My Adventures with Big Tony’s Pokerkard – Tear down, repair, troubleshooting, etc. (Fixed!)

All of the content on this page is aimed at helping owners troubleshoot, repair, and service their game.  If a legitimate request to remove any of the material posted here surfaces, I will honor the request.


Recently I picked up a Big Tony’s Pokerkard arcade video/gambling game/machine.  It does not boot all the way into the game, but the price was right, and I love poker.  I try and make several journeys each year to nearby casinos to play in the WSOP circuit events, etc.  Anyway – this will track my experiences in attempting to repair Big Tony’s Pokerkard.


USA Operation Manual:



Here are some images of the various components…

Top view
Front View
Top Raised
Touch Panel Underside
USB Security Dongle
PC Unit (Rear View)
PC Unit (Top View): ASUS P5N73-CM Motherboard
Nova Serial Card
Novamax T4 Rev 3
Seagate ST380815AS Hard Drive

Step 2:  Backup the Data & Hard Drive

So Big Tony’s PokerKard is running on Windows XP.  Pretty easy to get the data off that.  I attached the hard drive to my workstation and backed up the entire C: drive to a folder.  Next I made a CloneZilla image of the drive and “dd” image of the USB dongle so I always have an easy to restore backups.

  • Want to poke around or replace files on your game?  Use the “Files Only” link.
  • Want to write an image to a physical hard drive or USB dongle?  Grab the CloneZilla hard drive image and/or “dd” USB dongle image.

Big Tony’s PokerKard – Hard Drive CloneZilla image:  btpk_hard_drive_clonezilla

Big Tony’s PokerKard – Hard Drive Files Only:  btpk_hard_drive_files


Step 3:  USB Dongle Files & Image

The USB security dongle is reported as a Netac Technology Co., Ltd device (using lsusb).  It’s a 1GB USB key embedded into a plastic housing with black epoxy.  It has a single 1008MB NTFS partition with less than 3kb of (accessible) files.   I made a “dd” image of the USB dongle.

Big Tony’s PokerKard – USB Dongle “dd” Image: btpk_usb_dongle_dd

Big Tony’s PokerKard – USB Dongle Files Only: btpk_usb_dongle_files


Step 4:  CloneZilla and “dd” Image Restoration HowTo

This section has its own page.

If you’re going to use CloneZilla on the Big Tony’s PokerKard hardware, use the i686 version here:

CloneZilla i686 ISO (must be i686 edition as CPU in this game is not x64 compatible)


 Big Tony’s PokerKard – Working!

Many thanks to GetSlideWays on the forums for posting the BIOS settings.  Both of my PCs had dead CMOS batteries, and after making the recommended changes, Big Tony booted up into attract mode.  This game does take a long time to boot.   🙂


Step 5:  BIOS Settings

To get into the game’s BIOS, have a USB keyboard connected to Big Tony’s PC, power it up, and press the Delete key a few times after the Express Gate screen passes.  If you aren’t sure what the state of your settings is, then navigate to the “Exit” menu and select “Load Setup Default.”  From there, proceed to making the changes below.


Legacy Diskette A:  Set to “Disabled” (Default = 3.5″ 1.44MB)

Plug and Play: Set to “Yes” (Default = No)

Parallel Port:  Set to “SPP” (Default = ECP)




Legacy Diskette Setting



Plug and Play OS Setting



Parallel Port Mode Selection



Parallel Port Mode = SPP



Save and Exit


YouTube Videos!

Power up through attract mode:


Single person game play (2 Hands, 47 offsuit, all in!):


Other Modifications:

All of the fans in this game are overly loud.  I replaced the stock power supply (bad fan bearing) with an EVGA 500W ATX power supply and replaced the stock Intel CPU cooler with a Thermaltake CL-P0497 Intel Heatsink with fan.  I’ll have to remove the motherboard to install this particular CPU fan, but that isn’t much work. 

I’m working on a mod for that crazy blower that cools the LCD electronics…it’s overkill, loud, and emits an obnoxious whine.


Pic of the new power supply and Thermaltake fan installed:



Notes of Interest:

My T4 USA edition has (3) versions of the main “sysmax” executable in the “C:\POKERKARD” folder.  The region 17 binaries attempt to initialize modem hardware that my USA editions doesn’t have.  Anyone know what region 17 is?  Europe?

  • = Nova Region 17, Software v1.08
  • sysmax.bak = Nova Region 17, Software v1.09
  • sysmax.exe = Nova Region 3, Software v1.16  (This is the USA edition executable)


To try the various executables:

  • Rename sysmax.exe to sysmax.original
  • Rename sysmax.bak or to sysmax.exe
  • Reboot the PC.


To go back to the original:

  • Rename sysmax.exe back to either or sysmax.bak
  • Rename sysmax.original to sysmax.exe
  • Reboot the PC.


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