Today sees Irish company OteetO Ltd. launch a new form of poker with the much anticipated Texas Ask’Em Poker on Facebook at the Social Gaming Summit in Berlin, Germany.

Texas Ask’Em PokerTM combines poker with trivia to create a new poker game with a big difference – players can now influence the cards they receive yet the game still maintains the core successful poker elements of skill and chance.

Texas Ask’Em Poker enters the world of Facebook poker games with a decent pair of hole cards, they have amassed 5,000 likes and their players have already sent over 100,000 game invites to their friends – and all this even before today’s official launch.

“One weekend in February, we quietly spent €400 on Facebook ads in order to have some real players , unknowingly, be the first to play Texas Ask’Em Poker”, says Neal O’Gorman Co-Founder of OteetO, “ the response was really excellent, people played for hours and then later we got complaints from fans whenever the game went down for updates! We have made significant improvements to the game since then and will continue to but we are now delighted to be officially launching Texas Ask’Em Poker at the Berlin Social Gaming Summit”.

Texas Ask’Em Poker is addictive, fun and simple to play! Gamers are invited to sit at a table on a topic they know and enjoy e.g. Sports, Entertainment, General Knowledge, etc. Each hand begins with a multiple choice question, each player answers and then receives their cards and regular Texas Hold’Em Poker follows.

So where’s the smart part? The first trick is that all players are competing for the best of the randomly dealt starting hands. So, the person with the fastest correct answer will receive the best of the random starting hands. Naturally players with the correct answer will receive better ranked starting hands than the players that answer incorrectly.

The second, but key trick, is that players are not informed as to how either they or their opponents performed in the question round until the poker hand is complete! But, players be warned, even if you feel you answered fast and correct maybe someone else was faster but perhaps even more importantly, as it is still poker, having a good starting hand does not guarantee a winning hand anything can appear on the flop the turn and the river! Even the person that had the answer wrong can still win the poker hand – you still need to know when to fold’em!

On signing up to Texas Ask’Em Poker, each player receives 20,000 worth chips and can raise this by 3,000 by liking the app and another 2,000 to 5,000 chips every day they log in. The smallest number of chips a player can purchase is 675,000 chips for close to €2 euro with the maximum being 270 million chips for over €100. At the moment there is only 1 stakes table but as there are more players joining the game will offer higher stakes table. The stakes table currently has a minimum number of chips needed to play of 200 and the max you can join the table with is 4,000 chips with minimum bets at 20 chips.

Texas Ask’Em Poker is a lot more social than normal online poker games as people with two hobbies in common are seated at the same table, with good questions striking up table chat, and players being able to share the experience of an interesting or relevant question with their friends on facebook. In addition, not only can you play against your friends in real time but you can also try to win more chips than them or beat their personal record of correct answers in a row.

Targeted at the existing facebook poker players Texas Ask’Em is not for players that play for real money just the fantasy and adrenaline rush that you get from playing with in effect monopoly money in the online world. With over 40 million facebook poker players playing each month, Texas Ask’Em Poker is appealing to the poker players that are looking for that extra challenge and additional entertainment value.

Poker players on facebook are predominantly male (75% male and 25% female) but OteetO feels that Texas Ask’Em Poker can appeal to a wider audience changing the demographics to 70% male and 30% female. Currently only available in English this will be expanded into other languages over the next six months.

Company History.

OteetO Ltd, an Irish startup with seed investment from the Berlin Accelerator Make-A-Startup.

OteetO was founded by Neal O’Gorman and Narcis Ilisei in December 2010, after they both took redundancy from the multi-national Agilent Technologies (a Test&Measurement company with about 19,000 people) where Narcis worked as Senior R&D Engineer and Neal as Programme Manager with responsibility for products that were used in testing laser used in communications.

The company name OteetO stems from a Greek word ικανότητα (ikanOteeta) which means skill, ability and also proficiency. This reflects nicely on how Neal and Narcis want to run the company but also on the games that they look to develop. Texas Ask’Em PokerTM is the first game released by OteetO Ltd.

Neal O’Gorman

Originally from Naas, a graduate from UCD (Electronic Engineer), O’Gorman (35) was Co-founder of Tsunami Photonics (founded in 2001) which merged with PXIT in 2003, moved to the US (Silicon Valley & Boston) in 2004 to work with PXIT for 2.5 years, then moved to Germany (Boeblingen – near Stuttgart) when Agilent bought out his previous employers PXIT in 2006 and worked there for three years as PXIT Product Manager & Optical Programme Manager with responsibility for “all products that were used in testing laser’s used for communications” before leaving to set up OteetO with Narcis. Now spending his time between Naas and Germany (Boeblingen & Berlin) O’Gorman still makes guest appearances as the Quiz Master in the local Irish Pub in Boeblingen – which was a catalyst for Texas Ask’Em Poker idea.

Narcis Ilisei

IIisei worked with Agilent for ten years from 2000, as Senior R&D engineer that was assigned to the PXIT products within Agilent. Originally from Romania, IIisei (36) moved to Germany when he started with Agilent. Prior to that Ilisei worked at the Technical University Iasi in Romania. A very talented technologist turned Entrepreneur and Game Developer. Texas Ask’Em Poker is the second game IIisei has developed. Ilisei also founded Inatech in 2010, a start up company that focus’s on smartphone/tablet application development. In 2011 Ilisei officially joined OteetO as a Co-founder.