Duel by PokerStars, an all-new format of online poker exclusively available on smartphones, is now available in Norway as part of a limited beta test.
The app, which facilitates both real money and play chips games, is expected to be rolled out to additional countries in the coming months.
The game is based on Heads Up No Limit Texas Hold’em, but players have a time bank that is measured in hours and days rather than seconds, allowing players to fit the game into real life where their attention may be diverted at a moment’s notice.
Along with its turn-based structure, the increased time bank allows players to compete in multiple Duel games at the same time.
Games run like heads up tournaments, but play takes place over a fixed number of hands per match and a set number of big blinds per hand. All hands are dealt out at once and players can make decisions for each hand all in one go, with hands playing out simultaneously.
Once all the hands have been completed, the player with the most total chips wins. If a player’s time bank expires, the remaining hands are either checked down or folded.
Social is a key focus of the game. Players can challenge their friends via text message, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms by simply sharing a link. Win/loss performance stats can also be shared and players can see the “friends” count of other players and the number of stars they have earned.
The game promises to be “full of drama, tension, excitement and fun,” reads a media preview.
PokerStars’ big slate of poker pros on the roster will also be prominent in the client. Players will be able to challenge the likes of Daniel Negreanu and Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier as well as their roster of sports stars.
Allowing players to engage more with their pros was one of the design goals of Duel, PokerStars revealed in a secret preview of the product to PRO and other members of the media during the PCA in January.
Before, players would have virtually no shot at sitting down with a member of Team Online; with Duel, players can challenge whoever they want. Cristiano Ronaldo features heavily in promotional material released today.
Duel by PokerStars marks the company’s most decisive move yet to introduce online poker to a new generation of players.
The time to complete a match aims to appeal to people who wish to engage with the product on their own time. The hope will be Duel by PokerStars will become part of a daily habit, alongside checking news, social media, and playing other classic social games like Zynga’s Words With Friends.
PokerStars has rethought how to interact with poker—swipe gestures to set raise amounts and move between hands keeps the action fluid and engaging. Plus, the game was designed to allow players to play with one hand.
Whether a coincidence or not, the launch of Duel coincides precisely with the removal of real money heads up cash games in the lobby, announced earlier this week and set to come into effect tomorrow.
This article is syndicated by the leading poker industry news authority, Poker Industry PRO.