Texas Holdem Heads Up Poker Machine

The game is a heads up limit holdem machine.  You can play $.50/$1, $1/$2 and $2/$4.  After any hand you can peek at the computer’s cards to see what he folded or what you folded to.  If there is a showdown his cards are automatically exposed win or lose.

There has been a lot of buzz about this new machine.  Currently it is being tested at Green Valley Ranch, Bellagio and Red Rock which is where I’ve been playing it.  There is a long thread at 2+2 and several other discussions about it on the internet.  Wednesday a survey taker gave me a Target gift card to answer questions about it.  There are certainly some annoying issues such as the bonus bet, which appears to have a terrible payback, seems to find a way to get players to bet it without knowing it.  It also has some other quirks such as poor button positioning.  The machines at Red Rock appear to be a converted 5 card draw video poker machine, not a box specifically designed to house this game.

At first the machine appeared unbeatable.  It was recklessly aggressive, hardly ever folded to a bluff and seemed to make some good reads.  As time goes on I’ve been able to figure out some of its tricks.  One example is that it falls for triple check raises.  Another example is that it will call down unimproved hands as bad as Q2 even if it was not chasing a draw.  After going down at first I have won the last two sessions and have clawed back to even.  The player’s club there awards points for your play which appear to be around $4/hr at $2/$4.

I have seen quite a few people get beat up bad by this machine.  My guess is that anyone who is not a solid player is going to get beat to death by this game.  I’m sure weaker players will yell “It is rigged!!!” but I can tell you from my hours playing that game it is legit.  The computer is just a very aggressive player, one that most players will have problems with.

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