The PowerUp Alpha: More Lessons Learned (Part 2)

This won’t be an ongoing series, but it seems unfair to curtail our opinions on PowerUp’s Alpha release to just a single piece. This game has massive potential but like any strategy title in its infancy it also has some major growing up to do before people genuinely begin to embrace it. Specifically people who love games but DON’T love poker. PowerUp blasted its way across up to 100 simultaneous games for the few weeks. Innovative – sure? Prettier than normal NL – of course (explosions!) Issues – aplenty. Here’s (some more) of what we’ve learned:

Is 3-handed really the best format?

The fact that PowerUp Alpha had only 3-handed could be attributed to the fact that it was simply the first iteration of the game and the only seating format for which proper balancing of all PowerUp cards was done. As such we won’t dog PokerStars too for this, as much as we’ll just dream.

Why not Heads Up play? This guarantees every pot is contested and people don’t just sit around waiting for the blinds to go up so they can Upgrade/ EMP/ All-in their way to glory. Tightness wasn’t really an issue in the Alpha release because *surprise* it never is on play money tables. We guarantee you though – once this game is played for even a single solitary dollar there will be a lot of nits refusing to put a single chip in pre before a. They have their all-in setup and b. Before stacks are so shallow that their opponents likely fold to any PowerUp-heavy action.

Why not 6 or even 8-max tables? If players want to play the waiting game fine. That’s fun…we assume. But then make the game more full. The effects of a lot of PowerUp cards would change – some would become much more powerful for example (looking at you, X-Ray) and others would change play up much more than if used 3-handed (*cough” Engineer *cough*) as they could be replicated by numerous players in a row for massive informational windfalls.

Simply put – don’t limit yourself PowerUp. Give the action junkies and tournament grinders what they want, just make them separate formats rather than forcing everyone into the no-man’s-land of tight aggression that is 3-handed PowerUp.

Let’s get deeper stacks into the mix.

I feel like we bring this point up in at least 30% of what we’ve written about the PowerUp Alpha so I’ll keep it short. Let’s play this deep people!

Why? Because PowerUp should be more than a game where people set up all-ins 90% of the time and set up good flops for all-ins 10% of the time. It’s obvious that some PowerUp cards – like Scanner and Disintegrate – were designed with more in mind than just mining for pairs pre-flop and blowing up Aces and Kings on the flop (respectively).

There is so much opportunity for fancy plays – chasing draws, breaking draws, levelling people into thinking you’re hitting something you’re not – that simply become moot because 10 minutes into the game you’re playing enhanced push/fold. Throw in a 4th PowerUp card, get the stacks up to 100 bb deep at the start and let people’s edges come from interesting multi-street PowerUp play rather than from how well the manage to create a pair of JJ+ pre-flop.

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