Texas Cheat 'Em Hands-On

If you like poker and being a total jerk, here's your game.

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The phrase "don't mess with Texas" must not apply to the Texas Hold 'Em variant of poker, because developer Wideload has taken the popular card game and thrown it into a blender. The result is an upcoming game called Texas Cheat 'Em, an experience that maintains the same overall structure as Hold 'Em, but allows you to take hold of your own fortune with the ability to quite simply cheat at will. The problem is, everyone else can cheat too, so the game becomes a chaotic mix of rapidly changing fortunes and unpredictability. We recently spent a bit of hands-on time with Texas Cheat 'Em at a D3 Publisher press event to see just how this wild formula works.

This game is about to get messy.

Texas Cheat 'Em isn't aimed at poker experts or purists, and that's visible right from the get-go. The heads-up display features a prominent "hand strength" meter on the left side, which ranks every possible hand and gives you a thermometer-like visual of how good yours is. So if you're not a poker expert, have no fear: Texas Cheat 'Em would very much like to make sure you feel comfortable at this green felt table. But the hand strength meter is not just there in case you don't know which hands beat which; it's also an aid designed to keep you focused on the dizzying back-and-forth of backstabbing going down at any moment.

That's because the other feature on the screen is your collection of available cheats. Every round, you're given 15 cheat points to spend on messing with the game in some fashion. There are 15 cheats available, organized in three rows: offensive, defensive, and a third group that messes with the entire table equally. Here are a few examples: Mind Meld lets you change one of your opponent's hole cards, Chip Steal lets you pick your opponent's pocket, Free Fold lets you fold without losing any of the chips you bet during that round, Electromagnetic Pulse removes cheat points from an opponent, and Precognition lets you see the community cards before they're dealt.

While all of these cheats mean that matches can get a little hectic, there's still a layer of strategy to be considered: The rub is that each cheat requires you to pass a quick, gambling-themed minigame such as blackjack or slots, and the more a cheat impacts the game, the more cheat points it'll cost you to use. But that being said, it's still relatively hectic if you're a real poker player. You'll see fortunes changing fast and often over the course of each game--it's just a matter of being able to predict those randomly changing fortunes a few hands in advance.

You'll find Texas Cheat 'Em available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC. The game will support online matches of up to eight players, and if you decide to go with the XBLA version of the game, you'll find support for your avatar in there as well. No release date has yet been given, but we'll keep you updated.

Discussion

13 comments
eyet00th
eyet00th

Sounds kind of fun to me. I look forward to trying the demo. It sounds like a fun Live game to play

urnotmega
urnotmega

Sounds interesting. I'm surprised at all the negative comments so far. It might turn out to be terrible, but the idea itself is unique and has potential.

RA2Freak2TheMax
RA2Freak2TheMax

well it does look retarded but then again sometimes games like this are great for parties and besides who hasnt wanted to cheat in poker at som epoint well heres your chance

GHOLY
GHOLY

i dont like poker

GHOLY
GHOLY

i dont like poker

JpSega1
JpSega1

can't believe tiome is being spent on this awfully terrible idea

casket56
casket56

why not just release a better version of texas hold em because the one on xbla isn't that awesome yet, why screw around with classic poker rules with a twist

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

I've never played poker, but this looks appalling just from the first few papragraphs.

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

This game makes the poker player in me cry, but the gamer in me is totally intrigued. Go figure.

d3athcr4ft
d3athcr4ft

I just can't see this game maintaining anyone's interest for more than a few minutes. Certainly not long enough to justify buying the game. I say that as a poker player, but I still do not think any non-poker players would enjoy the game either, if it is as hectic as it seems.