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BlackBerry Hacks
By Dave Mabe
October 2005
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HACK
#32
Play Texas Hold 'Em
Quit your day job and start playing everyone's favorite flavor of poker for a living
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

If you want to play the best games for the BlackBerry, look no further than Magmic Games (http://www.magmic.com). Their top-selling game is so addicting that you may have trouble going back to using your device for email. Texas Hold 'Em King 2 is the king of poker games, allowing you to play against virtual opponents offline or live players in its online mode.

The program can be installed from Magmic's download page, which is formatted for your BlackBerry Browser, at http://bb.magmic.com. Just choose the over the air install, and away you go. If you'd like to use Application Loader to install the game, you can download all Magmic's color or black-and-white games in one fell swoop at http://www.magmic.com/download.php.

Ante Up!

The program comes with a seven-day trial. After the seven days have elapsed, you can purchase a key at Magmic's web site for $9.95. To play an offline game against the AI opponents on your BlackBerry, choose New Game from the main menu, as shown in .

Figure 1. Starting a new game

If you've never played casino style Hold 'Em, the object is to take everyone else's money—and if you've ever played in an actual casino, it doesn't take long to figure this out. Most people stay in with bad hands far too long. If you don't have the cards, go ahead and fold. (No avoiding the obvious reference to a certain Kenny Rogers song.) Just as with many gambling games and even the stock market, your goal should be to not lose money as much as it is to actually make money.

What's great about Texas Hold 'Em King is that most of the game is handled automatically. You don't have to hit any keys until you actually have to make a decision. This is quite nice because the game goes just slowly enough for you to recognize what the other players are doing, yet it's fast enough to keep your interest.

When it's your turn to bet, your lowest possible play to stay in the game is selected. If you want to raise the bet (or fold), use the trackwheel to increase your bet. If you want to fold, scroll down on the trackwheel and choose Fold. Click the trackwheel or use the Enter key to make your selection.

TIP

You'll notice that if no one has increased the bet, you'll get the option to Check without an option to fold. Just like if you were at a real casino, you would be happy to stay in the game without risking any more money to see another card turned over. So even if you have a bad hand, you'd want to check, if possible, to see if your hand improves.

Considering your BlackBerry device is no Xbox, the graphics are fantastic (see ). The opponents line the top of the screen, and you can see the amount of (virtual) money each has left. The yellow token indicates the dealer. In the first game, everyone starts out with $500, and there are $5 and $10 blinds. As you continue to win games (not just individual hands), you graduate to games with higher stakes.

Figure 2. A single-player game (you need to fold this sorry hand)

After the "river card" is played, the game determines the winner and all the chips go toward the winning player. The winner's cards are outlined as well, so its easy to spot who has won without comparing everyone's hands (not to mention trying to remember which hand wins: a straight or a flush).

Play Online

The most innovative feature of Texas Hold 'Em King 2 is the online play. You can join public tables or set up your own table that is open to all, or you can require a password to join. You can even maintain a buddy list of players you've played with before to see when they are online.

To join an online game, you'll need to create an account with Magmic, which you can do from within the game. Also, you don't have to register (and therefore pay) to play online—you have full access to all the features during your trial. To create your account, you need to select a username and supply a password and email address. Once your account is created, you're all set. To play online, you will need to have accumulated some money playing the single player mode or the online mode. When you join an online table, you choose what portion of the money you've earned you'd like to bring to the table. Be careful not to join a table with too little money to be competitive. If you have the least amount of money of anyone at the table, you are a prime target. Also, just like in a real casino, you can't go get more chips in the middle of a hand.

TIP

If you're still in the middle of a single-player game and you'd like to leave the table and join an online game, you'll be asked if you want to leave the table and take your money so you'll have some to play with online.

The online tables will have real BlackBerry users and AI opponents. The human opponents will have their Magmic username above their head at the table; the AI opponents will look exactly as they do in the single-player mode (see ).

Figure 3. An online game with a hand I'm getting ready to fold

If you're not brave enough to join the online games, you can upload the scores you've achieved in the single-player game and see where you rank among other players. Magmic also holds occasional contests with actual prizes for the winners.


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