Texas Hold ‘Em for the Blind and Visually Impaired

[DD] “Did you guys notice Figaro the Fish trying to teach his nephew Flounder how to play Texas Hold ‘Em?” Deb the Duchess asked, still smiling from collecting her half-pot from their Main Event wager.

[RR] “I was very tempted to jump in to save the little guy from having to unlearn everything his uncle teaches him”, Roderick the Rock admitted. “But I managed to suppress the urge.”

[LL] “I don’t think they’d been here five minutes when I heard Figaro rambling on about coloring up, squeeze plays, and Post Oak bluffs”, Leroy the Lion added.

[TT] “You may think it’s the blind leading the blind / but the elder fish is sadly maligned”, Tyrone the Telephone complained.

[DD] “We’re just teasing him, you know.”

[RR] “Besides, what would Texas Hold ‘Em be without the blinds?”

[LL] “Even the blind can play Hold ‘Em.”

[SS] “Yeah, do you remember back in 2007, when Hal Lubarsky became the first blind player to cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event?” Stan the Stat contributed.

[RR] “I’m surprised I haven’t seen another blind player on TV since then. I guess that wasn’t enough to make the game popular in the blind and visually impaired community.”

[LL] “Braille playing cards and poker chips that come in different shapes aren’t that expensive, but I guess it’s still a big challenge to make sure you collect the entire pot and pick up all the cards each hand.”

[DD] “At least they have a great iPhone and iPad app to learn and practice Hold ‘Em with now. THETA Poker Pro has always been fully accessible, but most of the recent updates have been to improve accessibility. Apparently, you don’t even need to find your cards on the table to play anymore! I played with VoiceOver on for a while because it was cool to hear all the action announced, but sighted users gained that feature with iOS 7.”1

[RR] “So, Siri tells you what your hole cards are and announces the community cards and all the bets?”

[DD] “Yes. And the player who’s won the hand, their cards, and hand strength.”

[LL] “Can you ask Siri for advice on how to play the hand?”

[DD] “Very funny. You can tell her, ‘Launch THETA Poker’, but if you want more than that, try emailing the developer.”

[RR] “We’d certainly welcome blind players to our home tourney.”

[LL] “All new players for that matter. We’ll have Figaro teach them so they don’t get better than us too quickly.”

[TT] “When I find a blind player trying to steal my blind, I won’t be resigned / I’ll respond in kind, put him in a bind, take his chips with three-of-a-kind.”

Footnotes:

  1. Voice announcements were added to the game for iOS 7 users in Version 1.2.1 on September 23, 2013. Go to the “Options/Music & Sound/Announce” menu and select either “Messages Only” or “All”.

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