PokerStars Launches Fusion

We didn’t know what exactly it would be or when it would arrive, but it is finally here. PokerStars announced today the launch of a new cash game, Fusion. Based on the name, many figured it might be some perversion, some Frankenstein’s monster of Hold’em and Omaha, and those guesses were exactly right.

More Like Mutant, Amirite?

A game of Fusion starts out just like any other Hold’em game: everyone is dealt two hole cards and a betting round ensues. Then there’s a flop. Then players’ brains begin to bend. After the flop is dealt, every player still in the hand gets another hole card. That’s three hole cards. That’s also an abomination, something for which the poker gods might very well smite PokerStars and all of its heathen followers. After the flop betting round, the turn is dealt and then…oh god. Everyone is dealt a fourth hole card.

So at this point, after the turn, the game is Omaha. And I’m not just saying it’s Omaha because it looks like Omaha with four hole cards. It is Omaha. Players who stay in the hand all the way are evaluated on their best five-card poker hand using two of their hole cards and three cards from the board.

And that’s it! That’s Fusion, the CatDog of poker. Fusion is a Pot-Limit game and, like some of the other unique offerings PokerStars has introduced, will be temporary.

I’m not much of a poker strategist nowadays, but my quick two cents is that one would be wise to view Fusion as an Omaha game, you are going to need to have the best Omaha hand to win at showdown. That means that while high pairs are obviously good starting hands, suited Aces and connectors are viable, as well. You’re going to have to be willing to throw them away quickly, though, if that third card doesn’t show much promise.

I suspect bluffing could get tough, as players are going to hold on to lots of different hole card combos, but at the same time, those times you have a monster could become extremely possible.

Remember, however, that I don’t know shit, so don’t bombard me with comments about how I don’t know shit. I already know that and you will just be reinforcing my world view.

PokerStars Loves Its Oddball Games

If we can define 2018 as anything for PokerStars, it is the year of the novelty game. In April, PokerStars introduced the action-thriller Split Hold’em, which was a Texas Hold’em game with two sets of board cards. In order to scoop the entire pot, players were required to have the best five-card hand with both sets of community cards. Split pots were extremely common, as very often one player won a hand using the top board cards and someone else had the best hand with the bottom set of board cards.

Then in May, Showtime Hold’em booted up. Showtime Hold’em was nasty. In this game, players who folded were forced to reveal their hole cards for the rest of the hand. It required players to change-up, reverse, and flip their strategies constantly. Play too tightly? Everyone is going to see you folded Queens pre-flop. Playing garbage constantly and then folding after the flop? Everyone is going to know it. It was a madhouse.

Unfold, which came in early August, was originally announced as a permanent cash game, but PokerStars changed its mind and made it temporary like the others. Before a hand of Unfold, every player contributed an ante to an “unfold pot.” After the flop, anyone who had folded pre-flop could “Unfold” and get back in the game by paying a fee equal to the unfold pot (that fee went into the unfold pot). Those “unfolded” players then just waited to see the turn and river dealt and whichever of them had the best hand won the unfold pot. Those who hadn’t folded pre-flop just continued the hand – only against each other – as normal, playing for the main pot.

And now there is Fusion, another temporary addition. It is rumored that PokerStars will also introduced Six-Plus Hold’em at some point, but we don’t know when.

PokerStars also told Poker Industry Pro back in September that it is considering bringing some of the novelty games back in tournament form.

“We are considering putting variants in, such as MTTs, because player feedback showed that they [would appreciate] this,” said PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset. “Some players were disappointed that they could not find games when we turned them off, so this is something that we want to potentially offer.”

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