Microsoft opens gates to poker world

The view from Microsoft might very well be a little lascivious towards online poker these days. The launch of their new "ultimate" operating system, Windows Vista, includes three notable extras, one of them their own version of Texas Hold'em.

Launched with great fanfare over the last few days by kingpin Bill Gates, the new Vista platform is Microsoft's largest release in years and, experts say, clearly designed to keep pace with Mac's OS X.

Of note to the poker world with the release, however, is one of three "extras" included in the new Windows package: Texas Hold'em poker.

The game as of now only sets you against up to five computer players for cash-free No-Limit poker, with options to set your opponents' skill level and customize the look of the card deck and playing table also part of the set-up.

But many in the online poker business are speculating the "extra" might indicate an intention to dabble in the real-money online poker world, with their powerful technology and bottomless bankroll able to make a dramatic impact in the "currently in flux" American poker industry.

Among the other significant features included in the Windows Vista platform are a Bitlocker Drive Encryption tool and Windows Dreamscene, which lets you use motion video as your desktop.

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