Choker was released recently.

I would simplify the rules (full rules bellow):

The game is head-ups only.

First a holdem hand is played. The sequence of streets is different. 2 cards are shown on flop, 4 in turn and then the river.

The cards are chess pieces.

After the bets, the pot is figthed at a chess (end)game with the pieces each player owns. White starts to position the first piece and then both players alternate.

My question is if a poker pro wich is also a strong chess player, said 2000 ELO, would beat a Grand Master in chess (+2500 ELO) that has basic knowledges of Texas Holdem and how to play head-ups.

Here are some calcs I did about the chess material imbalance of all posible hands, if it helps to answer the question.

Here the full rules


Choker® is a game that combines chess and poker.

The Choker deck consists of cards depicting chess pieces: Queens, Rooks, Bishops, Knights, and Pawns. In the deck there are 44 cards consisting of 4 Queens, 8 Rooks, 8 Bishops, 8 Knights and 16 Pawns.

Players start with their King and one Pawn already placed on the board. Kings are placed on their normal starting squares (White King is placed on square e1, Black King on e8). The Pawns are placed on the squares directly in front of each King (e2 for White and e7 for Black).

Agreed before play starts:

• The initial bets (or blinds): Black will put in a bet called the ‘Big Blind’. The value of this bet is twice the value of the ‘Small Blind’ placed by White. The Big and Small Blinds are used to get betting underway.

• Time Control: The time each player will have to place and then play all their chess moves in Phases 2 and 3 described below.

A coin is tossed to determine who first plays with White and who plays with Black.

There are three phases for Choker:

Phase 1: The Deal and Betting

Phase 2: Placement

Phase 3: Chess

Phase 1 – The Deal and Betting

  1. 5 cards are dealt alternately to each player. However, a betting round will occur after 2 cards have been dealt to each player, then after 4 cards have been dealt to each player and finally, after the fifth card has been dealt to each player.

  2. First betting round. The dealer deals 2 cards to each player as follows: to White first then Black, then White again, then Black. Betting ensues. The betting phase is based on regular poker rules with Calls, Checks, Raises, Folds and Re-raises. The first player to bet is White.

  3. To see more about how to bet, see Betting Further Explained below.

  4. If neither player has folded and both players have bet equal amounts, then another 2 cards are dealt again as follows: first to Black then to White, back to Black and then to White. The first player to bet is Black.

  5. If neither player folds and both players bet equal amounts, then one more card is dealt to each player: to White and then to Black. The first player to bet is White.

  6. If neither player folds and both players bet equal amounts, then the pot is fixed and players move to the Placement Phase.

  7. If at any point a player folds (i.e. chooses not to match the bet of their opponent) the pot is won by their opponent with no progression to Phase 2 or Phase 3.

Card Promotions and Demotions

  1. The face value of cards may be promoted or demoted depending on what cards have been dealt:

a. Demotions: If a player is dealt more than 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Knights or 2 Bishops, the ‘extra’ pieces will be demoted to Pawns. For instance, if a player is dealt 2 Queens and 3 Rooks, this will become 1 Queen, 2 Rooks and 2 Pawns.

b. Promotions: If a player is dealt more than 2 Pawns then the third Pawn is promoted to a Rook; a fourth Pawn is promoted to a Queen; and, a fifth Pawn is also promoted to a Queen. Note only dealt Pawns count towards a promotion (Pawns received through demotion do not count). Players may keep extra pieces gained through promotion. Therefore, a player dealt a Queen and four Pawns will, after promotion, have 2 Queens, 1 Rook and 2 Pawns.

c. The Becket Variation (for real world Choker): Players may agree before the game to play the Becket variation if they do not have three rooks to place on the board. For this rule, if a player receives 2 Rooks and 3 Pawns then the third Pawn is promoted to a Bishop. In all other circumstances, a 3rd dealt pawn is promoted to a Rook.

d. The ‘Palace’: If a player receives one of each piece i.e. 1 Queen, 1 Rook, 1 Bishop, 1 Knight and 1 Pawn (called a Palace), then the Pawn is promoted to a second Queen. This hand, therefore, becomes 2 Queens, 1 Rook, 1 Knight, 1 Bishop.

e. The ‘Empress’: If a player is dealt a three of a kind and a 2 of a kind (e.g. 2 Rooks and 3 Knights), then this hand is called an Empress and the third identical piece becomes a Queen. An Empress is always based on the original values of the dealt cards. It only affects the value of the 3rd piece of the three of a kind. So, 2 Rooks and 3 Knights become 2 Rooks 2 Knights and a Queen. 3 Pawns and 2 Bishops becomes 2 Pawns 1 Queen and 2 Bishops. 3 Queens and 2 Rooks becomes 2 Queens, 2 Rooks and 1 Pawn (the second Queen is still demoted).

Phase 2 – Placement Phase

  1. Players take it in turns to reveal and place their pieces, one at a time, on the board with White moving first.

  2. If players have agreed a time limit (for instance 2 minutes to place their pieces and play all of their moves), the clock is started for White to place their first piece. White will turn over a card and place the equivalent piece. If the piece being placed is different to the face value of the card turned over, the player will say “promoted”, “demoted” or “Palace” depending on what is being placed.

  3. Once White has completed their first placement, he will stop their clock and start the clock of their opponent and Black will turn over a card and place a piece.

  4. Players alternate and place their pieces until all five are placed on the board.

  5. Players can decide in which order to turn over their cards and place their pieces.

  6. Pieces must be placed into specific zones.

a. A Pawn must be placed anywhere on the 2nd 3rd and 4th ranks for White and the 5th, 6th and 7th ranks for Black.

b. All other pieces (Queens, Rooks, Bishops, and Knights) must be placed anywhere on the 1st or 2nd rank for White and 7th and 8th ranks for Black.

  1. If a player receives a second Bishop, it must be placed on an opposite coloured square to the first placed Bishop.

  2. If a player chooses to resign during or after the placement phase, the pot is won by their opponent.

Phase 3 – Chess

  1. The Chess phase starts. White plays first. A player wins by check-mating their opponent or if their opponent runs out of time, or if their opponent resigns.

  2. Normal chess rules apply.

  3. A game is deemed a draw if:

a. The game reaches stalemate (when a player is not in check but has no legal move available).

b. When a player wins on time but has insufficient material to check-mate their opponent.

c. The same position is repeated three times.

  1. If the game is a draw, then the stakes are returned to both players.

  2. The winner of the chess phase wins the pot.

Swap colours

  1. Players swap colours.

  2. Cards are shuffled and dealt again.

  3. The person who wins all of their opponent’s money or chips wins the match.

Betting Further Explained

Betting terminology:

To Fold: is to return your cards and forfeit the game and the pot.

To Check: is to pass on the opportunity to bet.

To Call: is to equal your opponent’s bet. This will be the minimum amount you can bet to stay in the game.

To Raise: Is to bet more than the minimum amount, forcing your opponent to have to put in more money in order to stay in the game.

To Re-raise: is to follow an opponent’s Raise with another Raise.

  1. After the first two cards are dealt to each player, White will have the first opportunity to bet. They may Fold (which means to return the cards and lose the pot); Call (which means to equal Black’s Big Blind stake); or Raise (which means to increase their stake higher than Black’s Big Blind Stake).

  2. Black will have the opportunity to respond with a Fold (if White raised), Check (to equal White’s bet if White called), Call (if White raised), Raise (if White Called) or re-Raise (if White Raised).

  3. If Black Raised or Re-Raised the “action” moves back to White who in turn can Call (equal Black’s higher bet), Fold or Re-Raise again.

  4. When players have bet equal amounts, another 2 cards are dealt. Another betting round ensues as above in the same manner. Black bets first.

  5. When both players have bet the same amounts, the fifth and final card is dealt to each player. Another betting round ensues in the same manner. White bets first.

  6. When players have bet the same amount the betting round is complete, the pot is set and players move into the Placement phase.

  7. Choker can be played as:

– No Limit – where betting can continue until all chips are bet into a pot, and there is no upper limit on the size of the bets;

– Pot Limit – a type of game where the size of a bet is limited by the size of the pot.

– Limit – a type of game where the bets and raises are capped.

  • Let me know if this is off-topic to delete the question. At chess SE we accept chess variants question so on-topic I guess
    – user7280
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 13:25
  • I followed the link to the rules and got this:Dangerous Web Page Blocked You attempted to access: chokergame.com/rules This is a known dangerous web page. It is highly recommended that you do NOT visit this page. Visit Norton to learn more about phishing and internet security.
    – Jon
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 0:57
  • 1
    @Jon I use linux and never care about virus. Thanks for advicing me and sorry for not checking the link I shared. I have removed the link and added the rules in plain text.
    – user7280
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 8:17
  • @Jon the link looks good to me. you can test for yourself by going to the original chokergame.com 1st or just looking up 'choker game' on google
    – BCLC
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


2 things

1st thing:

I believe a pro chess player (not necessarily a GM) would beat a pro poker player in choker (However, I don't think a pro chess player would beat a pro boxer in chessboxing! Haha) if, say, neither knew enough of the other game before and then they're given equal amount of time to study the basics of the other game.

This is evidenced by the official pro choker tournaments being composed of pro chess players rather than pro poker players.

So yeah

2nd thing:

I believe a pro poker player would stand a chance against a pro chess player if

  1. (strongly believe) both the piece setups and actual play were automated

  2. (not so strongly believe) the actual play were automated even if the piece setups weren't

At least for case 1: the chess aspect of the game is kinda removed, I believe. So you're (pretty much) just playing poker with chess cards. (Not sure about the poker rules in the choker app vs real life 5-card draw common poker rules though.)

(bonus 3rd thing in re the 2nd thing)

I don't quite like (in a subjective and not objective sense!) that choker starts on a completely blank board apart from 2 kings in start position + 1 pawn each in front. I think it should have more pawns and that each/some round/s have community or non-community cards that had like 'closed game', 'open game', 'isolated pawn', 'light/dark square bishop', 'more/less pawn islands'. This way there are still some chess aspects to the betting rounds. As it currently stands, pro poker players I believe have as much chance as pro chess players in the betting rounds.

Or at least I would better like (again subjectively! Objectively, I find choker's current state to be a good game!) a version of choker described above (assuming all my tedious details are worked out, hehe).

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. I asked it some time ago with an old account. Sorry I can't accept your answer so. My experience as chess player in the app shows I win easily poker players in the chess part. I also think a GM with basic poker knowledges would easily beat a poker pro. Maybe that is not the case if the poker player is eg a Fide Master. I think nobody beated GM Nakamura in the challenge the company made.
    – user8673
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 17:55
  • 1
    "So you're (pretty much) just playing poker with chess cards." There's a lot of elements of poker that are removed: outs, draws, counterfeits, etc. Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 7:17
  • @Acccumulation can you give a specific example please? also are you referring to the choker in the app specifically? if not then, what do you mean?
    – BCLC
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 7:33
  • @Acccumulation oh texas but what about an example in 5-card draw? btw what's 'AD' ? sounds like ace of diamonds but you seem to be missing another?
    – BCLC
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 19:42
  • @Acccumulation oh why the comment delete?
    – BCLC
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 19:43

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