Multi-touch Texas Hold'em
As described in class last week, my current plan for my final project is to create a multi-touch version of the popular poker derivative “Texas Hold'em.” Within the Texas Hold'em game there are several different versions of games. The one I intend to focus on is the one that my friends and I play the most often. In this version of the game, known as a “cash game”, all the players play until their initial buy-in is gone. In other variations players can leave the table whenever they want (a sit-n-go) or play for rank in a multi-table game(a tournament).
Texas Hold'em has several defined states of play each of which lend themselves to a certain gesture. There are several things that a player can do at any time which can also be related to a gesture on a surface. Betting can be highly psychological in this variation of poker. The way in which players interact with their chips, how they bet, and how the fold can be a strong indication of what type of player the person is.
There are several parts of the game which could be improved through the use of computer. Improvements include shuffling, dealing, hand comparisons, and pot divisions. Shuffling and dealing is an issue at a traditional table because the time it takes and the human error involved. A dealer could not shuffle the deck well enough or accidentally misdeal. Improvements in shuffling and dealing are what bring a lot of players to compete in online poker games. When playing games online a player will see many more hands than if they played at a traditional table due to instantaneous dealing and shuffling. This allows the player evolve and play hands differently because they are getting more experience.
When playing online, players may see more hands and know how to play better, but they are still not receiving the full experience. When playing online there are no “tells” that allow you to guess if a player is lying about their hand. Players also do not get the social aspects of playing. Sitting around a table playing cards with friends is a fun experience that you do not get with playing online.
The Microsoft Surface and similar technologies lend themselves perfectly to bridging the gap between online and traditional play. Shuffling and dealing can be done automatically, greatly speeding up the game and allowing more hands to be played. The cards can't be flipped accidentally while dealing which renders a hand dead. Having the players in the same room playing on a touch screen gives you the best of both worlds. In addition to shuffling/dealing the users get the experience of playing face-to-face with other players and the entertainment of playing with friends.