PokerStars to Kill Off Power Up Game

  • PokerStars gave no explanation for game's removal, shutdown date not announced
  • Power Up debuted two years ago following a long period of testing
  • Deck-building/poker hybrid game gives players “powers” to influence course of a hand
PokerStars Power Up screenshot
PokerStars will soon dump its poker variant Power Up, which launched for real money in October 2017. [Image: PokerStars]

Power Up has a “loyal following”

After two years, the days of the unique poker variant Power Up are about to come to an end at PokerStars.

“PokerStars has made the decision to remove [Power Up] game from the poker client,” a PokerStars representative told Poker Industry PRO. He added:

Designed to bridge the gap between poker and video games, Power Up had a strong and loyal following.”

The Stars Group-owned online poker cardroom has not said when Power Up will be removed from its lobby. There was also no explanation given as to why Power Up is being shut down.

With PokerStars known for its limited-time novelty poker games, it looks possible that a new release will replace it in the coming months.

Players can “cheat” using special abilities

Power Up is a three-handed Texas Hold’em Sit-and-Go at its core. However, it varies greatly from a regular poker game, in that each player is dealt two special cards at the outset of the hand. These cards grant the player “powers” that can be used to strategically manipulate the hand to the player’s advantage. It is akin to permissible cheating.

There are 11 different powers available, all dealt at random. Powers include the ability to view the next card for the rest of the hand, the opportunity to choose the next card from a selection of three, and being able to see a hole card from each opponent.

Each power costs “energy.” Players start with 10 energy and receive 2 energy after each hand, with a cap at 15 energy. Players also get one additional power card after the hand until they have a maximum of three. Multiple powers can be used consecutively as long as a player has enough energy.

eSports influence on Power Up is apparent

Power Up debuted for real money in October 2017 after several years of testing. A couple of its primary goals were “to reactivate players that may be tired of playing poker as it is today, and to speak to potential players that haven’t discovered the game yet,” according to PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset.

The competitive gaming influence can be seen in the pseudo-deck-building mechanic of the poker game.

PokerStars looked to jump on the wave of eSports with Power Up. The competitive gaming influence can be seen in the pseudo-deck-building mechanic of the poker game. The site also developed a brand new engine specifically for Power Up.

PokerStars was not the first to introduce this type of game. Mediarex Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Global Poker Index, launched a game called HoldemX in early 2016. Players could actually build a deck of powers, called “xcards”, before a HoldemX game started, using card points values and a points budget as a guide.