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Texas Block 'Em to Launch in 2014

A California software designer has invented a new online poker game known as “Texas Block ‘Em” that removes luck from the game by requiring players to choose their own hole cards instead of playing the cards dealt to them.

Just as in Texas Hold’em, the community cards are dealt on the board in random fashion in Texas Block ‘Em. But players select their desired hole cards in accordance with the community cards. When two players choose the same hole card, that card becomes “blocked.”

Sound silly? I think so, but perhaps judgment should be reserved until after actually playing. The new game is the brainchild of Arthur M. Pfeiffer, who will roll out Texas Block ‘Em in 2014 through his software company, Thwart Poker Inc., according to the San Francisco Examiner.

“In regular poker, each player relies heavily on the fixed laws of mathematics to calculate the probability that the cards dealt will give him a winning hand,” Pfeiffer said. “In Texas Block ’Em, each player relies heavily on his sense of human psychology in reading opponents to determine the probability that he can pick the right cards for a winning hand.”

Texas Block ‘Em for real-money will be made available to players in the U.S. The fact that randomness of dealt hole cards is removed from the equation has legal experts convinced that the new game will not be in violation of current online gambling statutes.

“Texas Block ’Em is a contest and not gambling because it doesn’t have the element of chance,” said I. Nelson Rose, a law school professor and recognized expert on gaming law.

The new poker game draws similarities to Duplicate Poker in attempting to remove the element of chance. But Duplicate Poker deals identical cards to players at different tables from pre-set decks, with winners emerging based on the success achieved in comparison to those holding the same cards and competing at other tables.

Duplicate Poker never gained a tremendous amount of popularity and there is a very real possibility that the same fate awaits Texas Block ‘Em. However, that is not dissuading Pfeiffer from launching his new game next year.

The 79-year-old is no stranger to creating variations of poker. He holds patents on Hold ’Em Battle and Hold ’Em Blitz, two games that are available on iPod Touch and iPhone.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.