PokerStars Launches Split Hold’em

By in Poker on

Time to get philosophical about online poker. If you run a small poker room, one that dreams about competing with the big boys, one that gets excited when it averages ten more players this week than last, sometimes what you need to do is take risks. Sometimes it can pay off to introduce some quirky game, even if it could mean a big waste of time and effort, in order to try to draw players from other poker rooms. On the flip side, if you are a huge poker room, you probably don’t need to do much to maintain the status quo, but at the same time, you can goof around with oddball games and offbeat promotions because if they fail, you just shrug it off and move on. And that’s why PokerStars can introduce a game like Split Hold’em.

I don’t know if Split Hold’em is going to be a hit or not, but will certainly keep poker players amusingly befuddled for a while (scorching hot take: I think people will enjoy it). In Split Hold’em, everything proceeds as normal, but for one significant change: two sets of community cards are dealt.

Other than that, it’s a Hold’em game, as always. Player still get just two hole cards. There is a flop, turn, and river (well, two of them). And in Split Hold’em, players play BOTH sets of community cards – they don’t get to pick and choose. The only way to win the entire pot at showdown is to have the best five card hand on each of the boards. If one player has the best hand using the top set of community cards and another player has the best hand using the bottom community cards, then it is a split pot.

PokerStars is also using the Seat Me system to fill the Split Hold’em tables. Players are not able to choose their exact table and seat. Instead, they choose what stakes they want for their Split Hold’em game and the PokerStars software automatically finds them a spot at a table. Players can still multi-table, it’s just up to the software where they sit.

Seat Me was implemented to try to curb the ability of “sharks” to hunt and abuse “fish.” There will always be good players and bad players (or experienced players and novices), but the lesser skilled players want to at least feel like they are playing in an honest game and aren’t just there to be picked on by the higher skilled players. Seat Me should foil seating scripts, which are automated programs players use to automatically scan the tables for weak players (based on data the script user has) and then also automatically seat the script user at the table with his intended target.

While the weaker players aren’t great at poker, they aren’t stupid. They can see that the same players are following them around. People don’t like to be picked on, so they don’t hang around to keep giving PokerStars rake money.

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