Live Poker Show Coming to Xbox 360…Supposedly

The big news in the gaming world could also be big news for poker players. Early this week, a series of emails went out to Xbox 360 fans, supposedly from Microsoft Game Studios. The emails invited the recipients to help Microsoft test the beta program for a new episodic game show that is slated to run on Xbox Live and is currently being called Full House Poker. The email states that the beta program is “highly confidential,” so of course what few details have been released are now all over the gaming forums.

For poker fans that are not Xbox 360 fans, let us offer up some helpful background. The Xbox 360 is capable of going online so multiple players in multiple locations can compete together or against each other in their favorite games. It adds a whole new dimension of both participation and competition, but thus far its appeal has been limited to the console’s larger titles.

The good people at Microsoft have been trying to expand on the Xbox Live offerings and to reach out to a larger audience, hence the game show format. Thus far, Xbox Live has only attempted a live game show once before. That particular venture was called 1 vs. 100 (after the popular TV game show), and it failed abysmally. This time around it’s clear that Microsoft is hoping to find greater success by using a game format that’s already proven extremely popular in both live and online venues. Yes, we’re talking about poker.

Readers that have access to Xbox Live may be wondering what the big deal is. After all, Texas Hold’em games are already available through your dashboard. Compare it to playing a ring game vs playing a televised MTT. The new Full House Poker game will only be accessible during approved sessions, and players can and will be taken out of the action when they lose their chips. Thus far, the only reward Xbox 360 is promising top players is Xbox points and the satisfaction of seeing yourself at the top of the leaderboard. It sounds like a format that many points-only poker players are already pretty familiar with.

Players will be competing via their avatars, and the email promises that they will be able to select unique tells. It also hints at a hand history feature, which as we all know is old news in real poker rooms. Perhaps the most surprising information in the email is that Microsoft is calling their game of choice “Texas Heat.” It’s probably just a tarted up version of Texas Hold’em, but only time will tell.

While the new Xbox Live game show has the potential to expose a whole new audience to live poker (namely an underage audience), we have a feeling that most seasoned players will stick to the cash action they’ve been enjoying for years at their favorite poker rooms.

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