Tried a couple of those timed tournaments at Pokerstars yesterday. Fun games for sure, and also fun thinking about how to adjust your approach to beat them... I'm going to put my thought into writing that these are not a long term winner in the poker world. A headline grabbing gimmick at worst and an entertaining distraction at best.
Innovation in online poker has a huge role to play, keeping the games fresh and the fish happy! Here are my thoughts on a few of the other innovations for the last couple of years... along with a virtual thumbs up or down.
Party Poker Double Holdem
This was almost exactly a year ago, I know this as I booked a couple of nice little domains with a view to becoming an authority if this game ever took off (just let them expire!). The game involved being dealt 3 cards and then making one of them your 'key card' after the flop... giving you 2 sets of 2 hole cards to play with. A great idea, though I never saw it gain the traction it deserved and not even sure if it still runs today.
Full Tilt Poker Rush
Rush was the biggest and best innovation to come out of online poker in many years. As soon as you fold one hand you are instantly in another with players from the same 'pool' as you. Have to admit that I was a bit of a Rush PLO addict and would fire up a couple of tables of this to 'relax'. If FTP do not make it back then whoever licenses this software will make a killing! There now one variation which works along the same lines – though the site is very small at the moment it is starting to pick up a little momentum, it is called 'Speed Poker' and you can find out more via my Terminal Poker Review page at SNG Planet.
Knockout Bounty Tournaments
These are available on so many sites and formats now that they have become part of the mainstream. Only a few years ago bounties were restricted to specific prizes for knocking out pros, not a cash for every player eliminated. Again it was Full Tilt who really made this format popular, though Pokerstars and most of the other major sites now have some form of this game. I love the psychology of hands where someone is all-in with only a few chips... an excellent and often overlooked innovation.
Timed SNG tournaments... hang on a minute, these games from Party Poker were based on stack sizes after a certain time – just goes to show that there is not much original after all.
There might have been the occasional gambling game based around being all-in a lot before, however it is only really the last few years which have seen a huge amount of Hyper-Turbo activity. These games contain some skill, if push-fold charts and the ability to mass multi table are considered skill... the real winners are the rooms themselves and bonus / rakeback / points chasers who can get massive volume in!
Double-Up / Fifty50 Games
We only have to go back a few years and the double or nothing SNGs were not there at all, now there are all sorts of variations available. Again volume and ease of multi-tabling make these appealing to grinders... whether they really did anything positive for the world of online poker, meh, I don't think so!
Deep / Shallow / Min Buy-in Cash Games
Ending with a positive, the cash games have gotten better choices – particularly when it comes to avoiding short-stackers, which at one point looked like they were going to become a permanent menace to those trying to make the most of their skills. Not that I have anything against short-stackers, they are / were simply exploiting an open opportunity to make cash. We are now able to choose tables with 50bb or 100bb minimum buy-ins – or go shallow if this is preferred. The cap limit tables at the late FTP were different again, with the max you could bet on any single hand restricted to a single buy-in.
Probably loads more... will leave those for another post.
For lots of news on promos, new games and all that good stuff covering the main poker networks, you can check out my news site: The Poker Bonus Network