gaming since 1997

World Series of Poker

Poker… what can a man say about a cardgame, and then even a game that is known to most people for getting the other sex to undress every so often.

Still there’s a lot more to say about Poker when it comes to computer games. Next to the often dubious “free” strip poker online sites, and the graphically horrible mobile java pker games (with or without nude pics – and yes, I’ve played quite a few) there are very little true poker videogames. And that’s a pitty!

Also not everyone is familiar with the different variations that exist inside the game. Most (and especially the aforementioned dubious cases) stick to the classic “five card draw” but have never heard of “Texas Hold’em”, “Omaha” (with variation “Hi/Lo”) or “Seven Card Stud” (also with “Hi/Lo” variation). I admit that I myself had never heard of these types except for Seven Card Stud.

In the United States, and to a lesser degree the United Kingdom, poker is a game of which you can view to the world championships on TV – not really a reference, everything can be watched on TV in the US – and even I have followed a game of “Speed Hold’em” (Texas Hold’em against the clock – 15 seconds to decide what you’ll do) during a night plagued by insomnia.

Activision has bought a license of WSOP and did an attempt to get this into a game, and to my surprise they’ve managed to do that pretty well. Not that I’m impressed by the graphics and sound of this game, everything looks a bit dated and repetitive, but I won’t take that into account in this review as it doesn’t really affect the gameplay.

There’s an extensive way to create your own card player, a bit sims-like. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can choose between a couple of pre-set types and later on you can also use the *COUGH* “big poker heroes” *COUGH* you’ve freed up.

You get different options to play, going from Quickplay to Career in singleplayer, and in multiplay you can play against others where you get the choice between all different types this game has to offer.

But let’s start with the beginning, singleplayer. Quick Play doesn’t really need an explanation, a “quick” game of cards… Career is where you’ll spend most of your time. The most fun part is that you start with 10.000 dollars that you can spend to your liking. Do be aware that you’ll have to get through a full year with this amount though!

More income can be generated by participating in different tournaments and each one has its own financial demands and earnings, based on the difficulty degree. If you’re out of cash, you can either skip a year and not bother with what you’ve lost – you again get $10.000 – or you restart your present career from day one.

Your opponent’s intelligence hasn’t been kept stupid consciously but they do make decisions that can be called strange to say the least. This of course helps in a game where bluffing sometimes brings in cash and this also goes in this game. Playing conservative – only gambling when you’re sure of winning – doesn’t help. You’ll more often rake in decent cash by taking risks and in the beginning you shouldn’t hope on too many winnings. Experience grows as you go along.

At a certain moment you’ll think you’re ready to face human opponents and then you’ve got the multiplayer option of which I expected a lot. Gamespy organises the servers and if you want to make name in the poker world you’ll have to make a profile (or add this game to your current one), but also without this hassle you can go online. You even have the possibility to open up a table yourself, with of course a game of your choice, minimum money, etc. If you don’t feel like waiting for long you can go check out other tables for a free seat.

So, AlterEgo online and ready to play with his feet under the table… just to wait on the owner of the place to start the game. Some people really need endless patience but I’m not like them! I won’t go waiting online… unfortunately this wasn’t an exception! On two nights, I’ve played exactly 0 – yes, you read that correct: ZERO – games. Or how the most attractive feature of a game can be killed. Maybe there are bot-driven tables, but I didn’t find them.

Maybe some good news for those who have endless patience, an Eye Toy and a USB headset: the eye toy can be used as webcam and USB chatting is also available.

The price of the game isn’t a problem: I saw it laying around a shop for 30 euros. Maybe this game will have people buying the game and playing it online, as that’s for me the biggest pro of this title!

Mediocre graphics and sub par repetitive sound in a great card game that can really be exciting – especially in singleplayer. Only too bad that multiplayer is more about patience than actual playing… For the price you really don’t need to let this one go! Nice extras that offer a bit more in the multiplayer part are of course an added plus for those that have an eye toy and usb headset.

Our Score:
related game: World Series of Poker
posted in: Activision, PS2, Reviews
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