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Innovative ‘Royal Hold’em’ debuts at Hard Rock

Jan 28, 2008 11:42 PM

Recent revenue reports suggest that the poker craze in Nevada card rooms has leveled off, which in turn has compelled poker rooms to offer more promotions, tournaments and other inducements to attract players.

The introduction of new games as well as variations of poker stand-bys may also be the answer to flattening poker revenue.

One such game is Royal Hold’em poker recently introduced by Las Vegas-based New Poker, a company that has developed new games for the casino/poker industry.

New Poker CEO Vince Zaldivar said the game is similar to Texas Hold’em, but is designed to be played much faster, with larger pots and much more excitement.

"The game certainly satisfies the player’s need for action and entertainment," Zaldivar said, adding that the faster action eliminates the tedious waiting for premium hands that often accompanies playing Texas Hold’em.

The game is similar to Texas Hold’em, except it uses a 20-card deck consisting of only ten through aces; there are no "numbered" cards, 2-9.

Because of the smaller deck, it is played by only 2-6 players.

The game is dealt and bet similarly to Hold’em: two hole cards, a three-card flop, turn and river cards.

As you would expect with all the face cards, aces and tens, virtually every flop would produce some "promising" hand for a player, thus there is less folding than in traditional Hold’em, and betting typically continues, up to a cap of a maximum of three raises per round.

Zaldivar acknowledges the game’s appeal to the "masses" of poker players, especially somewhat inexperienced players.

But, he adds, his company is about to release another poker game, No River Hold’em, which should appeal to experienced players because of the strategy involved.

No River Hold’em is played like Texas Hold’em except the players are dealt three hole cards, followed by a three-card flop and a seventh and final "turn" card.

 The scenario is indeed intriguing with the three hole cards — kind of like a modified Omaha scenario.

 But unlike Omaha, the player can use any five of the seven cards (three hole cards plus four on the board) to build his best hand, rather than being forced to use two of his hole cards.

For those interested in trying these new games, Royal Hold’em has been approved for a 45-day run at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas, while No River Hold’em should debut in February on the Las Vegas Strip (GamingToday will list participating casinos in a future edition).

In the meantime, interested players can try an online version, just to get a feel for the game. It’s available at