Howdy ‘pardner! Y’all love poker, I’m sure, and a new spin on the classic card game has moseyed its way to the casual game space. Yee haw! Governor of Poker folds in a Wild West theme along with a real estate spin, as you can earn enough money to buy buildings in order to become a Texas tycoon.

After you choose a name and gender for your ten gallon hat-wearing character, you’ll start off in San Saba, a small town in central Texas. Played from a top-down perspective, you’ll first walk around and talk to some of the townsfolk and you might get some poker advice, tournament information or asked to borrow cash. You can also put your mouse over some buildings — such as a saloon, horse stable or county store – to see if you have enough money to buy it.

When you’re ready for action, you’ll enter your first tourney (if you can afford the buy in) and mosey up to a table to play some good ‘ol Texas Hold ‘Em. The game now switches to an overhead table view, where you’ll see yourself and other characters – well, the top of their cowboy or cowgirl hats, anyway.

In case you haven’t played Tex Hold ‘Em before (or if you’re not a fan of the many TV shows based on tournament play), after you ante into the pot, each player receives two cards face down. Now it’s time to bet on these two cards. After the round of betting (where you can call, raise or fold), three community cards are dealt face up on the table; this is referred to as “the flop.”

After another round of betting, a fourth card is revealed (the “turn card”) and after the third round of betting, the last face-up card is revealed (called “the river”). The fourth and final round of betting begins; the objective is to create the best 5-card poker hand out of your two and the five community cards.

You can go all-in, too, but you risk losing all your cash for the day, or if completely broke, losing the game (you’ll see your character wearing a barrel!).

It’s quite fun to see if you can eliminate players from the table, and while you can’t see their facial expressions under their huge hats, animations show when they’re getting stressed out (steam coming out of their ears) or when they’re indecisive (tapping their fingers).

You’ll also see captions such as “Big Stack Bully” (when a player has a lot of chips and is betting aggressively) or “Busted!” (as the loser walks away from the table with a comedic “waa waa” horn sound). In total, there are a hundred different opponents and more than a dozen environments in which to play poker in.

Money won from tournaments or cash games can be used to buy properties in the town you’re in, such as Meridian, El Dorado, San Antonio or El Paso. By placing your mouse over the building you’ll see one might cost, say, $400, but brings in $20 weekly, plus you can buy transportation upgrades — such as wagon or carriage – to go to other towns. Your reputation meter will climb steadily, too, and might even see your face in a local newspaper.

Governor of Poker
is a blast, but it’s not a full house if you get my drift. While there’s a secondary “Instant Poker” game that dispenses with the real estate portion of the game (you can play tables in any of the cities you’ve unlocked), you can’t play against friends as you can with many other poker PC games. Heck, even the Texas Hold ‘Em game for the iPhone has an online multiplayer mode.

Despite this oversight, you ould go all-in on Governor of Poker – it may be based on a very familiar casino game, and there are no shortage of related computer games, but the property management and western angles are a refreshing and amusing addition.