Continuing its trend of developing new exciting twists to traditional Hold’em, PokerStars has launched its third cash game variant of the year, Unfold Hold’em. The twist in this format is that players can 'unfold’ their hand and get back into the game.
The new variant has been rolled out for real money in Denmark, and it is expected to be launched in additional markets (including the dot-com market) very soon. It is not currently known if the game will be made available in New Jersey.
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Only a few days ago, pokerfuse exclusively revealed the game details including the game rules which briefly appeared on the UK site before being taken down by the operator. However, in its final release, PokerStars has slightly modified the rules.
Unlike the earlier cash variants which were played at a 6-max table, Unfold Hold’em is being played as an 8-max game in Denmark. Each player at the start of the hand contributes an Unfold ante—the size of which depends on the table stakes.
For example, a table with a buy-in of $0.01/0.02 has an Unfold ante of $0.01 (100% of the Small Blind) whereas a 50NL table stake has an Unfold ante of $0.15 (60% of the Small Blind). In the leaked rules, it was stated that the ante would be half the size of the small blind. However, a minimum of four players must be dealt into a hand for the Unfold ante to be collected. The antes collected form the Unfold Pot which remains separate from the main pot.
As soon as the flop is dealt, the Unfold round begins and players who folded pre-flop can either 'Unfold’ or 'Pass’. To retrieve the mucked cards, players have to pay a bet amount equivalent to the size of the Unfold Pot. If no players choose to unfold, or if the main pot is decided before the flop, or fewer than two players fold pre-flop, antes collected at the start of the hand are refunded to all the players.
Once the Unfold round is over, normal gameplay resumes and there are no further bets from players who folded pre-flop. The rest of the hand is played out among the players who originally entered the hand. In case the main pot is won before the full board is dealt, the remaining community cards are dealt to determine the winner of the Unfold pot. The unfold pot is awarded to the Unfold player with the strongest 5-card poker hand after the river is dealt.
Unfold Hold’em has also adopted the Seat Me functionality. There is no table list in the lobby to choose from, instead, players choose the stakes and are taken to a random seat at an available table. If no seat is immediately available, players join a waiting list. The buy-ins are fixed (from 60 big blinds to 80 big blinds) and the table stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $1/$2.
It is not clear when the game will be launched across the global player pool. However, PokerStars before releasing Showtime Hold’em, tested the game in the Belgium market a day before rolling it out elsewhere. So if that is of any indication, Unfold Hold’em may be launched in the dot-com client any day now.