NEW U.S. POKER PRODUCT IS LEGALLY FIREPROOF, CLAIMS OWNER
Thwart Poker plans to launch Texas Block Em next year.
79-year-old Palo Alto math expert and software designer, Arthur Pfeiffer is about to launch a new brand of real money online poker that he claims is legally fireproof and has the potential see off established subscription business model internet poker operations like PurePlay, which has been active since 2005.
Pfeiffer's Thwart Poker company is currently planning the launch next year of its new Texas Block'Em poker product, which Pfeiffer has invented with American legal restrictions front-of-mind.
“I have invented a new form of poker called Texas Block ’Em that removes the element of luck from the game,” Pfeiffer claims. “Since my version of poker is 100 percent skill and involves no luck, it’s not gambling and therefore is legal.”
Pfeiffer says he achieves this by eliminating the randomness that comes from dealing players their cards. Instead of randomly being dealt cards to play, players are allowed to choose the cards they want to play, making Texas Block ’Em, according to Pfeiffer, a game of skill and not luck or chance because every player has the same opportunity to play the same cards.
Texas Block'Em has substantially different game-play dynamics and player strategy elements, Pfeiffer says,
“Our players actively participate in the process, as it is their card-selection decisions that determine what cards are dealt,” Pfeiffer says.
In the traditional poker game of Texas Hold ’Em, five face-up community cards are dealt randomly to each player, as are each player’s hole cards, which are dealt face-down.
"In Texas Block ’Em, community cards are dealt randomly, but then players select any hole cards they want to play with those community cards. If two players pick the same hole card, both are blocked from getting it, which is the essence of Texas Block ’Em," Pfeiffer explains.
“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 he says.
“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.”
Because the game dynamics emphasise skill over luck, Pfeiffer does not have to rely on the "monthly subscription" subterfuge to ensure legality, and Texas Block ’Em can charge players a fee for every tournament they participate in.
Pfeiffer and Thwart are no strangers to online poker; the one man company has a solid track record of developing apps centred on mobile poker action, albeit without the real-money element to date.
The company has also patented and launched two other poker variations – Hold ’Em Blitz and Hold ’Em Battle – which are currently available on the iOS platform. Now he wants to move from the mobile environment to the online market with Texas Block'Em.
“It’s just a matter of moving poker from the cellphone to the Internet,” Pfeiffer says. “I estimate needing between three-quarters of a million to a million dollars to go online. The company has already raised half a million dollars from investors, plus there’s the profits from the phone apps. But we’re always looking for more investors.”
Potential rival Jason Kellerman, CEO of Pureplay, doesn't seem too concerned about the Texas Block"em threat; he told the San Francisco Examiner over the weekend:
“Texas Block ’Em is very different than typical poker and plays in a smaller niche category of skill-based games where users are required to learn a new game. By contrast, Pure Play appeals to an established mass audience by offering well-known poker games.
“I think it’s going to be tough for anyone to invent one new game and have it become big in its own right.”
Kellerman recalled the Duplicate Poker project, in which the operator mimicked duplicate bridge by dealing identical cards to players.
“Duplicate Poker tried something similar several years ago by removing chance from the game,” he said. “They invested over $10 million and got 250,000 users to try their product, but had a tough time getting players to stick and eventually went out of business.”