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Bluff Or Strategize? Choker Mixes Chess With Poker

Choker uses the bluffing and high-stakes risk of poker to bring more action and chance to the strategy of chess.

There are so many different games for mobile devices, and yet good ol' card games and slots continually rake in money. There's just something about the classics that keeps people coming back for more. Perhaps it's the universal appeal of the simple mechanics. There's no need to worry about things like efficient builds or resource management. The only things to worry about are if luck is on your side or if you can outsmart the other guy. But what happens when you smash those two wildly different skills together? What kind of 21st century monstrosity would be created? The answer is Choker.

Choker is literally a game that brings together chess and poker. It's mostly free-to-play. You get a daily allowance of chips to bet. Should you lose them, and don't feel like waiting for the next day, you can buy more with real money. Games begin with a bet. Players start with only a king and one pawn on the board, but the cards in their hand can earn them more. If they bet well and outwit their opponent, that is. Once the card round is over, players place their earned pieces wherever they want on their half of the board. From there it's timed chess.

Choker is the creation of Queenside Games. The story goes that CEO Andrew Finan ran the 1995 World Chess Championship in New York City. He was "inspired by the brilliance" of the world's best chess players and hoped to play with them. Those who did grant him a game crushed him, thus sparking an idea. What if there was a version of chess where an underdog could pull off a surprising victory? What if an element of chance was introduced?

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As part of the marketing effort for Choker, Queenside has five-time United States Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura appear in the Youtube trailer. Also part of the Choker team is Hungarian International Chess Master and Women's Grandmaster Anna Rudolf. So despite the element of chance, which might turn off some chess enthusiasts, it seems that  there is interest in the chess community.

At the moment, however, Choker's greatest obstacle seems to be its own app. Many reviews on both the App Store and Google Play Store give praise to the concept, but find the app buggy. There also appears to be an issue where the game gives players bot opponents when they want to play against other humans. Queenside is hopefully working on those issues. Once it does, Choker will have its chance to teach an old game (or two) new tricks.

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