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Balatro’s Rejected Names, Ranked

'Trial of the Fool' just doesn't have the same juice

Balatro. It's a great name for a video game about cards. "Balatro" was the Roman word for what we'd later call a jester, which not only ties wonderfully into poker's joker-heavy motif (Joker Poker!), but also sounds like a dusty old casino game only your uncle would know how to play.

Like all good names for a thing, though, Balatro didn't get there straight away. There was workshopping to do, alternatives to consider, and earlier today the game's creator LocalThunk shared the shortlist of names that were considered before Balatro emerged victorious.

In the long and storied tradition of taking some fun news and turning it into a video game website blog, I have decided to rank these rejected names:

1) Balatron
2) Hand of the Fool
3) Foolish Poker
4) Trial of the Joker
5) Fools Gauntlet
6) Joker Poker
7) Trial of the Fool
8) Rogue Poker
9) Balatronic Hold em
10) Fools Gambit
11) Fools Hold em
12) Hyperborean Hold 'em
13) Cartomancer's Hold 'em
14) Rogue Hold 'em

Balatron wins because it sounds like the coolest Decepticon ever. An old oil derrick that transforms into a 30-foot robot with a beard and cowboy hat that's voiced by Kenny Rogers.

The Hold 'ems come last because they suck. They would have made this GOTY contender sound like a mobile game that you only ever hear about in aggressive pop-up ads.

I'm glad Balatro won out, it was clearly the best option, for the reasons I stated earlier but also because it's just so fun to say. Both in your normal voice and in an exaggerated Italian accent while making hand gestures.

And just so you know I'm not making fun of the bad options, I know how hard it is to name something! Here's a screengrab of the document we shared while naming this website, whittled down to four options after we'd culled a bunch of excruciating video game-related terms like Mainline and Endgame (🤮).

"Please subscribe to Vestige"? Gah, no thank you.

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