After months of speculation HoldemX has finally made its debut.
It’s still in an early Alpha stage but we now have an idea of how the game actually plays.
So what’s HoldemX's killer app?
That would be another deck of cards. HoldemX features a 15-card deck of bonus Xcards that seriously alters the standard game of Hold’em.
For example some of the various cards include “deal 6th street ” or “re-deal the turn”.
In addition each card has a point value so you actually “draft” cards like you might draft players in fantasy sports or minions in a game of Hearthstone Arena. You must draft an Xcard deck that costs 90 points or less.
There are actually plans to include more Xcards into HoldemX but for now they are sticking with the beginner-friendly “Discovery” deck. In that sense HoldemX is rather dynamic and could change significantly over the years.
Finally HoldemX also features a killer time bank that will actually cause you to lose the game if your time bank expires. The time bank is pivotal for speeding up the game since you essentially have another round of decisions based on your Xcards.
Here's a quick video to walk you through HoldemX:
You can try out the game for yourself on holdemx.com if you sign up for the alpha.
We played the game for a couple hours and these were some of our first impressions:
- It’s a lot of fun!
- The rules could be explained a little better as it’s unclear exactly what some of the Xcards in the beginning.
- Matches are very fast and generally last under 10 minutes.
- Despite the sheer amount of time it takes to pick Xcards and play them the game plays rather fast thanks to an unrelenting shot clock.
- Picking Xcards is a massive strategic element of the game.
- Some Xcards are much more valuable than others and will likely require a fair amount of balancing in the future.
- You can actually make various “builds” based on the Xcards you draft. For instance you can essentially build a “miracle” deck where you can re-deal the turn, river and then deal 6th street. That’s a lot of outs!
- There are obviously strategies that wouldn’t work in normal Hold’em.
- Outside of Xcards and the innovative time bank, HoldemX follows basic heads-up Hold’em rules.
- The game clearly still needs a few tweaks.
- It’s anybody’s guess as to how serious HoldemX will be taken in the future and it will take some time to assess the strategic value of the game.
A Look at All 15 Xcards and Their Abilities
Here’s a complete look at all 15-cards that are in the discovery deck and their corresponding point values:
Pair Top Card: 33 Points
Using this card allows you to pair your highest ranked hole card (K-Q becomes K-K).
Pair Bottom Card: 27 Points
Using this card let’s you pair your lowest ranked hole card (K-Q becomes Q-Q)
Hole Card +1: 25 Points
This card let’s you increase the value of one of your hole cards (For example 8 becomes 9 or 10 becomes a jack).
Hole Cards -1: 25 Points
Using this card let’s you decrease the value of one of your hole cards (For example 9 becomes 8 or a Jack is turned into a 10).
Third Hole Cards: 21 Points
You get a third hole card. You can still only use a total of two cards to make you’re Hold’em hand though.
Board +1: 19 Points
This card let’s you increase the value of one card on the board following the rules stated above.
Board -1: 19 Points
Same thing as above except you decrease the value of one card on the board.
Re-deal the Flop: 19 Points
You get to re-deal the entire flop for both you and your opponent.
Re-deal the River: 12 Points
You get to re-deal the river for you and your opponent.
6th Street: 12 Points
You get to deal an extra card on the board after the river.
Pot Block: 10 Points
Using this card let’s you block an opponent’s bet and end betting for the rest of that round.
Card Switch: 8 Points
This card allows you to swap one of your hole cards with a burn card from the flop, turn or river.
Re-Deal the Turn: 8 Points
You get to re-deal the turn for you and your opponent.
Heart-to-Diamond: 5 Points
You can change a single card’s suit on the board from Hearth-to-Diamond or vice versa.
Spade-to-Club: 5 Points
Same as above expect for Spades and Clubs.