What changes in this exciting new hybrid game is not what our pot odds are, but what they need to be in order for us to play. As we shall see, the pot odds requirements are significantly lessened in PokerStars FUSION compared with HOLDEM and this is due to the fact that eventually having four hole cards instead of two makes competing hole cards much closer together than in Holdem. AK becomes AKxx and QJ becomes QJxx where x is some random other card. AKxx is just a 55% favourite against QJxx in PokerStars FUSION. AK in Holdem, is a whopping 64% favourite vs, QJ. There in lies the difference, but which pre-flop spots does this concept matter in the most?
Blind DefenceIn PokerStars FUSION the pre-flop raiser, when he attacks our big blind from Under the Gun, on a 6-max table, cannot force us out of the pot so easily. In Holdem, he wields a huge range advantage and therefore, when he makes it 3bb to go, and we are risking 2bb to win 4.5bb, (remember the small blind is dead money in the pot) our pot odds of 2.25:1 are not going to be sufficient for calling with a speculative hand like Kh6h. In PokerStars FUSION, our hand will become Kh6hx and soon after that, Kh6hxx. Our xs might easily turn out to be better than our opponent's and could easily connect harder with the board and so the significance of the first two cards is lessened dramatically. We are now much closer to having 50% equity and with the dead money in the pot being as it is, we are incentivized to call the 2bb and take a flop along with our third hole card.
One mistake we should anticipate from players new to PokerStars FUSION is folding their blinds too often. The game creates a strong visual illusion appearing just like Holdem pre-flop before it rapidly becomes a different game altogether.
In position this incentive to see a flop becomes even more pronounced. Small blind opens to 2.5bb and Hero wakes up in the Big Blind with 96o. This looks like a trashy Holdem hand, but we are not playing Holdem! Our 96xx in PokerStars FUSION has 48% equity vs. A5xx, 48% vs. 77xx and 45% against KQxx. The hand runs far too close to even the better starting hands in Villain's range for us to ever consider folding for this price in position. In fact, any two cards should be profitable to call in this spot.
The scope for new players going wrong pre-flop is enormous so go out and steal those blinds before they figure out what's going on!
Calling 3-BetsSimilarly if we open the pot and face a 3-bet we are almost always incentivized to continue as long as the price is within the realms of normality. In Holdem, this is not true due to the large differences between equities. In Omaha this is only partly true and even in this game we have to fold more to 3-bets than we do in PokerStars FUSION. The reason that we need less favourable pot odds in PokerStars FUSION than we do in Omaha is that in Omaha the four card hand is already formed and opponents can choose to 3-bet us with very strong four card combinations. In PokerStars FUSION this is impossible. Why? Because they do not yet know what their four cards are.
So let's get this straight, we can call 3-bets wider in PokerStars FUSION than we can in Omaha? Yes, because by the turn we shall have a an Omaha hand that is highly randomized, bringing our weaker opening range's equity up towards the stronger 3-betting range's equity.
Of course we will not always get to realise all of this equity due to unfavourable third hole cards and flops causing us to fold, but the ability to be selective based on how our hand runs out, is a luxury in and of itself. There is simply a lot of freedom in PokerStars FUSION as to when we can make profitable pre-flop investments, as we need is a little bit of dead money and something remotely playable. On this evidence, Folding 98o to a 3-bet Button vs Big Blind is a catastrophic blunder.
Limping?It may well be that since pre-flop raises are very easy to call in PokerStars FUSION, the age old frowned upon play of limping could come back into fashion. Imagine that in the Small Blind we are dealt 65o, or in PokerStars FUSION terms, 65xx (this is really how we should think of a PokerStars FUSION hand). We know that regardless of what Big Blind holds, we are unlikely to be a big underdog. Even QQxx is limited to 60% equity vs. our hand. Therefore, we are incentivized to play, but are we incentivized to raise? It would seem not as the only reason we are interested in playing this hand is the dead money in the middle – it's not that we think we're ahead, so why build the pot? Unless of course Villain will fold too often to a steal, but let us assume he is competent for now.
We can predict limping might well become the recognised correct play in this situation. Villain should then raise the pot when he has some equity advantage and we should call, but if he sizes too small he will achieve very little. This in turn indicates that pre-flop raise sizing might eventually become huge in PokerStars FUSION and this trend might work full circle and once again discourage limping. I suppose we shall just have to wait and see. For now one thing is clear, if people are going to neglect to use huge raise sizes, which is almost guaranteed during the initial phases of PokerStars FUSION, then we should experiment with limping.
ConclusionThis game has a fascinating and unpredictable future, but whatever happens, expect lessened pot odds requirements to be at the forefront of pre-flop PokerStars FUSION strategy.
Comment below with your experience of it!