Just as quickly as it started, PokerStars’ Unfold is now facing an imminent demise. Any day now, at any time, hopefully sooner rather than later. Unfold was initially expected to be removed last Monday, but PokerStars has a difficult time letting some things go.
In a statement to the poker news outlet pokerfuse, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset said, “Following a strategic review, we have made the decision to fold ‘Unfold.’”
Unfold was a simple option. It allowed a player to pay to unfold his cards if he or she determined that the flop was actually suitable. While it was billed as a way to “add a fun twist” to poker, it was, quite bluntly, just another way for PokerStars to increase its rake and went against everything poker stands for.
Rasset also told pokerfuse, “PokerStars is invested in creating and testing products and new variants of poker to suit a variety of player tastes. While not every new development will be a home run, we will keep trialling, listening to player feedback and analysing engagement with our goal of continuing to offer fresh promotions, formats and updates that enhance our players’ experience and bring more people to the game.”
Unfold was the third gimmick introduced by PokerStars this year. It was initially offered to the Danish market on August 1 and introduced to other markets a day later—after successful trials. One day certainly doesn’t seem like enough time to conduct successful trials.
Unfold Poker was to be a “permanent” offering on PokerStars. It’s not too surprising that it only lived for about a month, as neither of the previous two—Showtime Hold’em and Split Hold’em—have survived, either.
Instead of concentrating its resources on gimmicks and tricks that try to redefine the established game of poker, PokerStars can serve its users much better if it would focus on improving the core operations. Work should be done to improve server connectivity, reduce the opportunities for miscreants to launch distributed denial of service attacks and prevent bots and collusion from occurring—issues that are plaguing the online poker industry.