PokerStars Launches Side Bet Trial at Hold’em Tables

  • Feature rolled out in select jurisdictions with no formal announcement
  • It sees players bet on upcoming hole cards or flop in Hold'em games
  • Poker community not thrilled with new side bet feature overall
poker player manipulating chip stacks
PokerStars has started testing a side bet feature on Hold’em tables in select markets. [Image:]

Quiet implementation

In an under-the-radar move, online poker giant PokerStars has added side bets to its poker tables. The side bet feature is only available in limited markets at this time and is only an option on Hold’em tables.

only available in limited markets at this time

PokerStars has not made a formal announcement about the addition. Poker Industry PRO was the first poker media outlet to issue an exclusive report on the update.

Members of the poker community have confirmed seeing it at the tables, though there has been no word on the specific jurisdictions where it is active.

Put money on a guessing game

Side bets are commonly seen at casino table games like blackjack. But aside from televised high-stakes games, most poker fans probably haven’t encountered them very often.

A side bet in poker, sometimes called a prop bet, is a bet made outside of the poker hand being played. It may involve something that happens in the hand, such as what the suit of the turn will be, but it has nothing to do with the actual outcome of the hand within the rules of the game. Depending on the poker room, the players might be allowed to make side bets with each other, or they might be required to adhere to side bets put forth by the house.

The side bets available on PokerStars are what a player’s upcoming hole cards will be or what the flop will look like. These bets are made against the house.

As such, money wagered comes from a player’s funds that are on deposit with PokerStars, rather than the chips currently on the table. Money on the table in the form of chips is strictly for poker play.

Thumbs down from the poker community

So far, the poker community has shown little reaction to the new side bet feature. The response to date has been negative.

Players on internet poker forums do not like how intrusive the side bet function is. For those who don’t wish to see it, it can be turned off from within the poker client settings.

Serious poker players are not fond of non-poker ways for their opponents to lose money

People also see it as another way for PokerStars to get players’ funds by means other than rake. Serious poker players are not fond of non-poker ways for their opponents to lose money.

Side bets will take money out of the poker ecosystem before it circulates through the tables, leaving less of it for the better players to win.

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