By Brad Cook
Down to your last $200, you receive your next hand: six of clubs and four of diamonds. You wince but stay in anyway. As the betting continues around the table, two of your five opponents fold. One of the players who stayed in gives a slight smile as she raises her bet by $50. Confidence or a bluff? You decide the latter and meet that amount.
Three cards, known as the flop, hit the table: six of hearts, king of clubs, and ace of spades. Not a strong hand, to be sure, but you figure you might bluff your way through this round. You raise the bet by another $20, trying to remain conservative while giving an air of confidence. Another player folds, but it wasnt the bluffer.
The turn card appears: six of diamonds. Three-of-a-kind isnt a bad hand, especially if youre bluffing. You stay in, but the bluffer tacks on another $50, again flashing those pearly whites as she does so. The other player still hanging in folds, leaving just two of you. You meet the bluffers bet, thankful her computer-generated visage cant detect the sweat dripping down your forehead.
The dealer reveals the final card, known as the river: seven of hearts. The bluffer stays in. Do you try to beat her at her own game and raise the stakes, or do you play it cool and hope you dont lose your shirt? You opt for the latter. Now its time for the showdown: The bluffer reveals the king of hearts and the ace of diamonds. Three-of-a-kind beats two-pair, and the pot is yours.
Whew. Of course, the bluffer is holding $1,635, so she could afford to be aggressive, while you have a long way to go before you can hope to meet her total. The players in this tournament have proven to be much tougher than those you met during the last one. Already youve seen two players empty their coffers and drop out, and you would have been next in line if you hadnt won that last hand.
Seven Tournaments in Your Pocket
Texas Hold em features seven such tournaments, starting with a modest one where first prize is $1,000 and culminating in a grand finale where the winner takes home a cool $2 million. You need to unlock the next tournament by winning the previous one, however, so well save the exotic locales for you to discover as you work your way through the game.
Each tournament features progressively-difficult computer-controlled opponents who may or may not telegraph information about their hands through tells, which in poker-speak mean that they could smile when they have a strong hand, or shake their heads in disgust when dealt a weak one, for example. Of course, they could also try to bluff by smiling even when their position isnt very good; part of your job is to figure out your opponents body language.
Texas Hold em features four gameplay speeds slow, normal, fast, and fastest that can quicken the pace of the action but also reduce the time spent viewing your opponents tells. You can also play the game through a first-person or top-down view, although the latter doesnt display your opponents, focusing only on the table and the cards sitting on it. Top-down view means you wont be able to consider other players facial expressions.
Finally, the game keeps track of a variety of statistics, including your largest pots won and lost, your longest winning and losing streaks, and your best hand. You can view each statistic for the last tournament as well as for your all-time play. See if you can match the success enjoyed by some of the most successful poker players in the world.
Tips and Tricks
- Texas Hold em features an in-depth tutorial that explains this poker variant for the uninitiated. At any time during a hand, you can press Menu to enter the pause screen and then select Game Info, where youll find Hand Order, which runs down all of the possible hands in poker, in descending order.
- Poker involves a lot of strategy, both mathematical and analytical, thats too complex to cover here. We encourage those who are new to poker to read up on general strategy as well as Texas Hold em strategy.
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