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KOTHpoker is a site dedicated to heads up (1-on-1) poker.

Game Play

King Of The Hill (KOTH) poker is a mobile and online poker platform dedicated to heads up (1-on-1) poker. There are many different types of games in the online poker world, such as Texas Hold'em, Stud, Omaha, and Lowball which are offered in 2, 4, 6 or 9 player tables. Most sites simply offer them all. Rather than spreading out our focus by offering every single one, we want to devote our effort and creativity into providing innovative forms of our passion- heads up poker.

**Industry insight: Heads Up (HU) has been neglected in recent years. Check out Zach's story to learn more.*

The KOTHpoker iPhone app is structured in an arcade-style, “step tournament” format. It's entirely free- but you must use your daily tokens wisely! When you log into the app, you’re paired randomly with another opponent in a game of heads up poker. The winner moves onto the next level, but the loser must restart at level 1. The app is structured similar to an arcade game- you keep playing until you lose.

  • Players are given a certain number of tokens each day, equal to their skill level, and to play costs one token. This restriction promotes competitive play- if we didn’t set a limit then there would be no incentive to compete at a high level! (additional tokens can be earned through unlocking achievements, beating opponents in the VIP club, or purchasing them in the app store)
  • The winner of a match is allowed to go on to the next level (no further tokens are required)
  • Losing a match forces you to restart at the first round
  • Skill level is determined by whatever your highest win streak is (this cannot decrease)

Level Upgrades

Leveling up is only possible if you achieve a longer streak than you have before. By increasing your level, you gain access to a number of features, which we are still updating and looking for suggestions from our Kickstarter funders!

Players able to achieve a 5-match win streak or higher will have access to the exclusive VIP room, where they can play an even more intense format of Heads Up poker. In this room, the toughest players enter “Sit and Go” tournaments, where they wager tokens against other players. Build your token bankroll while busting other players in the elite VIP room!

In addition, VIP players will have access to the private strategy discussion forum, where they can easily review and post hand histories or even entire matches for others to critique. This is the ultimate in improving your heads up strategies.

Eventually, we hope to add cash games to the list of exclusive features available only to VIP members. Players will be able to buy into cash games using their tokens.

High Scores

Notoriety is huge, and those able to achieve the longest win streaks should be recognized for their accomplishment. Our high score list will allow players to have a featured profile on the KOTHpoker website, and will consist of both the players with the highest level and the players with the most tokens.

How does our platform work?

The basis of our platform is the poker engine. Our engine is the driving force of our product: it's what creates, calculates and animates the interactions between players.  So as players use the app, it’s the engine that is receiving that interaction and telling the app how it should respond functionally and visually back to the users.

As the HEART of our product, our engine allows us to connect multiple devices such as iPhone, Android, and Web interfaces to the engine without having to recreate these functions, interactions, and calculations for each device.

To sum it up, the engine allows us to easily spread out KOTHpoker products across other devices, as well as quickly implement new poker app ideas (rather than starting from scratch with each additional product). We'll start with the iPhone application and add other devices as our funding increases!

The 1-on-1 legacy

In 1949, Las Vegas poker player Johnny Moss played Nick “the Greek” Dandolos in a legendary heads up poker match that lasted five months, both players only taking occasional breaks to sleep. On the final day, after losing over $2 million, Dandolos stood up and addressed Johnny Moss with the iconic resignation, “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go”. It was this match that inspired casino owner Benny Binion to create the World Series of Poker, which now rewards players with multi-million dollar first place prizes in dozens of events each summer in Las Vegas.

At the beginning of 2009, online poker superstar Tom Dwan offered to play anyone in a heads up poker match for any amount of money, even giving his opponents 3-to-1 odds on the match: “I’m making this heads-up challenge to the world. Anyone can accept. Four tables [simultaneously], minimum [stakes] of $200/$400, and I’ll put up $1.5 million to their $500,000. We play 50,000 hands minimum.” Thousands of poker enthusiasts spent their days following the action online, where Tom and his challengers won and lost millions with the click of a button.

Online poker giant PokerStars has regular Superstar Showdowns where Viktor Blom challenges any opponent willing to play him in a high stakes heads up match.

These matchups have been ingrained as the pinnacle of what the poker world is capable of, and have been an inspiration for us in creating KOTHpoker. Heads up poker is very popular in the biggest games, but why isn't it more widespread at the lower levels? We want everyone to feel the intensity of 1-on-1.


In the past few years, the heads up poker scene has become infested with players looking to play only the worst of opponents. This results in hundreds of games not starting, as each competitive player waits for a "fish". Of course these non-competitive players don't like to see that they are being preyed on. Now every heads up section looks like this:

We believe this is absurd, and have many innovative solutions to the problem, including a match-making format, as well as variations of "rush poker", where players face new opponents every few hands. Hundreds of players simply waiting for games is unacceptable, and it's clear that the current system is broken. Since other sites don't seem concerned with the problem, KOTHpoker has stepped in to make some changes! 

For more information, here's an in-depth background of heads up's history. 


1. Real Money?

KOTHpoker is entirely free- it is not a gambling website. Although we’d like to get into the real money market, current legislation issues make this impossible. We’re choosing to focus on cultivating a community of passionate heads up players by innovating the structure of the game, and providing ways for players to improve their abilities.

2. Where do the funds go?

The funds for our original goal of $50,000.00 go towards finishing our poker engine, further designs, iPhone application development, and a large amount of Top Ramen so we can continue eating (we might throw in some Cup O' Noodles to mix it up a bit).  The goal is to support the whole team as we continue our efforts in creating the KOTHpoker platform.

When we reach our initial goal, we’ll add more devices such as Android, iPad, Facebook, and a desktop version (which you'll see updated for in the stretch goals above). If our funders continue to support KOTHpoker above and beyond what we're asking, we'll put the money towards implementing two innovative projects on our poker engine that have been in the back of our minds for a while now. More information about these projects will be revealed once we reach the $25,000 and $50,000 marks!

Groupthink Labs LLC
At Groupthink Labs, also known as GTL, our goal is evolving life and enhancing technology.  We have a collective knowledge and experience in the tech space of over 40 years and have designed and developed web and mobile applications for startups, mid level companies and giants such as Google, Budweiser and AT&T.

Michael Sebastian, a co-founder at GTL, is an experienced designer of interactive applications, creative director and magician at making ideas and concepts successful realities.  Michael is in charge of guiding our team in making the KOTHpoker project a success- we call him the puppet master.

Jason Vargas is the other co-founder at GTL, a passionate entrepreneur with a love of bringing new and innovative ideas to reality. Jason has extensive training in sales, business development and communication. He's been trained in the ability to guide and lead both small and large groups of people to take action in the correct direction, or identify inefficiencies in the way a business operates. He has 10+ years in the tech industry, and brings a wealth of knowledge to the project and its successful delivery.

Zach Jiganti is the resident poker consultant for this project and the brain child of this concept.  Zach played high stakes online poker for years under the screen name 'zcj90' before the infamous Black Friday (April 15, 2010) shut down the American online poker industry.  During his time playing, Zach identified the problems in the way heads up games were being offered and saw how the structure online poker platforms had were causing the game to lose their popularity. After he wrote the KOTH petition and the sites didn't respond positively, we began working on KOTHpoker. 

James Womack is the lead developer and slayer of code for this project.  James lives, breathes and dreams mobile design & development. Although he has a diverse set of skills and experiences, his focus and expertise is in 1) developing native mobile applications, especially iOS and 2) developing modern server-side applications that use real-time technologies such as Websockets. He’s driven as an individual yet takes great satisfaction out of being an important part of a team/organization where he can use his knowledge and skills to lead others towards a clear goal. The most important principles of programming (and any system really, including an organization) in his mind are accountability, agility, modularity, rapid iteration & his favorite: DRY.

Kahra Martinez is our lead designer, the Michelangelo for this project.  With a BFA in painting and graphic design Kahra brings a sense of wonder into design, creating masterpieces and functional design to every project.  Being in the industry since 1998, she’s been responsible for creating designs for Google,, the PillowBook, PillowTalk, PillowFight applications, and much much more.


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Funding period

- (51 days)