Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Aaron Todd Archives
More Strategy Experts
11 February 2016
By Aaron Todd
There's been a lot of action at the heads-up poker tables at PokerStars.com recently, and none of it involves cards or chips. PokerStars is changing the way heads-up poker will be played online, making it more fun and easily accessible to casual players through its mobile product, Duel.
Duel is a mobile app that gives PokerStars players the ability to play heads-up matches against anyone in the world at any time — or at least it will when it goes global; today's launch only includes a beta version in Norway.
The game is intended to be a social one, played between friends either with real money at stake, in jurisdictions where that is legal, or merely for bragging rights. Players will also be able to play against PokerStars sponsored pros like Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker.
Perhaps the most innovative part of the app is that players will be able to suspend their games at any point during game play. You can play on the train on the way to work, and when you get to your stop, you can put your phone away and leave it there until your train ride home. Even if it's your turn to act, your hand won't be folded because you took too much time.
PokerStars is marketing the game as "a broader strategy to introduce poker to new audiences" and is clearly an attempt to create the poker version of Words With Friends — the sixth-most-downloaded app on iOS, according to appcrawlr.com — which you also play against friends and can pick up and play at any point when it's your turn.
Meanwhile, players looking to jump into heads-up games on the desktop client at PokerStars.com will find that they are limited to Zoom Poker games, where opponents are determined randomly and change after every hand.
The approaches appear to be in direct contrast with each other, but in fact, they actually complement each other perfectly.
Poker has traditionally been a social game. Internet poker, and PokerStars specifically, changed that. The emergence of the online grinder meant that players eschewed the social aspect of the game in favor of finding the highest possible profit margins. Nowhere was that more evident than the high-stakes heads-up tables, where players would sit out and refuse to play when someone they viewed as better than or equal to themselves in skill appeared. "Bum hunting" became commonplace, and it drew the ire of many in the poker community, perhaps most notably Phil Galfond.
Recreational players were scared away — it's not fun to feel preyed upon — and the games got even tougher for those trying to make a living playing the game. Removing the ability for players to hand-pick opponents gives recreational players a chance to face each other and at the very least, not feel preyed upon.
Meanwhile, Duel will give people around the world a way to play poker as a social game with friends. Most of these games likely won't be for real money, but a fair number will be. Along the way, PokerStars may find a few new players willing to jump into a Spin & Go, or even some cash games. That's great for PokerStars, and most likely great for poker, too.
8 February 2016While traders think Bernie Sanders will run away with New Hampshire, they still like Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nod by more than a 2-1 margin. (photo by Gage Skidmore)Last week's Iowa caucuses marked the beginning of the U.S. presidential nomination process, and with it came a flood of media ... (read more)
1 February 2016On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers will try to complete one of the most successful seasons in NFL history against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The game features an exciting young quarterback in Carolina's Cam Newton, taking on living legend Peyton Manning, who may be playing the last game of his NFL career. ... (read more)
20 January 2016Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton became the fourth state attorney general to say that daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel constitute illegal gambling under state law when he issued an advisory opinion on the industry on Tuesday. First, it was Eric Schneiderman in New York. ... (read more)