HoldemX – XCards
New Poker Gaming – Coming Soon
First off the block with the new poker variants using power up features was the Mediarex Sports & Entertainment owned HoldemX.
As with Pokerstars Power Up, Holdemx is in alpha trial and not a great deal is known about the intricacies of the gameplay.
There is some info to be gleaned from the HoldemX website though, so here we’ll take a look at what’s known and ow it all might work.
What Is HoldemX?
HoldemX is designed to take poker gaming to a new level by introducing power up cards into standard gameplay. Effectively this means you’ll be playing ‘normal’ poker games, but using power cards to influence the outcomes of hands played.
How To Play
You’ll be playing the poker element of HoldemX in exactly the same way you play any standard Texas Holdem poker game. What’s different is you’ll be able to influence the way hands are played out by using cards from a separate deck known as the Xdeck.
There are some basic writeups on gameplay here.
The Xdeck – containing various Xcards – is your main weapon in HoldemX games. You’ll be playing Xcards cleverly and with the appropriate strategy in mind at points in the games to gain the best chances of winning hands.
Some cards are more common than others, some can change games instantly, some can change games subtlely. Lets take a alook at a few that can be expected to be included in the finished game.
Heart To Diamond – Can be used to change the suit of the board cards from one suit to the other or vice versa.
Club To Spade – as above but with clubs and spades being interchangeable.
Board +1 – increases value of 1 board card by 1
Board -1 – decreases as above
6th Street – Play this card on the river and gain a 6th card turnover
Holecard +1 – add 1 to the value of any holecard
Holecard -1 – decrease value of any hole card by 1
Pair Top Card – Make a pocket pair from your two cards equal in value to the highest one
Pair Bottom Card – Make your two cards into a pair equal in value to the lowest one
3rd Hole Card – Get an extra hole card!
There are a handful more and all can be seen on the HoldemX page dedicated to the Xcard values.
Where To Play
Right now you can go straight to HoldemX and register, even though it states ‘still in alpha trial’ on the home page.
I say you can register, and you can. You’re able to set a user name and password and click through to a few areas. But try and select a game to play and it does nothing except tell you it’s loading’.
Clearly this looks to be all you can do if you’re not in the trial. I guess trial users have some sort of setting that allows them in.
Even so, registering at least looks to be straightforward and obviously when the game is fully released it’s the HoldemX home page which you’ll be navigating to in order to set up an account.
There are a couple of icons which seem to indicate you’ll be able to play on mobile through either Google Play or the Apple App store, but clicking at this stage doesn’t elicit any response.
Clearly it’s very early to be talking about successful playing strategies. Those are going to develop over time.
What is obvious though is that to be successful at HoldemX is going to need a mix of skills. Definitely a firm grasp of standard Texas Holdem poker strategies, but bundled up with some experience of playing power up type games like Hearthstone or Magic The Gathering and a good handle on what the power up cards will do and in which circumstances to play them.
Right now the game is in alpha trial. Clearly this is designed to soak test the gameplay, weed out what doesn’t work, and highlight any enhancements that need to be made.
If all goes as planned, the future will see a beta trial followed by full release. That’s pretty much all we know, and what the finished article will look like can only be imagined from the info we already know. Early indications are that HoldemX will be played first release but almost certainly followed by real money versions.
If the game does capture the attention of a wide video gamer/poker player player base, there has to be a big possibility that other operators will want their own piece of the power up poker pie. With the potential for Pokerstars Power Up and HoldemX to capture a sizeable percentage of the early player volumes, they could be in for a hard battle.
Surely a bundle of schools, instruction videos, books, podcasts, and of course a wide variation of different websites will follow.
At a time when interest in poker appears to be on the wane, something new is definitely needed if the game is to continue to attract new fans. Arguably the bundle of new poker varieties we’ve seen in recent years have gone some way to maintaining the game’s popularity, although there’s some debate on whether those have been designed really just to attract new recreational players perhaps at the expense of keeping seasoned players engaged.
There’s an argument too that it’s precisely for that reason – that the experienced players have too much in hand over less experienced opponents – that poker is suffering.
From early reports and based on the little we know, there does seem a strong chance that HoldemX could have a hit on its hands if the release version of the game meets its full promise. The next few months should see more information come to light that will hopefully confirm this potential.