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PokerStars Introduces Unfold Poker

PokerStars loves to come up with fun and innovative new poker variants to try and attract more recreational players. Their newest variant, Unfold Poker, gives poker players the ability to pluck their cards from the virtual muck and get another chance to play their hand.

While not available globally at the moment, this is one poker variant that has the chance to pull in those looking for a way to boost their profits and those who want to avoid FOMO.

Unfold Poker Gives You a Second Chance

How often have you folded your hand pre-flop just to watch it hit big on the flop or by the river? For some players, this leads to a bit of FOMO and they end up playing too many hands because their “folded hands were hitting.”

Well, you never have to worry about that again with Unfold Poker. Unfold Poker is a variant of Texas Hold’em that gives you a chance to unfold your pre-flop muck after the flop. The hand then plays out with your unfolded hand getting a chance to win the unfold pot.

Unfold Poker works like a standard cash game except for that every player puts up an ante that goes into the Unfold pot. The ante is worth anywhere from 60 to 100% of the big blind. Action continues as it normally would pre-flop.

After the flop, the players that folded have the option to make a bet that matches the unfold ante pot in order to retrieve their cards and let them play out. Anyone that chooses to match the unfold pot will get to play their hand to showdown.

No additional betting is made after you make your unfold bet. For example, in a .01-.02 NL game where the unfold ante is .02, an eight-handed game would produce a .16 unfold ante pot. After the flop, let’s say that three people choose to unfold. That ads .48 to the pot to create a total pot of .64. The entire pot that the unfolded players can win is .64. They do not have a chance to win the main pot.

If the action in the main pot concludes pre-flop or no players take advantage of unfolding on the flop, then the unfold antes are returned to players.

Stephen Bartley of PokerStars wrote, “No more agony watching your hand turn good on the flop. No more waiting around for the game to get interesting. And no more long spells being card dead. It’s like poker with the benefit of hindsight. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a lot of fun.”

Unfold Poker is presently offered on the Danish PokerStars client, but odds are this will go global sometime soon.

Unfold Poker Could Produce Interesting Strategies

The primary advantage of Unfold Poker is that you get the chance to pluck you hand after folding pre-flop. This will allow you to play more hands when hands like 10-9 suited suddenly flop two pair.

There are a couple of other distinct advantages to playing this variant. The first is that you can control how much you play in each unfolded hand. In a way, Unfold Poker reverts to modified Limit Hold’em or PL Hold’em.

For example, in our example above, it only costs you .16 cents to play the unfold pot. That’s 8 big blinds. If this were Limit Hold’em, you’re looking at 4 big bets. Most Limit poker players would gladly bet four big bets in a hand if they knew they could come in with top pair or better.

Even looking at this from an NL standpoint you’re playing 8 big blinds a hand in the above example. Considering that this game starts with 60 to 80 big blind stacks, you’re not even playing 10% of your stack. Many players will set mine with small pairs for that bet size, so they surely will chase down the unfold pot with top pair or better.

Also, this makes it cheap to chase draws. You flop a flush draw or an open-ended draw with your folded hand and just have to put in the unfold bet to try and hit. There will be a lot of draw chasing in this game.

Even without playing a single hand of this game, yet, I can see this variant being popular with players and sticking around for a while. Looks like I have another reason to try and head over to PokerStars soon.

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