Journey of PokerStars Power Up poker in 2017
We can still remember when the whispers of a poker new card game, similar to Hearthstone, but for real money, came out. This was in 2015 (the development of the game actually started in March 2014) and it prompted our interest in the aforementioned game. In the beginning of 2017, when the Power Up game finally popped up on PokerStars, it was clear that the poker giant was onto something big.
So what have been the Power Up milestones in 2017?
It was in mid-february when the game first got released for technical testing. At the time it was only available to a limited amount of people and it was still unclear how long it will take for it to be widely available.
On 30th of June the wider Alpha version of the game became available in .eu, .net and .com markets, which finally allowed the general public to try it out for play money. During that stage we also had the opportunity to see some of the PokerStars team players try the game out on Twitch.
On July 8th PokerStars introduced some changes to the play money games: New stakes: - 10k - 25k - 100k and 1k buy-in deep: - 2.5k starting chips - 10 starting energy - 7 hands per blind level.
Alpha phase finished on 18th of July and there was nothing left to do but to wait and see what comes next. On the 24th of August developers launched the second limited access Alpha stage, this time also allowing .uk players to try it out. This phase was officially closed on 2nd of September, with the announcement that the next phase will bring real money games.
On 15th of September new features were made available to players on .com, .eu, .uk, .net; and the developers started running new Power Up tests, trying different structures on each license to try to nail down the final one for real money. This test phase closed on 26th of September, since devs felt like they had enough data now to make the final decision on the structure.
The big day
On 10th of October Power up poker finally went live for real money ($1 & $3) on .eu with other licenses to be rolled out throughout that week. There was also an announcement of the planned stakes for the games, $1, $3, $7, and $15. After a rocky start (the game had to be removed the next day since there was an issue on the mobile app) the games returned on desktop client on the 16th of October on .com, .eu, .uk and .net for play money. Following day the real money Power Up was back online on .eu and since then the game hasn't been taken down yet for more than a few hours for scheduled maintenance.
On the 20th of October the $7 stakes were finally introduced and a week after that, on 24th Power Up became available on mobile phone for .eu, .com and .uk clients.
Up to this point the special avatars that represented the players behind the table were random and we didn't know much about them. That changed on 26th of October when avatar selection had become possible, and we were also finally able to find out who these characters are and what their playing styles are. Even though at this point they haven't got any impact on the game, it is a nice touch to let each player choose a character they feel represents them the best.
Seeing as the game is still technically in Beta phase, there were (and still are) some glitches and bugs that developers have been trying to fix while making sure that it runs smoothly on all platforms. We wrote about this in our Developer update (Live on stream!) article.
The month of December brought some more changes: structure change in play money games, a quiet, but very exciting announcement of Power Up MTT's, and finally, a reveal of the rake structure for the $15's (which are hopefully coming soon!)
So, what now?
We have waited a long time for this game and seeing it develop and grow was really a great and exciting journey. We have high hopes for this upcoming year and feel that big things are coming in the future, which will make this game a real success. And we promise that we'll be there every step of the way! 2018, bring it on!
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