay the price and are quite limited in what they can win.
There are three instances in which the unfold antes will be given back to everybody:
- The main pot is decided pre-flop
- Fewer than two players fold pre-flop
- Nobody unfolds
Additionally, if only one player unfolds, that player wins the entire unfold pot by default.
In a press release issued by PokerStars, PokerStars Ambassador Fatima de Melo said of the new game:
I feel way more comfortable folding hands knowing that there’s great potential to hop on to the Unfold pot if I want to. I remember playing a World Series of Poker event about five years ago and I folded 3s pre flop and the other players went all-in with aces against queens, and I would have won the hand with a set of 3s! This was for the chip lead and I was like “oh my god, why did I fold?”. Well I had to fold because they went all in pre-flop. But the Unfold button would have definitely been nice there!
When Showtime Hold’em was removed from the cash game lobby and Unfold was teased, it was thought that Unfold would be another limited-time game. This is not the case, though, as PokerStars has said that Unfold is a permanent addition to its roster of games.
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