We know you like poker already.
How do you feel about poker mixed with science fiction, fantasy role play and esports?
PokerStars' game-changing Power Up variation was introduced to the poker world at the PSC Barcelona last August and PokerListings got a first-hand impression of the new game.
We also spoke with Severin Rasset, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, about the idea behind it.
As of this week, Power Up is now online for real-money play. The goal of the new variation is more action and less edge. Will it become a must-play game for poker players? Here's a quick look at the main features, the differences to regular Hold’em, the powers explained and more.
What is Power Up Poker?
Power Up is a 3-player Sit-and-Go. As with every Sit-and-Go the goal is to collect all the chips -- particularly because it’s played in winner-take-all format.
There might be more players at the table in later stages, PokerStars says, but for now the 3-player SnG is the only format available.
Game play follows the regular Texas Hold’em rules but it adds “special powers” that turn a lot of traditional Hold'em game play on its head.
How PokerStars Power Up Works
At the core of PokerStars Power Up is the power to change the game in your favor by changing cards – your own, your opponents’ and the board cards.
There are nine different powers (at least for now). You'll be dealt three of them at random at the start of the game.
You can use one power at a time. It’ll then be replaced by a random new one (but not one that you already have in your arsenal).
You are also provided with a certain amount of energy. Using a power will cost some of that energy. It says at the top of each power how much energy it costs to use.
When you run out of energy you can’t use any more powers. Every hand you don’t use a power you’ll get more energy in your “energy account.”
Every Power Up Revealed
PokerStars can add, remove and replace any of the powers at any given time to prevent players from developing an edge and to perpetually change the dynamic of the game.
Here are the powers in place as the game went live this week. The order is alphabetical and doesn’t represent the quality or force of any power.
Clone – Passive; gives you the last power that was played in the hand instead of a random one
Disintegrate – Active; lets you destroy the community card just dealt when used on turn or river; when used on the flop, you pick the card for destruction
EMP – Passive; protects one card on the board from being affected from any powers your opponents might use
Engineer – Active; reveals the next three cards from the deck for all to see but you pick the one that’ll be dealt on the next street
Intel – Passive; reveals the top card of the deck for you before it’s being dealt for any of the streets still left in the hand
Reload – Active; discard one of your hole cards at the start of the hand and get a new one
Scanner – Active; lets you peak at the top two cards of the deck and discard one of them; your opponents will not know which card you eliminated
Upgrade – Active; gives you a third hole card at the start of the hand but you have to get rid of one of them before the flop
X-ray – Passive; lets you look at one of your opponent’s hole cards; neither of you can pick the one that’s exposed
NOTE: If a player goes all-in they lock the cards, visualized by red frames. When the cards are locked no more powers can be played.
PokerStars Power Up Avatars
Contrary to regular Hold’em, you’re not just picking a screen name that you play with.
Instead you’re picking from a wide range of avatars like you do in fantasy and video games. Every avatar has its own unique history and personality.
The avatars have no actual influence on the game, though (albeit maybe a psychological one). Says Severin Rasset:
“…we believe it will make a difference for you and how you play depending on which avatar you pick. It’ll show some part of your own personality and that’ll be different from one person to the other.”
How to Play PokerStars Power Up
PokerStars Power Up should be live as you read this although it did go offline temporarily during its launch week.
Availability in international markets will added one by one so the game won’t show up everywhere at the same time.
When Power Up goes live on your market it’ll appear in the lobby in the top tabs next to “Cash," “Zoom,” “Spin & Go” and so on.
Play PokerStars Power Up or any other poker game on PokerStars for real or play money any time you want.
if you've yet to get your own PokerStars account, find a secure download link on our PokerStars review page and get a $600 bonus.