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CARTESI Texas HODL’em: A New Era of Decentralized Online Gaming



CARTESI Texas HODL'em: A New Era of Decentralized Online Gaming
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As technology develops, gaming experiences become more immersive, and the gaming business has continued to thrive year after year, despite the global pandemic confining the majority of the world’s population indoors. The gaming business has witnessed remarkable technical developments in recent years, with the global gaming market expected to be valued at just over $200 billion in 2023, up from just over $70 billion in 2012.

Millions of gamers across the world play together for hours on end within virtual worlds like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, and Fortnite, constructing, driving, battling, and exploring massive hyper-realistic landscapes. But these games (and truly the vast majority of games on the market) have one thing in common: they all run on centralized servers that process massive amounts of data every second, anything from in-game commands to online shop sales.

All game-related data is maintained on servers controlled entirely by the game developers or administrators in centralized gaming models, and the data includes everything from user account information to all of the events and in-game materials they acquire on their virtual journeys. This raises several concerns, as not only does compile data on a Single database mean that players never precisely control their data or the items earned during the in-game process, spending a huge number of hours, but it also means that all of the above is at risk of being stolen or even lost forever if the game developers themselves damage or shut down the servers.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

As a result of this predicament, gaming has emerged as one of the most promising blockchain applications. It’s easy to think about decentralization as a way to convince people to put their money and time into a game without fear of being burned by a company’s unilateral choice in the future. Such a scenario, one would think, would attract even more people and money to the company.

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Nonetheless, despite all of this promise, the current limiting conditions of blockchain technology have made investing in this field exceedingly undesirable for the general mainstream gaming industry. Indeed, when examined closely, the methods described thus far for building complicated blockchain games wind up jeopardizing the core rationale for employing a blockchain in the first place in one way or another. In general, either the solution is still partially centralized, or it lacks the security guarantees that individuals need to put their trust in it. To put it another way, with the present methods, either the game breaks if a firm shuts down anything, or there is no effective mechanism to ensure that players do not misbehave. Alternatively, the game must be so easy that no one will be interested in it in the first place!

The truth is that businesses now lack the tools and scalability necessary to create realistic and complicated decentralized games. With an ever-increasing demand for a remedy to this current scenario, Cartesi Texas HODL’em is here to fill the void and deliver long-term answers to the gaming industry’s myriad of threats. Though it was said previously, Blockchain technology has the potential to overcome many of the problems that plague the gaming industry by spreading game servers and hosting games on immutable platforms that cannot be altered or shut down. Hence, Cartesi, a platform that allows millions of conventional developers around the world to build and operate decentralized applications on Linux operating systems, has now introduced a decentralized poker game that is a milestone for blockchain applications.


Cartesi is a multi-chain layer-2 infrastructure that enables any software developer to write smart contracts using common software tools and languages while maintaining vast scalability and affordable costs. Cartesi revolutionizes the way developers create blockchain applications by combining a breakthrough virtual machine, optimistic rollups, and side-chains.

It moves complicated computing off-chain while maintaining the blockchain’s security guarantees. The Cartesi Machine, a proprietary virtual machine that emulates a RISC-V microprocessor and can boot a genuine OS, runs an embedded Linux distribution. What makes this such a significant advancement for the gaming industry?

Cartesi provides Linux infrastructure to blockchain apps, allowing developers to use the same stacks, libraries, and tools they’re used to on conventional operating systems, but in a decentralized environment. This is crucial for the gaming industry because it opens up possibilities for developers that were previously unavailable; they can now take advantage of thirty years of open-source software innovation as well as the massive computer capacity underpinning Cartesi’s engine.

A Mental Poker algorithm is used to achieve the game’s basic decentralization. Cartesi allows us to use LibTMCG, a well-known cryptographic library created in C++ that provides a toolbox of algorithms drawn from sophisticated academic research. Each player uses Mental Poker to play the game on his or her device, sending their actions or turns to each other. For simplicity, this design sends the data across the blockchain, which serves not only as a means of communication between the players but also as an indisputable record of the game’s log. They leverage Polygon’s PoS sidechain to verify that the solution has adequate speed and low costs to be minimally feasible.

A series of Cartesi-implemented Turn-Based Game smart contracts handle the communication mediation and game logging on the blockchain. More crucially, these smart contracts allow the current status of the game to be contested in the event of a disagreement, such as a reluctance to give necessary decryption keys or fraudulent claims about the game’s outcome. As a result, when a challenge is initiated, the smart contracts use Cartesi technology to replay the entire game to validate the genuine result and enforce the correct outcome.

Why Cartesi Texas HODL’em?

Until now, there has never been a lasting solution to the gaming industry’s security threats, lack of transparency, runtime, fairness, and monopolistic challenges. Even though its market value continues to expand, the growing need for a long-term solution has never been more daunting. As a result, Cartesi Texas was able to fix the problem and permanently close the gap of prejudice in the system. As such, the following cases can successfully be averted by game companies that embrace Cartesi’s initiative.

  • RunTime Control

When the Sony Playstation Network went down earlier this month, millions of Sony PlayStation fans were greeted with error messages that stopped them from enjoying online capabilities. Developers, publishers, or outside attacks such as DDoS attacks can theoretically shut down centralized games at any time, from anywhere.

Players currently have very little control over what happens to their prized in-game items or game saves, which they may have labored over for hours to obtain – if a game shuts down or goes offline for an extended period, they must simply sit on their hands and wait for the servers to return online.

Decentralized game models, on the other hand, can run independently and are unstoppable, requiring no server maintenance or backups. Because there are no centralized servers, damage or outages at one place simply cause power to be shifted to another, ensuring that players have access to the game twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Gaming Transparency

Transparency has hitherto been a scarce commodity in the sector. We’ve all cheated at some point in our lives, but in the world of internet gaming, fair play is a major issue. The stakes are huge, and coordinated cheating has become a major problem in the gaming business in recent years, with gaming tournaments often awarding millions of dollars in prizes to the world’s finest gamers.

Client-server and peer-to-peer communication mechanisms are used in the majority of centralized online games. Both of these designs are vulnerable to manipulation and can be rigged by players using cheat codes, resulting in a negative influence on gamers’ experiences all around the world while also creating a significant problem for game developers and publishers. If cheating continues to be an issue, players who respect the rules may grow tired of bad actors and migrate to other platforms, resulting in fewer game traffic and lower corporate revenues.

Games hosted on blockchain systems are nearly impossible to hack due to their distributed nature, as they run on distributed servers. Games can be updated and cheats can disrupt and spoil gamers’ experiences in centralized models; with blockchain-based games, alteration of game mechanics can only be carried out if a network of voters rules in favor of the change, assuring fairness.

The capacity of blockchain technology and smart contracts to make cheating impossible, with verifiable data etched into the blockchain and uneditable forever, is becoming increasingly crucial as the stakes in gaming rise. When attempting to verify player credentials and in-game actions, this might be extremely useful. Provably fair gameplay is becoming more vital, and it’s what the professional gaming industry, in particular, needs to keep developing.

  • Gaming Security

Several recent occurrences have demonstrated how harmful it may be to keep data from gaming platforms or several other sectors in one centralized hub. The recent fire outbreak that took down twenty-five EU servers is a perfect example. About 3.6 million websites across 464,000 different domains were lost to that incident. 

However, fires aren’t the only thing that can harm centralized systems. Exploits and hacks have become more widespread in the gaming sector in recent years, with even the most well-known game developers and publishers being attacked. Critical weaknesses in a core networking library supporting Valve’s online gaming capabilities were uncovered last year, potentially allowing hackers to remotely crash games and possibly take control of third-party game servers.

Over the years, hackers have been able to obtain the personal information of many gamers, with major games like CS: GO falling victim to similar attacks (thankfully the most recent was perpetrated by a white-hat hacking group Secret Club and highlighted exploits that have now been addressed). Hackers can steal passwords, banking information, and more if they have complete control over the user’s PC.

This is why the Cartesi initiative is crucial. Developers that create decentralized games on blockchain platforms can vastly enhance (and, in some cases, eliminate) vulnerabilities seen in current centralized gaming systems. Even if a hacker manages to acquire access to one or a few of the blockchain validator nodes, the system remains resilient since the majority of validators can preserve the right history and state of the game.


Cartesi Texas HODL’em is the world’s first fully decentralized poker game based on the Ethereum blockchain, and it is a major step forward for blockchain applications in general. Furthermore, in terms of the gaming industry, the suggested architecture allows for the rapid development of a wide range of decentralized turn-based games, ranging from chess to sophisticated war strategy games, frequently without the need to write a single line of Solidity code. This demonstrates Cartesi’s ability to bridge the gap between blockchain development and real-world applications, allowing decentralization to reach its full potential.

For more information about the Cartesi project, you can check out the links below:

Cartesi Website: 





Telegram Community:

Telegram Announcements:

Discord (Development Community):



This article is written by Helen IMAH – Cartesi Nigeria Ambassador

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