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Aug 17, 2019

PokerStars Rolls Out All-In Insurance, 6+ Hold’em Spin & Go’s

By RTR Dennis

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PokerStars has always been one of the biggest innovators in online poker. Not surprisingly, they’re at it again with a couple of new features that should please players.

The world’s largest poker site is now offering both all-in insurance and short-deck “6+ Hold’em Spin & Go’s.” You can find out more on these features/games below and why they’re worth trying.

All-In Cash Out Feature

Stars is in the processing testing an “All-In Cash Out” option. Currently available on play money tables, this all-in feature provides the chance to take equity after shoving.

This option doesn’t influence the results or odds of a hand. Instead, it just offers the chance to earn a cash payout based on one’s hand value. PokerStars provides the insurance and charges a fee worth up to 1% of a player’s equity.

Of course, nobody has to take the protection. But it’s a nice way to guarantee something from an all-in pot. Any player who elects not to accept insurance will simply win or lose based on the hand results.

Here’s an example of how All-In Cash Out works:

  • You have pocket jacks (53.68% equity).
  • The opponent has ace-king suited (45.94% equity).
  • Tie (0.38% equity).
  • Blinds are $1/$2.
  • You shove with $150.
  • The opponent calls.
  • Everybody else folds.
  • Pot = $303 ($300 from two all-in hands, plus $3 in blinds).
  • You select the insurance feature.
  • The opponent ignores this option and lets the hand play out.
  • $162.65 in equity (53.68% of $303), minus the house fee of $1.63 ($162.65 x 0.01) = $161.02
  • You receive $161.02.
  • The opponent loses the hand.
  • PokerStars collects the remaining $141.98 from the pot.

The Benefit of All-In Cash Out

The main draw to poker insurance is that it reduces variance. You may lament the many times you’ve gone all-in and lost with a great hand.

Insurance guarantees money from any given all-in hand. It provides this opportunity at a relatively cheap cost too, since PokerStars only takes 1% from your equity.

Furthermore, you can also guarantee a profit with good equity. With pocket aces or kings, you’ll very likely have the best hand.

Another advantage is that insurance encourages more action. Players will feel more comfortable shoving if they have the option of receiving guaranteed money from their equity.

Short Deck 6+ Hold’em Spin & Go’s

Spin & Go’s are highly popular SNGs at PokerStars. They have the ability to offer huge prizes, relative to the buy-in, thanks to a multiplier ranging from 2x to 12,000x.

Now, PokerStars is adding to their Spin & Go selection with a short-deck 6+ Hold’em version. Available at buy-ins ranging from $1 to $100, these tourneys use a short-deck format and require both antes and blinds.

Short-deck hold’em has become more popular ever since appearing in high-stakes cash games. In particular, it gained plenty of fame after surfacing in the Triton Super High Roller Series in 2018.

PokerStars subsequently introduced 6+ Hold’em in January 2019. This game has succeeded at Stars, whereas other innovations, such as Showtime Hold’em and Unfold Poker, have failed.

How Does Short Deck Hold’em Work?

If you’ve never played short-deck hold’em before, then you shouldn’t have much trouble learning the rules. It works much like standard Texas hold’em, minus a few cards from the deck.

All card values from 2-5 are removed, leaving the deck with 36 cards. Thus, you have a better chance of forming big hands thanks to the lack of low values.

This game has a few other nuances. For example, the wheel straight is A-6-7-8-9 due to the removal of 2s through 5s. The odds of making different hands are also quite different from a 52-card deck. Additionally, a flush outranks a full house.

All in all, short-deck hold’em is definitely a fun variation to try. It’s especially interesting in the new Spin & Go format.