PokerStars Announces New Game: Power Up Poker in Closed Alpha

power up poker
New Power Up poker comes with some cool powers which should make for an exciting gameplay (source: PokerStars Blog)

It seems that PokerStars development teams have been really busy over the past year or so. We’ve seen a number of innovations hit the shelves, including Beat The Clock tournaments and The Deal concept, which caused quite a bit of controversy.

The latest announcement from the online poker giant concerns yet another novelty, named Power Up poker, which combines the element of Hold’em and popular games like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.

Expanding the game appeal with Power Up poker

According to the announcement on PokerStars blog, the idea behind Power Up poker is the expansion of the game appeal and re-activation of old players who may have become bored with the old-fashioned games filled with veteran players.

As explained by PokerStars’ Severin Rasset, the idea is to create potential game changers which could really turn poker as we know it upside down, and potentially expand the game appeal well beyond what we have today.

But, as one could guess, a lot of it is based on touch-and-go approach, as it is hard to guess how players will react to these novelties. One good example of a project that had big expectations but failed quite spectacularly was The Duel, which created barely any interest.

What’s Power Up poker all about?

Failure is a part of the innovation process, so PokerStars doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about these unsuccessful projects. Instead, they come up with new ideas, looking to keep up with the latest online trends and incorporate them in the traditional game of Texas Hold’em.

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That’s the fundamental idea behind Power Up poker.

It is a game that combines elements of classic poker with new powers that can influence the way a hand plays out beyond the usual bluffing, value betting, and bluff-catching. Although there are no details on what these powers will be exactly, from the published screenshots, it seems they’ll come with some nice visual effects to boot.

Closed Alpha

Currently, Power Up poker is in a closed Alpha, meaning it’s still a long way to go before we see it available to the general player pool, especially in the real money variation. Up to this point, the game’s been developed in a closed, sandbox environment, with the help of experienced, high-volume players.

It’s taken a lot of work to even reach the Alpha stage, but it seems PokerStars development teams are happy with the direction project is headed, and are planning to keep improving and expanding the test pool, aiming to come up with a product that’ll achieve the earlier mentioned goals.

Do we need Power Up poker?

If you keep up with online poker developments, you probably know that players have grown very suspicious of motives behind PokerStars’ actions. The company claims they want to improve the economy and attract more players to the game.

A part of the community seems skeptical.

Quite a few players over on 2+2 forums are convinced that this is just another way for the company to grab a bigger share of the profits, not only through the rake but through micro-transactions involving buying power-ups and physical card decks.

power up poker
Power Up poker may be different to the game of poker we are used to, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad (source: PokerStars Blog)

It is hard to say who has a point here. It’d be futile to discuss if PokerStars are primarily concerned about the company’s profit. What company isn’t? At the same time, gimmicks like these can create a breakthrough and lead to poker being accepted by much wider audiences.

Will it be poker we know and love?

Perhaps not, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. If the new Power Up poker is a game of skill, which it well might be, then it might require some adjustments, but there is no reason to think it couldn’t be another way to make a profit for the most skilled ones.

And, it looks like a lot of fun, which is definitely a plus.

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