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New Hold ’Em Challenge debuts at Binion’s

Nov 13, 2001 9:22 AM

Revamped and retooled, Hold ”˜Em Challenge is dealing at Binion’s Horseshoe.

Shuffle Master pulled its new specialty poker game from Bally’s over the summer because it was “beating people up,’’ said Roger Snow, table games product manager. With so many players losing to the house, Shuffle Master figured it was time to ease the odds.

Now the hit frequency has been increased and payouts on royal flushes have been boosted. Odds on side bets have also improved. “That should double the frequency of winning,’’ Snow said.

On a 90-day state-monitored trial that started this week, Hold ”˜Em Challenge was developed by poker legend David Sklansky. Sklansky, who has authored 10 books on poker and invented numerous games, calls Hold ”˜Em “a simple game, but one that’s hard to get perfection because there are hundreds of millions of possibilities.’’

“It’s a relaxing game that people can play for five hours straight,’’ he told GamingToday. And, in a unique twist, players can talk to each other and strategize. “Either way, the hands are profitable or interesting,’’ added Sklansky, who partnered with Lyle Berman on the venture.

Snow said Shuffle Master was pleased that Binion’s has assigned its skilled poker dealers — instead of other card dealers — to run the 7-seat game.

“It may find a home inside poker rooms because people often find themselves on waiting lists,’’ Snow says. And for the novice players, he adds, “This can be a place where they can hone their skills in a less intimidating environment.’’