PokerStars to Nix Popular Power Up Game

By Ben Hamill - November 17 2019

After 2 years of entertaining online players, the days of PokerStars’ exclusive poker variant Power Up are numbered. The Canadian-based operator, which is widely considered to be the largest in the world, has chosen to remove the game from its platforms without specifying exactly why.

According to a representative from the company, PokerStars has decided to remove Power Up on a date that is yet to be decided. He added that the game was built to bridge the gap between video games and classic poker, and gathered a loyal fan base during its time on the site. The representative noted that The Stars Group has not said exactly when the game will be removed from its lobby, and has not offered any explanation for the sudden shut down either.

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Rumours of a Replacement Game

PokerStars is well known for its limited-time-only games, so it has been speculated that a new release will replace Power Up sometime over the next few months. Power Up is a 3-handed Texas Hold’em Sit and Go game that varies significantly from a standard game.

Each player in a round receives 2 special cards at the beginning of the hand. It is these cards that make the difference, as they grant players the ‘power’ to strategically manipulate their hand to their own winning advantage. Essentially, this feature is tantamount to permissible cheating, which is why it became so popular among players at the site.

The game offers 11 different powers, all of which are dealt randomly. The powers involve the ability to see the next card for the rest of the hand, choose the next card from a set of 3, and see each opponent’s hole card to give oneself the upper hand.

Targeting the eSports Trend

Players in Power Up start with 10 energy points and obtain another 2 energy points after each side, with the energy meter capped at 15 points. Participants in the game also receive another power card after each hand until they have 3 in total. Multiple powers can be used in a round, as long as a player has enough points in their energy meter to do so.

Power Up first launched in October 2017 after a few years of beta testing. According to PokerStars Director of Poker Development Severin Rasset, the game’s launch was intended to ‘reactivate’ players who may have been bored with classic online poker and to appeal to potential players who had not yet discovered the wonderful world of real money card gaming. The virtual game’s pseudo-deck-creating mechanic created a competitive gaming environment as well.

PokerStars ultimately sought to use Power Up to jump onto the eSports trend bandwagon. The game’s aforementioned pseudo-deck building system generated a rivalry not unlike that of the competitive video gaming sphere, which is another reason behind its popularity.

Interestingly though, the brand was not the first to launch such a title. Mediarex Sports and Entertainment launched a similar game in 2016 that allowed players to build power decks called ‘xcards’ while using card and budget points to assist their performances.

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