888poker Accidentally Launches New Flopomania Game Early
This year, in the day and age of great internet speeds and easy data distribution, we have seen Netflix get hacked and the coming season of “Orange is the New Black” released early online. A yet-to-be-aired episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was accidentally leaked online by a distributor and a massive hack of the cable network has resulted in episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104” put on the internet. So 888poker shouldn’t feel too bad that it inadvertently launched a new game, Flopomania, early.
For a few hours on Wednesday, 888poker players were treated to a surprise appearance by Flopomania in the site’s real-money cash game lobby. 888 never announced the new game, never put up a page about it on its website. All of a sudden, it was there, with low to micro stakes games available.
After it was discovered, 888 allowed all games in progress to finish up so that players wouldn’t worry about money on the table being lost and then shut down the games and removed all Flopomania tables from the lobby.
In a series of three tweets on Thursday, 888poker addressed the situation:
888poker recently experienced a technical incident, which resulted in the accidental release of our new game called “Flopomania”. It took us all by surprise as the game is in final testing. This highly anticipated game will be ready to launch in the upcoming weeks. We will make sure to take all measures needed to prevent any reoccurrence of such incidents in the future.
It was certainly good that the company addressed the issue instead of confusing people by acting like it never happened, although it is funny that it comes off as an apology, as if people were mad that they got to play a new game (then again, maybe people were upset that they didn’t get to keep playing).
And you know what else is amusing? 888poker had already inadvertently launched Flopomania a week earlier!
So those of you who weren’t lucky enough to see it are probably wondering what in the heck Flopomania is. From what it seemed in the short time that it was available, Flopomania looked almost exactly like any other No-Limit Hold’em game, except that there was no pre-flop betting. Everyone was dealt hole cards and the flop was dealt. From there, it played like Hold’em as we all know it.
There were also antes involved, likely making up for the removal of pre-flop action.
Of course, this all leads to a follow-up question: what is the point of Flopomania? What is 888poker trying to do with this?
For one, it looks like another attempt to cater to recreational players and speed up the game. For several years now, there has been a major push in the online poker industry to make games more attractive to recreational/casual players. One of the things people often don’t like about poker is that it is a slow game, even on the internet with time limits. And when a recreational player jumps online to have a little fun, what they don’t want is to sit there and slog through betting rounds, waiting for everyone to make a decision. By eliminating the pre-flop betting round, the hands are shortened.
Getting rid of pre-flop betting also helps recreational players because it takes part of the skill element out. The skill in poker is very much wrapped up in how people bet, so the less betting there is, the less skill is involved. Look at the extreme of the All-In Shootout found on PokerStars. There is literally no betting in those games and every player is all-in pre-flop. No betting equals no skill. Might as well spin a roulette wheel or flip a coin. In Flopomania, the gap is narrowed between recreational players and more serious grinders.
Finally, Flopomania very well may create more action. When everyone sees the flop for free (well, technically everyone has to pay an ante), there is more of a chance that several people will hit a piece of the board and want to continue on in the hand. Poker players tend to like action, so Flopomania could very well be more fun in that regard. The action, of course, also creates larger pots and more rake for 888.
It is possible that the opposite could happen, that players who normally would have bet/raised/called pre-flop would fold after the flop because they miss the board, resulting in less action than had the game been a regular Hold’em game, but I would guess that most of the time, especially if Flopomania is offered at low stakes, pots will be larger, on average. Recreational players are not typically as selective with their hands and are more likely to stay in a hand if they connect with the flop in any way, be it making a pair or seeing a draw. Even those who have a pocket pair and end up with a threatening flop may hold on for the turn and/or river because, after all, it’s a pair.
Besides, to we really think 888 would launch a game where it anticipates making LESS money than it normally would?