We all love deep dives into eerie, beautifully imagined worlds or, perhaps, the odd weird sideways leap into lives we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience – you probably wouldn’t be reading Culture of Gaming if you didn’t. Sometimes, though, the best way you can use your device of choice is to have a go at one of the older types of gaming – good old fashioned cards – without the hassle of having to round up a group of friends or get yourself to the nearest casino. 888poker have designed an exciting new twist on the most famous card game of all, poker.
Pick ‘em 8 is 888poker’s real money poker game with an interesting twist. It has the added benefit of being pretty straightforward to learn and, for those who are starting out or maybe just don’t want the stress of having to think about what other players are doing, no direct opponents.
The core principle of the game that sets it apart from regular poker games is that you start out by picking two hole cards from a selection on offer before the hand starts. We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, though.
You start out by browsing the list of available pick ‘em game tables by clicking on the pick ‘em tab or choosing the pick ‘em area in the client. Against each table, the buy-in amount is stated alongside the current prize pool and the time remaining until the next round gets going. You’ll see real-time updates on the prize pool, and it goes up as more people join for an extra level of frisson (it’s worth noting that you need a minimum of three players for a round to start). Select your table, confirm your registration and buy-in then get ready for the game to start.
This is where the game gets going in earnest. You’ll be presented with a selection of eight cards, as will all the other players, and it’s up to you to choose which two will be your hole cards. Once you’ve clicked on them, lock your selection in using the ‘pick ‘em’ button.
It’s worth making sure that you do, in fact, make a proactive choice. If you’ve clicked on a couple of cards but not confirmed them when the round starts, the game will use those two as your hole cards. If you’ve clicked one but not your second the game will lock the first card and choose the second for you. Likewise, if you’ve been twiddling your thumbs or getting distracted by your cat and haven’t picked anything, the game will select both your cards. The moral here, if you haven’t picked up on it already, is to make sure you pick your cards and don’t let the game’s AI do it for you! There’s a countdown until the game starts displayed on the left of the screen, so you don’t have any excuses.
Once the clock runs out and the round starts, five community cards are revealed. These five cards are combined with the two selected hole cards to complete a standard Texas Hold ‘em poker hand. Hand strengths are, of course, determined by Texas Hold ‘em rules.
The buy-in for Pick ‘em 8 is either $1.00 or $0.25, so this isn’t high stakes stuff. It still goes without saying that you should only play with what you can afford to lose, but the low stakes mean this is a nice way to get your toes wet if you’re not quite ready for the tense, pant-wetting stuff you might have seen in Rounders or at your shady uncle’s liquor-drenched poker nights.
Alternatively, because it’s fast moving and very easy to pick up, Pick ‘em 8 is an easy going way to pass the time while you wait for another game to start elsewhere. It’s a chance to multiply your bet in just a few minutes, and because there are always new games starting you can jump in pretty much whenever you want without long periods of waiting around.
There are no dragons to slay here, no over-powered anime characters to shoot fireballs at, no Nazis to shoot or alien worlds to explore. Poker has been around a lot longer than any of our high-powered games consoles or PCs, though, and it’s stuck around for a reason. 888poker have designed a fun new twist on a very old concept, and it’s quick and easy to get to grips with, you can even play from the comfort of your own home.