Ultimate Poker Tests Two Street Hold’em

Online poker room Ultimate Poker introduced a new poker variant Monday, attempting to bring yet another game to the poker world that requires less skill and more luck. The game, Two Street Hold’em, saw the light of day for the first time in a live test game at the Ultimate Gaming Headquarters in Las Vegas.

Two Street Hold’em was dreamt up by Chris Danek, Ultimate Poker’s Product Manager. On Ultimate Poker’s blog, “The Rail,” on Thursday, Danek wrote that he wanted a Hold’em game that didn’t have all that boring folding.

What I like is action. That’s what I want to bring. Straddles and blind raises, calls when you might have the worst of it, the deuce-seven game. Bring your drink and your best gamblin’ shirt, because this is no place for nits. We’re going to try an experiment over here at Ultimate Poker and toss up the rules a bit. I want to design a game that gives people the same joy and fun that Hold’em has without all the needless folding. Because who wants to watch the other guy in the tank for five minutes?

So he thought of Two Street Hold’em, a game which plays just as it sounds. It starts like regular Hold’em: everyone gets two hole cards and a round of betting ensues. But then, instead of a three-card flop, all of the community cards are dealt. At that point, what may be considered either the flop or river depending on one’s perspective, there is a second and final round of betting. Once all players have acted, those who stayed in the hand reveal their cards and the best five-card hand wins.

So there it is, all the fun and intrigue of Hold’em without all the silly strategy.

Reaction in the poker community to this point has been minimal. “Seems like a game with extremely high variance, and low skill factor. I don’t think this will get anymore popular than games like pineapple,” one poster on Two Plus Two wrote. “Fish will hate it: they won’t be able to chase…” said another.

After Monday’s live trial run, Danek and his people will review the results and “tweak the game a bit” before running another test, this time on UltimatePoker.com. That test will run for four hours the evening of February 14th and will be followed by two more the next two afternoons. It will be a very limited test, though, as just two tables of Two Street Hold’em will be open. The stakes are also odd, likely to encourage action: $1/$2 blinds with a whopping $1 ante.

It will be interesting to see if this takes off. Ultimate Poker could use the draw, as its standing in the U.S. online poker market has been sliding. Its flagship poker room, Ultimate Poker Nevada, has an average of just 75 cash players over the past seven days, according to PokerScout.com. Ultimate Poker in New Jersey is almost a non-factor, averaging only 16 players.

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