Palo Alto Man Invents “100% Skill-Based” Poker Variant, Will Debut Legal Online Poker Room In California

December 23, 2013

The reason that online gambling has been legalized in some form in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey is thanks to a reversal opinion issued by the US Justice Department. In 2011 they declared poker a skill-based game rather than a game of chance, and immediately Nevada legalized online poker in that state. Delaware and New Jersey now each offer real money legal online casino gambling as well as legal Internet poker, and a California entrepreneur wants to test how far the “skill and not luck” decision by US Feds can be pushed.

Arthur M. Pfeiffer is the president of Palo Alto-based Thwart Poker Inc., and he claims to have created a new form of poker he calls Texas Block ‘Em that totally removes the element of luck from the game. He says that “since my version of poker is 100 percent skill and involves no luck, it’s not gambling and therefore is legal.” He has previously successfully developed poker applications for the iPod Touch and iPhone, and is working on a poker app for the iPad. But those are all fun money applications, and nothing as serious or possibly ground breaking as this new poker variant he has developed.

As you can imagine, Mister Pfeiffer is a mathematician as well as a software designer, and he plans to open an Internet poker room offering his Texas Block ‘Em skill-based poker game soon. According to the innovative and captivating, balding and mustachioed Pfeiffer, Texas Block ‘Em removes any possibility of luck contributing to a win by eliminating the general randomness which comes when players are dealt their cards. Have you ever wished you could choose which hole cards you received in a poker game? That is exactly how Texas Block ‘Em works, allowing players to choose the cards they wish to play during the game.

Pfeiffer says that since each player has the ability to play the same cards during any hand, there is no luck or chance involved. And believe it or not, there is another local online poker room in California which insists they operate a legal Internet poker operation as well. The San Francisco-based Pure Play has actually been running since 2005 and is considered legal under US law since no entry fee is charged to play in the online tournaments the site offers. Pure Play owner and founder Jason B. Kellerman simply charges a monthly fee to join the site, which awards cash prizes to tournament winners.

But as inventors and entrepreneurs are often known to do, Pfeiffer insists that his Texas Block ‘Em Internet poker game offering is more enjoyable and challenging than the Pure Play experience. He pointed out that his “game-play dynamics and player strategy are very different than that of Pure Play’s poker games,” and pointed out that his Texas Hold ‘Em variant gives you total control over the game. In Block ‘Em, random community cards are dealt, just like in Hold ‘Em, but then you are able to choose any two hole cards you would like to play with those community cards. However, if any two players try to choose the exact same card, both are blocked from getting it, substantially lowering their chances of winning the hand. Pfeiffer says he is ready to launch the website soon, and until it is blocked legally in the courts, Texas Block ‘Em is set to become the next California legal online poker site offering real money play.