A throng of new slot machines come along each and every month, but it’s not often we see a new video poker game on the casino market. International Game Technology (IGT) has delivered just that, launching Texas Holdem Fold Up, a variant of the popular multi-player poker game designed for solo play at land-based casinos; sure to hit online and mobile casino platforms soon enough.
According to IGT, Texas Holdem Fold Up is designed to suit both “novice and experienced” poker players seeking a more innovative way to play the game. What better way than creating the gambling world’s very first Texas Holdem video poker game?
Players are pitted against five computer bots, who are not strategic at all in their gameplay. They are very simple to beat, and anytime they fold, their hole cards are folded face up. All in all, this new Texas Holdem video poker game could be extremely lucrative for veteran poker players, except for one highly unattractive flaw. The casino collects a 25% rake, capped at 2.25 bets, from every pot. More on that in a moment…
How to Play Texas Holdem Fold Up
Players compete against 5 AI poker bots, resulting in a 6-max table. The rules are the same as standard Texas Holdem, where each player gets 2 hole cards, to be combined with the 5 community cards that play out in the center of the table. With automatic Small/Big Blinds and multiple betting rounds, players can fold, check, bet or raise (where appropriate), just like the traditional version of the game. The player with the highest ranking 5-card poker hand at the end wins the pot.
Benefits of the Fold Up Features
As I said, the bots are simple to beat, invoking novice strategy and chasing just about any hand with one-over or runner-runner. That means they don’t fold often, but when they do—as the name implies—the cards are folded up, meaning the player will get to see the folded cards. That is the greatest benefit of this game, giving more experienced players additional information each time a computer hand is folded.
For instance, if a bot with two Clubs folds, the player will know their chance of landing a flush in Clubs is reduced, or if a King is folded, it becomes impossible to hit quad Kings. Unlike traditional Texas Holdem, players can increase or decrease their bets based on this privileged information.
Note on Bluffing: Because bots are quick to chase any hand with menial value, players are strongly advised – Don’t Bluff! Chances are you will get called by at least one bot every time.
Betting Structure w/ 25% Rake
The Texas Holdem video poker game has a Fixed Limit betting structure, and can be played in three denominations, Quarter, Half Dollar or Dollar. A ‘Quarter’ game would be FL $0.50/$1, a ‘Half Dollar’ game would be FL $1/$2, and a Dollar game $2/$4.
The rake is based on the selected denomination, and capped at 9 units. So a Quarter game has a max $2.25 (9 x $0.25) rake, while a Half Dollar game has a max $4.50 (9 x $0.50) rake, and a Dollar game a max $9 (9 x $1) rake.
While the rake is beyond excessive, effectively countering the attractive nature of simplified bot play, it’s also worth noting that, because they don’t fold often, it’s not uncommon to see pots escalate to $12+ in a Quarter game, which reduces the rake at 20% or below.
Can Texas Holdem Fold Up be Beaten?
Because this game is so new, the verdict from professional analysts is not in yet on whether poker pros would be able to gain a static, long-term advantage over the house in Texas Holdem Fold Up. Because the bot play so erratically terrible, it’s easy to assume that a purely strategic player could beat it.
Then again, no poker game has ever carried such a hideous rake of 25%, so it’s also safe to assume its creators made sure to keep the edge on the casino’s side when developing the Texas Holdem video poker game.