This simple card game will reveal your true skills

BY TONY SCHJØNNING

Equal opportunity. Mads Elholm, former supreme tennis player and passionate card player invented a new card game, BOOST22. He loves playing poker – but he’s craved a quick card game that’s easy to learn and offers equal opportunity to win, cash on hand aside. Mads tells the story of how he invented the brand new card game, and he unveils his best game advice. Also, you’ll get a peek into the future of the strangely simple and long-awaited global contender to poker that will reveal your true skills as a card player.

It’s simple, you say. Where’s the challenge?
Yes, it’s easy to learn, and the rules are simple. Your challenge, if you want to win, is to bring your true card skills to the table, game after game – you can’t rely on luck, a stack of chips or the depth of your real-money pockets. There’s no playing tight or folding all night. You start on equal terms in every game – so, your skills, your mental presence in the moment and ability to read the game are key to winning in BOOST22.

As a player, you have a high degree of control of your own game, as opposed to, say slot machines. You could start out with an inferior hand, get really far behind, but manage to get back into the game and end up winning it. That’s the essence of BOOST22; it’s easy to learn and challenging to play. I think that’s why players are loving the game.

Can one become a skilled BOOST22-player?
Yes, definitely. It’s like with Mousel, the Danish card game. If you play your cards right, respect the game, and don’t let yourself be distracted by the adrenalin rush of ranking, prizes and whatnot – you win.

Do you have some advice you can share?
I do. However, I encourage players to find their own style and keep an open mind to other ways of playing. Also, keep looking for strategies, tactics and tricks – even though I’ve played a lot of games, I probably haven’t discovered it all.

My advice is to learn from every game. After you’ve played a game, take a moment to reflect on what just happened. Be aware of your tactic; are you playing defensive or offensive? Consider your own position; are you last player, for example? Think tactical when you swap your cards – aim for more cards of the ones you already have. Experiment; try to play several cards at once. Remember that the obvious move is not always the winning move; three of a kind is usually perfect, but sometimes you’re better off swapping them. And remember; once in a while, the cards will play themselves and leave you with no chance of winning. However, remember that it’s mostly about skill and that you can improve yourself with every game you play.

Do playing tennis and playing cards relate?
Yes, the competitive nature of it, and having to face your opponents alone. Also, in tennis, your skills matter more than luck – which also goes for some card games more than others. I prefer skill-based games because I like to control my chance of winning myself.

So, you invented the game. How?
First of all, I’m a very competitive guy. I grew up right next to a racing track and close to the local gambling joint. My friends and I hung out there when we were kids, played games, made bets and competed in every way we could. So my interest in games and love for competing started very early on.

Several years later, I’m riding the train with a good friend of mine from the old gambling joint days. We’re playing cards, our own invention, partly inspired by the old Cucumber game, and a mixture of creativity and ideas from myself and my friends.

We would always play to decide who would pay for the cab to town on a night out. It was a quick and simple game but challenging at the same time – if a game doesn’t challenge me, I quickly lose interest.

As the train was riding along, and we stopped playing cards, we started talking about poker. How we’ve been playing it for years and love playing it. About our frustration with the hassle of setting it up, the green carpet and poker chips. The length and complexity of the game. Sometimes you just want to play a quick game of cards, to have fun, to pass the time or to make a bet, like us.

Some years after, I started to play around with the mechanics of our own game. I felt an urge to take it a step further. I’ve been gambling online a lot, so I began trying to add some of my favourite features from that scene to see how it would work. That was the beginning.

How did it become digital?
I discussed the possibility of developing the game into something real with a family member, who’s an experienced entrepreneur and now a partner in the company. We started talking to some old friends of mine that have some serious experience with card games. They told us: “Don’t turn it into another poker-like game – it’s stagnating. It’s complex, time-consuming and the entry barriers are high. People are reluctant to play because they expect to lose their money.” We also went to a conference in London and talked to card game experts. They were sure that an alternative to poker would arise at some point – a new card game, where you could play against others for money.

We knew we had a unique game on our hands – a game that would satisfy the needs of a broader card-loving audience, quick, easy to learn but challenging, so we went ahead and started developing.

I’m a player. What does the future hold for me?
I love this game, and I want to bring it to as many players as possible. I envision all players from around the world, no matter who you are or what you are, having fun competing on equal terms against each other for the amount of money they want to bet, small or large, in BOOST22

October 3, 2019