PokerStars Begins Testing Poker Side Bets
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PokerStars players will soon be able to make side bets on upcoming cards if the current tests are deemed successful.
Betting on upcoming cards is nothing new to poker, although it is a first in the realm of online poker. Live poker players often bet on the flop being all one colour, all one suit, or a particular card arriving in an attempt to negate the boredom of waiting for playable hands to be dealt to them.
While PokerStars has not made an official announcement on its website or blog about these new side bets, Poker Industry PRO says it has seen a webpage detailing the side bets feature.
Currently only available on both the UK and .EU PokerStars clients, and at hold’em tables only, all side bets are made against the house, i.e. PokerStars. Wagers are removed from the players’ account balances and not from their stack at the table.
A House Edge Of Almost Three Per Cent
PokerStars hasn’t fully revealed what side bets are available, but players are believed to be able to bet o whether or not they’ll be dealt a pocket pair, or if the flop is all one suit.
The theoretical Return-To-Player (RTP) is 97.12% for side bets on flops and 97.29% for betting on hole cards. These figures give the new side bets a house advantage of between 2.71% and 2.88%. For comparison, single-zero European roulette has a house edge of 2.70% while betting on the Banker in Baccarat has a house edge of 1.06%.
This type of side bet is something completely new to online poker, although having the ability to bet on other games has been around for several years.
Side Games On Other Poker Sites
partypoker players are only a mouse-click away from being able to open a roulette or blackjack table when they are seated in cash games. The same is also possible for skins of the iPoker Network, and sites on the GG Network, including GGPoker and Natural8.
There has not been much feedback from the poker community thus far, perhaps because the side bets feature is being tested to a select group, but it wouldn’t be surprising if large sections of PokerStars players are against this latest addition.
The main reason for this is side bets take away players’ bankrolls faster than if they were simply playing poker tournaments or cash games. Those making side bets are effectively paying an additional 2.71 to 2.88% rake as they play, and many people believe the rake is already unbeatable, particularly at micro and low stakes where these types of bets are more prevalent.
PokerStars’ All-In Insurance
This latest feature comes after the introduction of All-In Cash Out, essentially insurance for cash game players who find themselves all-in.
Once enabled, All-in Cash Out gives players the chance to cash out their equity in the hand if they are all-in before the river. Cashing out costs 1% of your equity, so if you were a 70% favourite in a $100 pot, you’d receive $69.30 ($70 minus the 1% fee PokerStars takes for facilitating this option). The hand then plays out as usual with the player not using insurance being able to win the pot in a traditional manner, instead playing against the house not their opponent.
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