888’s Flopomania a Roaring Success

Last month 888 officially launched their new poker variant Flopomania, and the reaction has been hugely positive. Out of all the new formats we have seen across the online platforms, this game looks as if it may be the most copied since Full Tilt Poker launched Rush Poker.

 

False Start

On 2nd August players who were browsing the 888 lobby were surprised to see what appeared to be a brand new game they’d never even heard of. Not only that, but there was no sign of any announcement that a launch was due.

Any you know by now, this was either a great piece of marketing genius, or just an honest mistake. The fun lasted for a few hours before the game disappeared from the lobby, and then we all sat and waited until the official launch date of August 20th.

For those of you unfamiliar with what the differences are from NL Hold’em, the idea is to remove the option of folding pre-flop in order to create more action. Players no longer post blinds, but ante up instead, and then everybody sees a flop together.

Two different formats have been wheeled out; one a copy of NL Hold’em post-flop, and the other a short-stacked push/fold variant for those who like the more degen style.

 

Impure

As you might expect, when news spread around the online forums, there was a slight backlash from the purists who say this is little more than dumbing down a perfectly good game. They’re missing the point, though. Nothing new has hit our screens for a while, and ideas like this can be great for bringing back old players who lost interest after Black Friday changed the landscape.

Another interesting point is whether or not taking the recreational players straight to the flop will be an advantage to the pros. A lot of the ranting over new formats, such as Spin & Go is connected to how little of an edge a skilled player can push over the long run. The idea behind this, according to what is common believed, is that the lower the edge the longer recreational players will keep hold of their deposits before losing it all. Losing too fast just puts people off from coming back, or so says Lee Jones, anyway.

So, if all players see a flop then it’s straight down to business where the weakest players are now going to be in the age-old spot of always trying to find a reason to never fold. This, of course, should be music to the ears of those who can play well. The days of fish in every game playing 80% of hands, and more, are long gone. Anyone these days can find a hand chart online, and indeed most players have learned how to use one. The point is that even fish these days have learned that playing less than 40% of hands is usually correct.

 

The Pros Have their Say

888poker Ambassador Dominik Nitsche spoke to 888poker eMagazine after the launch and said

“The first day of Flopomania was a blast, no pun intended. The timing was perfect as players logged on to play online tournaments like the Mega Deep and Whale had the opportunity to check out a new game - one with a unique twist. I know I had a lot of fun going straight to the flop and putting my skills to the test.”

In the same article, it was also stated that there was more than a 50% increase in traffic for those trying Flopomania compared to when BLAST tournaments were launch in July. Even the total traffic for the whole day was up more than 11%.

Other interesting points noted after the launch was that the record for flops seen in cash games over 24 hours was broken, and average hands per hours looks to be around 15% more for Flopomania.

Popular poker commentator David Tuchman shared his thoughts while at the 888Live festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“I think it’s fun. I think it was actually fun. I didn’t really know anything about it before today and then I found out about it. And I was a little skeptical, because I was like, ‘Huh? We all see a flop?’ But it’s kind of fun because I think it, the camaraderie of poker, and you’re all having a good time and you’re all laughing and it kind of takes the serious nature out of it.”

“Because a lot of the preflop play is really serious. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think as a nice contrast it’s kind of fun because you kind of forget that you’re playing poker for real. It’s almost like a home game again. You’re like ‘Oh yeah! We all see a flop! Let’s go! Let’s do it!’”

 

But Why?

In May 2017 888poker decided they had had enough and were declaring their mission would be to “Take back the game.” The press release stated

“888poker was the first to recognise a desire for change and a growing sense of frustration from players due to the direction in which the industry is developing; uneven matches, slow games and disproportionate VIP bonuses.”

They began to talk about “Buzzkill” and how certain bad things had remained in the game since the online scene began.

An 888 rep spoke to Lee Davy writing at CalvinArye.com and said

“Some players spend 20-30 seconds making trivial decisions; the winnings often go to the same players – this is what we think is unbalanced in our game, and why a lot of people abandoned it. We want to bring them back to play on 888. Not just by showing them a commercial of a star footballer but by giving them classic poker to play.”

Experienced players who have had it good for a long time are finally going to have to accept some changes in order to bring players back to the game as well as attract new ones in an age where esports is all the rage. At least with fresh ideas such as Flopomania there’s going to be plenty of fast-paced fun to be had while the scene fights its way back to where it belongs. And of course, the usual big bet games won’t be going anywhere, so what is there to complain about?