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Texas Hold'em Champion's Edition

Although Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular Poker game, casino games developer IGT has managed to add a new twist with their Champions Edition, which rewards players when they have their hands combined with Community cards and manage to beat a Champion’s hand. It sounds simple, and once you are playing, it’s fairly straightforward, but certainly worth a review of how it all works. If you’ve never played the classic Texas Hold’em game, don’t worry, as this game plays out almost automatically, so there’s no worrying about big blinds, small blinds, ante bets, flops, turns or rivers.

IGT is one of the longest-established and most prolific online casino games developer, so they know what they are doing and have delivered a fair, fun and engaging version of Poker that’s going to attract complete newcomers to the game as well as gamblers who have been playing for years and fancy a bit of a change. Texas Hold’em Champions Edition plays out on a traditional green table, although this one is surrounded by a blue background filled with silhouettes of the hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds of the playing cards. It looks pleasing enough, although the graphics are on the plain side and hardly state of the art.

But what it may lack in flashy visuals, it makes up for in entertainment and the potential for big wins, with a maximum reward equal to 10,000x the bet amount. So, let’s gather around the table, put on our best Poker faces and see how to claim some of these big payouts.

Lots of Winning Hands

Laid out across the table you will see multiple 2-card hands, each with different values attached to them and all surrounding a set of 5 Community Cards. To the left of the Community Cards is the hand held by the Champion, and the aim is to best this hand using a combination of any 2-card hand and the Community ones.

Bets are placed and the face down cards are then seen, with a couple of options then open to players. Either each individual hand can be clicked to have the cards turned over, or the much easier option is to just click the Reveal All button, which turns over the Community Cards first, then starting from the top left, turns over the 7 sets of 2-card hands before finally revealing the Champion hand.

The software automatically matches the 2-card hands with the Community Cards, then compares them with the Champion hand to determine if there’s a winner among them, or potentially several winning hands which are then added together to give a prize total. The amount won depends on the value connected to each hand and in practice the ones with lower values are going to create the majority of hands that beat the Champion.

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Texas Hold'em Champion's Edition

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Hand Rankings

Standard Poker hand rankings are used, and win or lose, there’s a Rankings button that shows exactly how everything stacked up. It lists each hand from the highest to the lowest, so players will be hoping that the Champion hand isn’t at the top and they have claimed a prize. The following rules apply, although you will often find that more than one hand has the same ranking.

  • High Card - The single card of highest rank
  • One Pair - Any two cards of the same rank
  • Two Pair - Any two pairs
  • Three of a Kind - Any three cards of the same rank
  • Straight - Any five successive cards
  • Flush - Any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit
  • Full House - Any Three of a Kind, plus One Pair
  • Four of a Kind - Any four cards of the same rank
  • Straight Flush - Any five successive cards of the same suit
  • Royal Flush - 10, J, Q, K and A of the same suit

Betting Options

Simple Plus and Minus buttons are used to adjust the bet size and although free Texas Hold’em Champions Edition Poker games can be found, the low limit bet is only 0.50, for which you get not 1 but 7 hands to give you the best chance of collecting a prize.

The stakes can be adjusted through 1.00, 2.00, 3.00, 5.00 and 10.00 per round, so it’s perhaps not a game for high rollers, although with the potential to claim a 100,000.00 top prize, even casual players at the top stakes can land a massive reward. A jingly soundtrack can be played in the background, and while there’s no autoplay option, but it’s just a double click to get a new round started at the same stakes, so it’s no real loss.

Gamblers also have the choice of playing on desktop computers, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets and a host of other compatible mobile devices. All that’s missing from the mobile optimised version of this game is a little of the background image, which few people are going to miss.

Similar Games

Perhaps it’s appropriate to give a mention to the hugely popular Jacks or Better Video Poker game, which was developed by none other than the founder of IGT, Si Redd. Like all Video Poker games, Jacks or Better is easy to learn and play, with punters just drawing 5 cards, deciding which to hold and which to discard. Once the discarded ones are replaced, their final hand is evaluated, and they get paid according to the paytable, which is generally displayed next to the cards.

If you want top-notch graphics, then how about taking a look at the Texas Hold’em Poker game from Net Entertainment? Pin sharp 3D effect animations make this as realistic as possible, although the same company also offers live dealer tables for the ultimate in realism. It’s a good introduction to the many varieties of Poker available online and comes with a useful tutorial that eases new players into the intricacies of playing this classic game.

Is this Worthy of Being Called ‘Champion?’

Texas Hold’em Champions Edition is a little different from any other Poker game that we’ve seen and is something of a blend between Video Poker and the traditional game. It plays out quite quickly and has a good return to player percentage which ensures that on average most wagers are returned as winnings.

It’s perhaps a shame the graphics are so basic, although they are clear enough and perhaps having smoother animations would have slowed the game down. Anyone looking for a unique way to play Texas Hold’em should definitely take a look at this game, which is available at the many online and mobile casinos that carry the IGT range.

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