Last week, I put up a few questions around Reddit asking for people’s thoughts on Power Up. Apart from the usual internet troll behaviour, I got some interesting thoughts and comments on the game, and it’s potential.
I asked for people’s opinions in /r/Poker, a Magic: The Gathering Forum and a Hearthstone forum. My Hearthstone post was deleted by a mod for being off topic, so I didn’t really get any data from there. However, I got an interesting comment on my Magic: The Gathering sub-reddit post.
I had asked that due to Magic’s history of elite players moving to poker, did the community think that Power Up was of interest to them? One of the answers I got was interesting:
“Most players don’t move to poker; they play poker and magic. Poker is for money and magic is for fun. This game will never have as much money in it as poker and never be as much of a game as magic. It will always sit in a no mans land between work and play.” – Slurmsmackenzie8
“Slurms” has a decent point here. Serious Magic players play for the love of the game, not to make money. Yes, there are some events that have a prizepool, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Poker, on the other hand, is built around winning money. It’s the measuring stick us poker players use to compare us to the people we play against. Power Up is going to be in the same situation, it is a money-based game after all. However, if other measures of success could be developed, I think that could appeal more to a non-poker based audience.
In the sub-reddit, /r/poker, the poker player’s natural conservatism was evident, but there were some people who wanted to engage in a real discussion:
“The game is good but they should offer higher stakes.” – nookierj
Power Up is still technically in a Beta, and as was the pattern with Spin and Gos, I’d expect more stakes to be made available as the game is rolled out. Higher stakes are likely to attract poker players looking for an easier game while Power Up strategy develops.
“While combining video games and poker sounds like a no brainer, we can chalk this experiment up as being a failure.”
“I just think about what my “goals” are when I play poker, and when I play video games and the overlap that I think they hoped would be there just isnt.
I would love to see if the implementation of the game has encouraged new users to sign up.
What I realized has happened as I progress on my poker journey is that I become more and more removed from what new players are doing because I just dont play micros enough to be surrounded by them. So i recognize that I might not be apart of the demo PS was targeting when they put the game out.” – kornylol
Power Up seems designed to appeal to both micro level poker players and those playing poker adjacent games like Hearthstone and Magic. These games have a massive player base, and Power Up appears to me to be designed to appeal to these players, and introduce them to poker.
“Too many powers make it complicated to learn IMO. Should be just 2-3 powers. Also each hand takes longer because players are playing powers or just thinking more about what to play (or not). I know the levels go by number of hands (not time) but it is still frustrating to play when the action is so slow.
If you want to dedicate yourself to it, it is likely beatable right now because lots of people are just “trying it out” and are likely not strong players.” – echothree33
Power Up has the potential to have a deeper strategy than poker, with the addition of power cards adding an additional layer of decisions. With the poker side of the game being relatively shallow stacked, this does put a cap on the influence of poker strategy, so having 2 or 3 powers as echotree suggests would probably put too much of a limit on the skill ceiling of the game, in my opinion at least. I can see why a poker focused player would want to transfer as much of their current strategy as possible, but I can also see why that isn’t necessarily in the best interests of the game. Power Up needs to develop its own strategy and identity separately from poker. Game speed is a known issue, and the new blind structure put into place recently is a step in the right direction.
The games are soft right now. Unlike poker, there isn’t a defined beginner strategy, and we’re still evaluating what works and what doesn’t at the tables. Every player is working out the strategy for themselves. Not everyone doing this is a GTO master so the quality of that strategy is variable. This is likely to change as more strategy is published but with the design of the game I don’t think we’ll ever see the “standard” robotic play in Power Up.
No-one who responded to my questions from outside of the r/poker sub-reddit had any knowledge of Power Up. I had a few back and forth discussions about the game, and what is was before I got any real discussion. Power Up needs to penetrate these poker adjacent communities’ bubble. The game is currently flying under the radar and for it to gain acceptance with the poker community it needs to bring something to the table. The game itself may not be perfect, but it does what it needs to do is bring new players to the tables. Twitch is a great avenue to expose the game to new viewers, through variety streamers and esports type events.
If Power Up can be put in front of a larger twitch audience, I think the game will grow in leaps and bounds. The engagement I got from those who read my reddit posts showed me that there is an appetite for this game, they just need to learn what it is before they make their judgements.