Hotpoker: Play Hold'em Poker over the Internet

Table of contents:

What is Hotpoker

Hotpoker is a suite of programs that allow you to play poker (currently only 2-4 Limit Hold'em ) over the internet. It is still under development, but it is stable enough to provide hours of entertainment. It might even improve your poker game.

The idea is that a 'dealer' or 'server' runs somewhere on the net and you connect to it with a 'client'. Your opponents may be other humans, or they may be computer 'robots'. The robots that exist now are rather poor players, but they can certainly be improved with some programming effort (hint! hint!).

Hotpoker is different from most other internet poker programs because it allows you to actually compete interactively against human opponents. This is not Vid-poker. It's Hold'em, with intelligent opponents, raises, bluffs, and all the rest.

Hotpoker is NOT an interface to the IRC poker channel. It is a completely separate package. Why not?

Ways to play hotpoker.

If your WWW browser supports java, e.g., Netscape, MS Internet Explorer, then you should try the java client. After entering your name and password, your browser will automatically download the software and connect to the game.

Where can I find a game?

I try to keep a server running at more-or-less all the time. As of July, 1999 the computers are in a transitional period so there may be some downtime as the game is switched over to the new machine.

What's this Account ID thing?

The netpoker software knows you by two distinct names. The first is the name that appear on screens (both yours and your opponents) near your cards. The second is an Account ID that is used to keep track of your winnings so that when you return, you have the same stake you left with. The accoundtid's will be replaced by passwords in the new hotpoker to enable a player's stake to move between tables.

The important thing to keep in mind is that your Account ID is "permanent", and is remembered from one session to the next. If you expect to come back again, you might want to set it to be something that you can easily remember.

No matter how low your account balance falls, the "house" will always extend you credit up to 200 units, or enough so that you can buy in for 40 units, whichever is more.

I have done very little to address "security" concerns. If you are the paranoid type, you can choose an Account ID the same way you choose a password on a real machine. However, you should be aware that the text is stored unencrypted on the server, and there is really very little preventing someone from accessing your account. DO NOT USE YOUR REAL PASSWORD AS AN ACCOUNT ID.

Collusion and cheating

Collusion between players or control of multiple players by one person is trivially easy and is grossly unfair. It is cheating. Don't do it! It does not demonstrate any cleverness whatsoever to "beat" the game in this way. The obvious situation is one where two players are sharing information about the cards they hold. In hold'em this isn't a show-stopper, but it does provide some advantage. More insidious is the possibility that two players (or one player with two seats at the table) will re-raise one another to extract the maximum bets from the other players at the table. There is very little I can do to address this problem technologically. Remember, it's not real money! We must rely on people's good will, sense of fair play, and on the general acceptance of the notion that we are playing for fun. I hope that there will be very few people who derive satisfaction from beating the game by cheating.

How to say thank you

Hotpoker is free of charge. Nevertheless, it's always nice to know that people are actually enjoying it. So in lieu of any shareware "fee", please send me an interesting postcard from your home town, university or someplace you've travelled to. Send those cards to:

John Salmon 
47 Quaker Bridge Road
Ossining, NY 10562
Thanks and enjoy!


Hotpoker has been thoroughly tested by Dave Fullagar and
Daniel Savarese . They are responsible for any and all bugs that remain in the released versions :-).


John Salmon