Texas Hold 'Em won't be free

Or out on August 23rd.

Microsoft appears to have fallen foul of something or other in its quest to get Texas Hold 'Em Poker to appear on Xbox Live Arcade on August 23rd, for free.

Instead it's looking like it won't be out for a while, and what's more it "won't be free" according to Xbox Live Arcade group manager Greg Canessa.

Announced at CES at the turn of the year by Bill Gates and Peter Moore, Texas Hold 'Em was going to be released for nothing during the summer thanks to a sponsorship deal with Riverbelle.com.

Indeed, that was Microsoft's line right up until last month, when one of the Live Arcade team told Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb's podcast, said the game would be free but that it was currently bogged down in legal negotiations about respective branding for the parties involved.

Not content with that, Microsoft US then supposedly confirmed for GameSpot that the game would appear on August 23rd.

Except now we're hearing differently. "First of all, [Texas Hold 'Em Poker] won't be free. We haven't decided on what the final price will be, but it will not be free," Canessa told Joystiq.

Microsoft US then went on to tell GameSpot that it had "not yet provided any official details regarding pricing on this title," adding that it was still in development and "full details regarding the launch date will be announced".

Still, those of you looking forward to it might be interested in what else Canessa had to say to Joystiq. "As far as incentives, we want to make sure gamers play with a purpose with a game like this that doesn't have any actual risk/reward," he said - a reference to the fact that you won't be able to stake actual money on the hands.

"We will have a persistent bankroll system tied to your gamertag that will allow those who have built up enough money to enter higher-quality tournaments. Then, if you run out of money, you have to enter the freebie tournaments to build your bankroll back up."

Since the interview, several of Microsoft's vocal blogging types have said they'll get to the bottom of the situation soon. Major Nelson said the Joystiq interview was "the first he'd heard" of Microsoft charging for Texas Hold 'Em, and said he'd try and talk to Canessa before next week's podcast.

More on Texas Hold 'Em Poker when they lay out their cards, then.

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