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Texas Cheat 'Em

What’s one thing all good poker players have in common? They don’t play a lot of hands. If you wanna win the big bucks, you’ve got to minimize risks and play only with the odds in your favor. Okay… now forget about that entirely. Texas Cheat ‘Em laughs at your “odds” and is going above and beyond to make sure even the tightest player holds on to that 7-2 offsuit.

Above: This is severely understating it

It’s immediately apparent where the idea behind Cheat ‘Em stems from. Nothing sucks more than folding a hand you would’ve won. So, instead of mulling over the coulda-woulda-shouldas, get back in there and cheat, dammit! Texas Cheat ‘Em provides you with so many game altering options in between bets, folding your cards should be the very last option you consider. (Actually, thanks to the exclusive “Unfold” option, make that the second to last.)

In addition to a chip count, each player is allotted cheat points good for over 15 unsavory acts. Don’t like your cards? Swap ‘em for another in the deck. Or better yet, why not look at peek at a high roller’s cards then switch his aces for your crap hand. We liked the Precog cheat that lets you to see all the cards on the board, pre-flop. But it’s hardly a game clincher, since those community cards can and will be altered by the time the river comes around.

Enacting a cheat will result in a guaranteed win. (Although, there is a rather expensive cheat entitled “Guaranteed Win.”) Most cheats that directly affect other players do make you work for it with head to head casino-based microgames such as blackjack, high-low and horse racing.

Now if this all sounds a little hectic, you must realize that not all cheats are created equal. Each cheat has a point value, so it’s not like a single player can pull all of the above shenanigans in a single turn.

Above: Win a quick game of Blackjack for immediate sabotage

For instance, you’ve also got defensive maneuvers that allow you to take protect your cards from would be thieves, and the Community Snapshot cheat takes a picture of the board so your winning hand is retained regardless of how cruelly the other players end up manipulating the final result. Of course, doing so diminishes the amount of aggressive behavior you can pull on other people in a given turn, but hey, there’s also a cheat to steal other player’s cheat points. Oh, the chicanery!

Forget what you know about playing from positions and calculating odds. Betting out of turn allows ample time for cheats, and players may even manufacture a deceptive “tells” to throw the table off completely. Texas Cheat ‘Em’s primary goal is to eliminate all the downtime in traditional Hold ‘Em by never, ever, allowing you to walk away from a hand. Pots are even split three ways to insure that the underhanded never go unrewarded. Mind you, this isn’t only to stay in the game… watching your Full House lose to multiple 4-of-a-kind hands is a sight you’ll get used to.

Unorthodox and wildly absurd, for sure, but this is hardly the Calvinball of card games. By subverting the rules and regs of traditionally played poker, Texas Cheat ‘Em actually presents an entirely new depth of play. And since the strategy is unique unto itself, poker n00bs start out on equal footing with the pros.

Texas Cheat ‘Em hits XBLA and PSN in mid May with enough Achievements, Trophies, and online leaderboards to delight any scoundrel. And if there are any purists still on the fence, allow us to paraphrase the argument over steroids in professional sports: Is it really cheating if everyone’s doing it?

May 1, 2009