Telltale Texas Hold ‘Em: The Review

There are lots of reasons why poker and video games should come together to make a single entity. We review and discuss one such instance, Telltale Texas Hold’em, a PC game from the 2000s with a recent re-release – but is it still worth playing in 2023, especially when you can play texas hold’em poker online so easily and for real money too.


In Telltale Texas Hold’em, you take on the role of the fifth player at a Texas Hold’em Poker table and you’ll play out the final table out the tournament by the same name as the software. You’ll always play the same four players (amusingly named: Harry Weinhead, Boris Krinkle, Theodore Dudebrough, and Grandma Shakey) who exhibit different playing styles throughout the play at the table. Much like a real-life game of poker, the aim of the game is to bet, raise, and bluff your way to victory by being the last player with all the chips at the end. When it was released back in July 2005, it was named Indie Game of the Month by PC Zone Magazine.

Years after the game’s release it has been speculated that Telltale Texas Hold’em, as the company’s first game was supposed to only be an in-house software tool for the developers and engineers to test out new concepts and code.

Consequence Free Fun and Practise

So what does an offline game actually have to offer a budding poker player? Well, it’s consequence-free. Once you’ve paid for the game (see below, it’s not expensive by any means), you’re plain sailing. You can’t lose any money on Telltale Texas Hold’em, so it offers a decent training ground for new players or recovering addicts who need time away from a live money table. Instead of needlessly bleeding chips on an online platform, firing up this software will allow you to hone your game before taking to competitive play. This is especially useful for total beginners.

Isn’t it dated?

If you’re expecting neo graphics from a bleeding edge software with pixels so sharp on the cards they could give you a paper cut, then you should look elsewhere for sure. This 2005 indie game might not have been considered beautiful in its day but it has a retro feel which calls upon a simpler time of gaming. It’s rough around the edges but the poker plays out fine. It is very ‘point and click’ as in, the game mechanics are very basic but it’s a poker simulator at the end of the day, it isn’t supposed to be overly complex.

How good is the CPU?

The CPU is interesting. There are four distinct players who all have a different play style, one is overly aggressive, one is very conservative, etc. Given that the game was made in 2005, there are limitations as to how well it will react to certain cards – and indeed how random the cards are. While it can’t be described as truly random, enough effort has gone into it to ensure players have a good chance to experience a fair game. The CPU players also come out with some fairly amusing quips to one another after resulting rounds, which users will find funny at least once or twice.

Inexpensive Risk

A really good draw to buy this game is that it is very amicably priced. While the pricing strategy on Steam can fluctuate as of late August 2023, this game was available for £0.89. You can get much for under a pound these days but you can get this game and still have change! Even if you play it once, don’t like it, and uninstall it within 24 hours – the nominal fee won’t break the bank. It might entertain you for an evening, making it much cheaper than going to a real casino or going to the cinema. Certainly a lot cheaper than the latest PS5 game for sure!

Cult following and legacy

To say that Telltale Texas Hold’em has a cult following might be a bit of stretch but the game is usually received and talked about in a good manner. Around five years after the original game was released, Telltale released Poker Night at the Inventory and even another game, Poker Night 2 which are both considered to be decent sequels. However, these two games following on from the original were de-listed from online stores (including Steam) and aren’t available to buy anymore. The original does still sit proudly available to purchase.

The original Telltale Games company that created the game became defunct in 2018 but has since resurfaced with new ownership. No new poker game has been released as of yet , but if you want to play for real money then you can try texas hold’em poker online here, otherwise, it’s a case of waiting for a new game to emerge.


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