California Based Entrepreneur/Mathematician Invents a New Variation of Poker Called Texas Block ‘Em

December 28, 2013

A mathematician based out of California has claimed to create a new game called ‘Texas Block’em’. Arthur Pfeiffer who is also a software engineer has developed a new form of poker that significantly removes the element of luck from the game. A person has to use his skills to win the game and so it cannot be brought under the category of gambling, which would make it legal. There is a slight alteration to this game from the Texas Hold’em version, which has made it a game of skill rather than a game of chance. Arthur wants to compete against all the other form of poker, which claim to be skill-based rather than chance-based. The only factor which may not make it very popular is the fact that it requires a lot of thinking and it takes a lot of time to learn the game, in contrast, Pure Play is very easy to learn.

Texas Block ‘Em

The essence of the game lies in the fact that only the community cards are random. From the rest of the deck, the players can choose their hole cards during the betting rounds. However, if any of the two players happen to pick the same card, neither of them gets it . However, there is still a lot of confusion in the poker community as to how exactly the game would be played as Pfeiffer has formulated multiple variations of the game, including Hold’em Blitz and Hold’em Battle, all dumped into the same category of Thwart Poker. Although each game works somewhat differently, according to Pfeiffer, all these games share the same basic makeup. In every round, each player privately takes a card out from the deck. Once all the players have made their choice, a player whose choice is in conflict with that of another player, it is dealt a no-value Thwart card. Otherwise, the player is dealt the card he/she selected.

No luck only skill

Although Pfeiffer claims this new variation of poker to be purely based on the skill of the player, it will take some time to prove the basis of this claim. It is quite possible that his claims are true and it might even be launched soon on a large scale in some tournaments. However, it will come under the category of gambling if the three basic elements are brought in:

  • Money that is needed to be put in to play
  • Even a slight chance of luck or fortune
  • Prize given away to the winner in cash

According to Pfeiffer, in regular poker, each player banks to a great extent on the set laws of maths to compute the chance that the cards traded will give him a successful hand. On the other hand, in Texas Block ’Em, each player relies heavily on his/her mental ability to read the minds of the opposing players to ascertain the chance that he can pick out the right cards for a successful hand.

What to expect for the future?

It can not be said with certainty that the element of luck is totally wiped out in Texas Block’em. However, if all other factors are taken into consideration, it has the potential to revolutionize the way poker is played. As of now, it is going to be launched sometime next year and its future can be judged only by analyzing the way it is received by the players. All the other variations of the game will have to be tried and the one that gets the most appreciation might be adopted. However it is not going to change the fortunes of the old variations of poker, as all those variations have a loyal set of followers who may not be willing to shift to the new variations. In terms of the game getting the green signal from the lawmakers, you have to wait and watch. If the money involved is huge it might as well have to come under the purview of the law and will have to be dealt with properly in various courts. With the US justice department acting very swiftly in matters involving gambling, how the future of this game is going to pan out, only time will tell.

The other variations of the game are available on mobile phones where people play by betting on fake money and judging by its popularity, it is only a matter of time before it comes to the computer as well. The game’s competitors, like Pure Play, are not worried, as they feel that it is a passing phenomenon. According to Jason Kellerman, the founder of Pure Play, their game is legal as they don’t charge an entry fee and the members just have to pay the monthly subscription fee. He also feels that Pure Play appeals to people who are dedicated to it as they offer all the well-known poker games. Pfeiffer however has targeted Pure Play and has challenged its claim to be legal. In what might turn out to be good news for Pfeiffer, Nelson Rose who is a gambling law expert has stated that Texas Block’em can only be classified as a game and not gambling.