The Stars Group's PokerStars has launched its latest online poker variant, developed in-house in collaboration with skilled poker players and eSports professionals.

PokerStars Power Up aims to combine the competitive and strategic elements of poker with elements usually found in console games, featuring specially-designed graphics, immersive video and audio effects and avatars.

"Poker has maintained its popularity for nearly two centuries because it has evolved with the times," The Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi said. "PokerStars Power Up continues this evolution by providing a modern twist on traditional poker that we believe will be exciting to not only poker players, but to a broad spectrum of gamers as well."

It is based on a No Limit Hold'Em Poker Sit & Go format, with three players competing for stakes ranging from $1 to $15. As in a normal poker game, each player has the same amount of chips and are dealt two cards in each hand, but are also given two randomly selected 'powers'.

These powers can boost a player's chance of winning by allowing them to receive a copy of the last power played, peek at the deck, eliminate a card, or force an opponent to reveal a card.

An extra level of strategy comes through energy levels, which are used up when a player uses one of their powers. This means they have to manage their energy levels to ensure they can employ their powers at critical moments.

PokerStars Power Up is being rolled out across PokerStars' .NET, .EU, .COM and .UK sites throughout this week, with Ashkenazi noting that the reaction during early testing had been particularly positive.

"We've been encouraged by the reaction during alpha testing in July and August and are optimistic that PokerStars Power Up will introduce poker to a new generation of mobile gamers, excite current players and help reconnect with less active or former players," he said.

Shares in The Stars Group plc (Co.Data) (TOR:TSGI) closed down 0.31 per cent at CAD$25.43 per share in Toronto yesterday.

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