Fast Company

Digital Dealers, Silicon Chips

Play online, where the stakes are lower.

Not so long ago, you could get good at poker only by losing as you learned. Now there's a cheaper way. Turbo Seven-Card Stud, a CD-ROM from Wilson Software, lets you populate your virtual poker table with customized "players." Some cyberopponents remember every card that's dealt; others are smart enough to know when you've paired up. The cards come at you as they would in a casino, but Turbo Stud does something that no flesh-and-blood dealer would ever do: It tells you whether you played your hand correctly.

Watching Turbo Stud in action at the legendary Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas, Herbie "The Hat" Lipson -- one of the store's sports-betting experts -- reports that he finished in the top 15% at this year's World Series of Poker tournament for media types. "And all my knowledge," adds Lipson as he pats the computer monitor, "came from here."

Coordinates: $89.95. Turbo Seven-Card Stud, Wilson Software, 800-735-4430, www.wilsonsoftware.com

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