Gambling with Xbox Live? Texas Hold’em Poker Coming…

Microsoft this morning announced that they will be launching Texas Hold’em Poker for the Xbox 360 as an Xbox Live Arcade game on August 23rd, at 8:00 GMT (4:00am EDT/1:00am PDT), and that for the first 48 hours, it will be a free download to all comers. After the 48 hours expire, it will cost 800 Microsoft Points (US$10) to download and own Texas Hold’em Poker.

Considering the on-going efforts by the U.S. Congress to criminalize on-line gambling (because they can’t figure out an equitable way to tax such gambling and fill the Treasury’s coffers), Microsoft needs to ensure that in no way can their new game be used as an on-line gambling tool – it has to be purely for entertainment.

“Designed to simulate the risk-reward of real poker gameplay, keep gamers honest, and discourage opponents from betting too recklessly, Texas Hold em has an innovative new feature called Persistent Bankroll. Your virtual bankroll is tied to your Xbox Live Gamertag and keeps a running tally of your chip count. If you lose all of your chips in a poker game, you ll have to play lower stakes buy-in games to make back your stack and earn your way to the big tables.” – Microsoft Press Release, August 16, 2006

The new Texas Hold’em title, developed by TikGames, supports up to eight players. There are three modes of game play – standard, scenarios, and tournaments, and as with all Xbox Live Arcade games, statistics and achievements are tracked on-line.

I’ve already put a note in my calendar to download the game to my two Xbox 360s.

Some details on the game can be found here.