Developer of Poker Deckbuilder Doesn't Play Poker

Balatro is based on another card game and inspired by a slot machine roguelike.

Balatro is described as a poker roguelike on Steam, but it's not exactly true as it turned out. Moreover, its developer LocalThunk doesn't play poker at all. Despite that, the deckbuilding game has been attracting new audiences the whole week since its release.

"It's funny, I don't play poker at all," LocalThunk told PC Gamer. Truly, what a bizarre fact for a game that gives you 52 cards, typical poker combinations, and a variety of Jokers who can make your games chaotic and unpredictable. However, Balatro is actually based on big two, a card game popular in Asia which uses poker hands but has different rules: "You play them out of your hand of eight or 13 cards or something," said LocalThunk.

"I love the concept of Luck Be A Landlord, a roguelike that doesn't have an enemy, and you're just trying to get a really high score."

Image credit: LocalThunk

So why is Balatro described as a poker game? It's simple, really. This gives players an idea of what they're going to do, and the game gets some extra attention from those who love poker. "I could use the terminology in poker, I could use some of the visuals like blinds and antes and chips, and stuff like that, as a way to kind of make the whole thing feel cohesive," LocalThunk said. "But I don't play poker. I don't really care very much about poker." 

But that's not it. Apparently, LocalThunk doesn't play games much in general. This is partly why Balatro doesn't throw around fancy terminology as its creator is turned off even by something like HP, poison damage, and experience.

"They're very gamer-y terms, and I don't play games a ton. So, those things to me, they feel like they're adding so many layers of complexity. When I made my game, I wanted to make it so there's no hit points, there's no damage, you're not attacking something. It's almost like solitaire."

It's surprising to hear because Balatro can't be called simple, it has its mechanics and many Jokers that make the game relatively complicated so you can get your millions and billions. "I'm very shocked when that happens because I'm not very good at this game," LocalThunk shared yet another shocking piece of information. "I do get surprised when people are able to do stuff like that because I can't."

Image credit: LocalThunk

Balatro is an interesting phenomenon: a poker game not based on poker created by a developer who's not good at it and doesn't even play much.

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