PokerStars Unveils Innovative New Mystery Cash Challenge PokerStars Unveils Innovative New Mystery Cash Challenge

Since its inception over two decades ago, PokerStars has been one of the top innovators in online poker. Over the years, the Red Spade has brought some of the best tournament poker in the world with the European Poker Tour (EPT) and various regional tours, but the brand has also debuted some unique formats for televised poker.

The latest new game on the radar is the Mystery Cash Challenge (MCC), which combines the familiar elements of six-handed cash games that are common throughout the televised poker sphere with the hottest MTT trend, the Mystery Bounty.

The MCC plays very similarly to a lot of televised cash games, with a six-handed format and pot-limit play preflop moving to no-limit after the flop with the blinds at €25/€50.

The main difference from regular cash games is the Mystery Bomb pot, which goes off every ten hands and gives the winner a chance to win a mystery prize as well as a bonus prize to spice up the game a bit.

The first look at the new format is now up on the PokerStars YouTube channel featuring six top players from the PokerStars stable. Sitting down for the opening session of MCC are Parker Talbot, Maria Ho, Griffin Benger, Alexandra Botez, Sam Grafton, and Fabiano Kovalski, and the very first round of action is now ready for viewing.

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Mystery Invades the Cash Streets

The hottest new thing on the MTT streets has been the Mystery Bounty format. Exploding in popularity in both online and live arenas, the new format adds a bit of a “lottery” component to more traditional bounty tournaments, dividing the bounty pool into mystery prizes that include eye-watering top scores that players win at random when they knock someone else out.

The format has grown like crazy over the past couple of years, with nearly every live and online poker operator offering some version of the Mystery Bounty, but for the most part, the mystery invasion has not extended to the cash poker streets.

Until now, that is — the Mystery Cash Challenge, the latest new format from the brand that brought us The Big Game and Shark Cage, and now brings the Mystery to cash poker.

The game is played as six rounds of ten hands each, with most of the play being fairly routine six-handed cash poker with familiar rules — play is pot limit before the flop and no limit after the flop with blinds of €25/€50. All players in the game buy-in for €10k, and the first nine hands in every round are regular cash poker.

There is a slight twist in the nine cash hands, however — players must win at least one of these hands to secure a seat in the tenth hand, a bomb pot that closes every round. The bomb pot costs €100 per player, and action proceeds directly to the flop with all players active in the hand.

The player who won the most hands during the previous nine will get the all-important button in the bomb pot (in the event of a tie, the button goes to the most recent pot winner among the leaders).

And it is that bomb pot that really sets the MCC apart from other cash games. Every ten hands, the winner of the bomb pot will not only win that pot but also two special prizes.

The mystery prize is similar to a mystery bounty MTT game in that the player selects one of several envelopes containing different prize amounts, but the bonus prize adds a bit of extra spice to the game, introducing challenges that the winning player can impose on others at the table.

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The Opening Round Is Already Live

The first episode from the epic new format is already online (see the link below), showing the first ten hands for the first six players. Not only is the poker action fascinating as the players try to navigate a new format, but the mix of personalities chosen to debut the format seems to work perfectly into a friendly, talkative table that entertains both with the cards and the chatter.

Without spoiling any of the Episode 1 action, viewers will certainly be interested in catching Episode 2 as the bonus prize for the Episode 1 ending bomb pot was that one player would have to remain silent throughout the next round or pay the other players €100.

It was pretty much an open field as to whether that restriction would hurt Grafton, Benger, Ho, Botez, or Talbot more (to be fair, Kovalski likely has the edge in the field on this challenge), so tune into the second edition of the Mystery Cash Challenge to find out which motor-mouth has to keep it shut for the next 10 hands.

See below for the full opening episode, and watch out for Round #2 coming soon on the PokerStars YouTube channel.