PokerStars Releases Swap Hold’em
According to a release issued from PokerStars on Tuesday, Swap Hold’em is now available in limited markets. This game takes a feature from Power Up and creates a new limited-edition cash game.
What is Swap Hold’em?
Swap Hold’em is a new cash game variant currently offered in limited markets and at PokerStars.net. The game is the same as standard NL Hold’em game, but with one difference. At any point during a hand, a player has the option to swap one or both of their hole cards before electing to check, raise, or fold.
Players have the option to swap cards once per hand and can do so anytime during the hand provided that action is to them. Furthermore, players will be able to tell which players have swapped cards and how many cards they have swapped.
— Pokerland (@pokerland) March 17, 2020
Each player will have a swap icon next to their avatar. Pointing to this icon will tell you how many cards they have swapped. If you have swapped cards, you can highlight the swap icon to see which cards you held previously.
If this sounds familiar, then you probably played Power Up Poker at some point during its run at PokerStars. The game offered the option to swap out cards as one of its features. It was not available every hand but was a powerful tool when you had it available.
How Will Swap Hold’em Impact Poker Strategy?
The ability to swap cards during a hand will have a significant impact on overall Hold’em strategy. For starters, this should generate more action from players. Those picking up hands like A-4, K-6, or even Q-5 will probably speculate a little more often and swap out cards.
Next, you will also see a lot of swapping of cards pre-flop as players try and improve their hands. This will cause slight delays during each hand, meaning that each hand will take a bit longer to play. As such, you will have to work on your patience.
— Nick Jones (@pokerprojones) March 17, 2020
Post-flop play will get a little more complicated as players that don’t swap pre-flop can now do so. The ability to put players on hands will become more important than ever. Hands such as top pair will become a bit weaker in this game as players will be able to swap out cards to improve their hands.
Also, expect to see more players drawing to straights and flushes due to the ability to swap out cards. A player that is looking at four to a flush at the turn or river may swap out their other card to try and fill their hand.
The good thing about this game is that you can swap out hands that become marginal after the flop. For example, if you have K-Q and the flop falls A-8-10, you can swap one or both cards to try and pick up an ace.
If you like draw poker games, then Swap Hold’em will be up your alley as you can draw up to two cards every hand.
Swap Hold’em Only Available in the UK – For Now
Presently, you can only play Swap Hold’em on the .UK site or at PokerStars.net. It is normal that PokerStars offers a new poker variant in limited markets or on their free play site. This is done for testing purposes and to gauge general interest.
If all goes well at the .UK site, then you can expect it to roll out to other markets and to the .com site in the near future. We applaud PokerStars for continuing to push the bar with new poker variants and wish them luck with this new endeavor.