Sunday, November 7, 2010
Microsoft Moves All In with Full House Poker
Certain XBL gamertags have recently received confidential invites to participate in a beta for Full House Poker, the details of which are still scant. We know that Microsoft cancelled 1 vs 100 and promised to bring back something bigger and better, and it looks like its taking the form of a live, primetime poker tournament where contestants compete for Microsoft Points and other prizes. It is rumored to have avatar and kinect support, as well as more than 100 players in a single tournament field, which means bigger prizes.
Does this herald a new age for online poker? Hardly, as its highly unlikely we will be able to play 24/7 "Heads Up for Rolls" in the near future, even if your roll will only be Microsoft points which cant be redeemed for cash. For now it looks like its going to be a nightly freeroll tournament for Xbox Live Gold members. But HU4mspRollz might be a possibility depending on how well Full House Poker does, and real money games could happen years down the road if legislation regarding online gambling in the US evolves. Right now, its illegal for US banks to process financial transactions for online gambling companies, making it very difficult for US players to deposit cash into their Full Tilt or Pokerstars accounts. However, it is legal for banks to process your payment for Microsoft points. Because points arent redeemable for cash, Microsoft can offer poker tournaments for prizes and point packages and it doesnt violate any US laws. As long as we are gambling for points, and not money, Microsoft and companies like Facebook are able to offer poker legally. If online gambling becomes regulated in the US, all this may change and there will be a huge flurry of new competition, but for the time being, its appears that Microsoft is holding the nuts and all XBL gold members get a chance to scoop a nice pot.