PokerStars to Launch Another Novelty Cash Game: Split Omaha

I’ve got to think that PokerStars is eventually going to run out of ideas. In the span of less than a year, it has launched five different novelty cash games and by the looks of things, it is about to launch yet another: Split Omaha.

Based on the images in the PokerStars folder, the Split Omaha table might look like this

Wha? How?

There has been no announcement made as to this mystery game, but a tiny bit of sleuthing made it surprisingly easy to uncover. I will let you in on the secret, so you, too, can feel like a tech genius, like a 1980’s hacker with an acoustic coupler modem. I’m not concerned with maintaining the façade of genius, as I still have my wife to look at me like I’m a total nerd when I install a new solid state drive in my laptop. That and my 8th grade math trophy make me feel like a hyper-cool geek.

When PokerStars pushes a software update for the poker client software, it sometimes pre-loads files onto your computer that will be used at a future date. By combing through the PokerStars folder and subfolders (I almost wrote “directory and subdirectories,” but then I remembered this is the year 2019. “Programs” are “apps” now, too.), you can find these buried goodies.

There are two subfolders called “splitomaha,” which obviously stand out because there is no game called Split Omaha on PokerStars right now. One of those folders, found in the “PokerStars\Gx” parent folder, contains further subfolders, one of which has three images for the future Split Omaha table (that folder is conveniently called “images”). There they are, a dark purple background, a purple table, and a Split Omaha logo. So get ready, because it certainly looks like the new game is coming.

Let’s Imagine the Game

Of course, the question is: what do we think Split Omaha will be?

I would be willing to bet several big blinds that Split Omaha will be an Omaha High game in which two sets of community cards are dealt. The game’s rules will be exactly like a normal Omaha game, except players can form two different hands, one with top board and one with the bottom board. Whoever has the best hand using the top board wins half the pot, and whoever wins with the bottom board wins the other half of the pot. If someone has the best Omaha hand with both sets of community cards, that player scoops everything.

I say it will be an Omaha High game because could you imagine a split board game combined with a Hi-Lo game? That it would be online would be a blessing because keeping track of four-way split pots live would be paralyzing.

A Year of Novelty Games

I suppose it is fitting that Split Omaha will be the next novelty cash game for PokerStars because once it is released, it will be almost exactly a year since the first new game in this PokerStars trend, Split Hold’em. Split Hold’em was launched in late March 2018 and, as you may remember, it was a Hold’em cash game with two sets of community cards. Hence why we assume Split Omaha will work the way it is presented above.

After Split Hold’em, Showtime Hold’em launched in May 2018, Unfold in August 2018, Fusion in November 2018, and the most recent, 6+ Hold’em in January 2019.

All of the novelty cash games have been temporary, each staying the lobby for about two months, give or take a few days. 6+ Hold’em was originally thought to be a permanent addition to the PokerStars catalog, but it, too, will be fleeting. It launched in mid-January, which means we probably only have about a couple weeks left to enjoy it.

New games have launched about a week and a half to two weeks after the previous one ended, so while we do not know when to expect Split Omaha, we could estimate that it might hit around the end of March or middle of April, again, almost exactly a year after Split Hold’em launched.

It is disappointing to many players that these games are only temporary, as they can be truly fun and interesting to play, a welcome change of pace from the usual games we play every day (“we” is a lie, as I live in a jurisdiction from which PokerStars does not accept customers). It makes sense, though, as a poker room probably wouldn’t want too wide a selection of games, lest it fracture the player base, spreading them too thin across the tables. PokerStars has indicated that it is giving consideration to bringing some novelty games back in multi-table tournament form.

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