By Nathan Caroll, Rakeback.com Staff Writer
On September 16, 2010, PartyPoker introduced a brand new game type into the world of online poker, a Texas Hold'em variation they're calling Double Hold'em.
In Double Hold'em, players are each dealt three cards. The preflop betting round proceeds as usual, but after the flop, a key rule is introduced. Each player is prompted to select a point card. The point card forms two two-card combinations with each of the other, non-point cards. The non-point cards don't work with each other. After each player selects a point card, play proceeds as normal, with rounds of betting on the flop, turn, and river.
At showdown, each player reveals his or her hand and the pot is awarded according to standard high-hand rankings.
Double Hold'em positions itself on the spectrum between traditional hold'em and Omaha Hold'em games. In standard hold'em, each player has only one two-card combination of hole cards. In Omaha, that number increases exponentially to six, as each additional hole card can work with every other hole card. Through the introduction of the point card mechanism, Double Hold'em ensures that the number of two-card combinations a player can have in the hole is exactly--well, doubled.
Double Hold'em was created exclusively for PartyPoker by a company called TableBrain. TableBrain was founded in 2005 by E. Mark Gross and Zvi Lando, who left behind successful careers as a lawyer and a hedge fund manager, respectively. The company's self-described mission is to "take poker to the next level." To that end, TableBrain has developed and patented several poker variations and casino games, including TableWinner Hold'em and Selector Hold'em.
The TableBrain website argues that the much higher number of starting hand combinations increases the strategic possibilities of the game and allows for a greater skill component than traditional hold'em. They explain that Double Hold'em has 1,755 non-equivalent starting hands, to standard hold'em's relatively few 169. PartyPoker and TableBrain are banking on the fact that online players will respond positively to a game that is simple enough for beginners yet offers more complexity than regular, two-card hold'em.
Players on the network are slowly starting to migrate over to the Double Hold'em tables at all limits. Within a day of its introduction, an NL game with blinds of $25/$50 was running, but the traffic at Double Holdem tables overall still represents just a small portion of the site's player base. Only time will tell how the game is integrated into the online poker zeitgeist.
If you'd like to try Double Hold 'Em on Party Poker, sign up for your free account here.
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