Once the round begins, you are all dealt your initial two cards and then the betting opens with traditional Texas Hold'em rules. This is when the problems really start. There is no ability to set any "house" rules. Blinds are arbitrary, and you have no control over when they are raised. Betting is also cumbersome with a slide rule affair and no easy all-in option or tiered betting structure. You check, call, bet, or raise depending on the current status, and because of how floaty the mouse is, performing some of these functions is almost painful.
Further troubles are added to the process with the creative element of the branded characters. At the start of every round, the players fondle their cards, hem and haw, and occasionally have side conversations. Sometimes these force pauses, other times they do not impede play. The characters look great and are voiced quite well, expect for Tycho who just doesn't sound right, but the nature of their dialogue adds a huge flaw to the game – because the dialogue is a constant part of the experience, it can get quite annoying quickly, not just because of the pauses in gameplay, but also because the dialogue loops after a while. Hearing Sam describe a Time Travel adventure was great the first time, not the second or third; Tycho quipping over and over about checks not being cool unless you are in fact a Czech is annoying immediately.
The other problem is progression: after I won a couple of matches I realized I would never, ever play the game again. The game is a poker simulation and that is it. This being a Telltale game, I was hoping for some basic story mode, some link to the games the other characters are from, anything. Instead all you get are potential unlocks for Team Fortress 2 and new tables, decks, and art. The game itself doesn’t change, you still start with $10,000, you play till you are the sole winner, and then you do it all over again hearing the same dialogue once again.