PokerStars’ new Power Up game went live last week and is now running smoothly with $1, $3 and – since October 20 – $7 buy-ins.
Power Up features several “super powers” added to regular No-Limit Hold’em that let you control parts of the gameplay, your hole cards and even those of your opponents.
The game was first introduced at PSC Barcelona last August and we spoke with the Director of Innovation, Severin Rasset, about it.
Meanwhile, the members of Team PokerStars have been eager to try Power Up out and have a few suggestions about its best weapons.
X-Ray & Intel, Obv.
It appears that there’s one power – out of 9 total – that resonates particularly well with the pros.
Given how successful they are in the regular game of No-Limit Hold'em, you might want to pay attention to it when you play Power Up yourself.
Igor Kurganov, Jeff Gross, Jason Mercier, Felipe Ramos, Jamie Staples, Adrienne Rowsome and Mikhail Shalamov were the pros asked for their first impressions of the game and their answers were revealing.
Three out of 7 opted for X-Ray -- the power to see one of your opponent's hole cards at random) as the one power card they like the most.
Mercier picked X-Ray because it “seems like a huge advantage and should make it very easy to make decisions throughout the hand.”
Shalamov agreed, saying it’s “always easier to play against your opponent when you know 50% of their holdings." Rowsome raved about X-Ray’s ability to “reveal so much about your opponents’ hand and there is nothing they can do about it."
There's something about seeing more cards than other players that PokerStars pros consider to be more valuable as Intel - which let’s you peek at the top card of the deck - proved to be the second most popular power in this group.
As Jaime Staples explained, it "gives you a sick advantage while the your opponent is still blind." Kurganov agreed and adds “having certain information, or as certain as it gets in Power Up, is a very nice advantage – more so than getting to shuffle the cards."
Upgrade & Clone Have Their Fans
2017 Most Inspiring Play nominee Jeff Gross says he prefers Upgrade, " as being able to obtain an extra card and then combine two of the three is a very nice advantage to have.”
2016 Most Inspiring Player winner Felipe Ramos, on the other hand, is known to be excitable and for having his own views on things. He picked Clone as his preferred power: “Imagine if you could clone anything in your life … you can in this game!”
Avatars, as Expected, are Personal
Another feature of Power Up is that get to pick an avatar to represent you at the table.
All the characters depicted have different background stories and playing styles, although they don’t actually have any effect on the game.
So you can either pick your personal avatar to describe your own style or you can pick your avatar to hide it and mislead your opponents.
Or, of course, you can go the Jason Mercier way, who decided on Sora Hamada not just because Hamada has strong memory and a short attention span, but also because “he has facial hair."
Hamada is the only avatar that two of the PS team pros considered their favorite as Jeff Gross also said Hamada’s memory skills and focus weaknesses reminded him of himself.
The other favorites of the PS players:
- Jaime Staples – Hitch Reider
- Mikhail Shalamov – Arlo Shank
- Adrienne Rowsome – Shayu Jyn
- Igor Kurganov – Charlotte Nagy
- Felipe Ramos – Miles Legend
If you want to know more about the natures of the different avatars, check in on Power Up in the PokerStars lobby. You’ll go through a short tutorial before you get started to learn all you need to know to play the game.
If you don’t have a PokerStars account yet visit our PokerStars review page where you’ll find links to download the PokerStars software securely and get yourself a $600 bonus.