Hold 'Em is the grip you'll have on your PSP by the
time you've lost all your coin. by
25, 2006 - There's
no need for me to comment on how popular poker is
right now. Where else can an average Joe, with a little
bit of skill and a little bit of luck, have a real
shot at winning millions of dollars? I'm surprised
it took as long as it did to become mainstream.
to the popularity of poker, there are numerous games
available for virtually every gaming system including
free online poker sites where you can play against
other online gamers without using real money. The
game of poker can be so stimulating that you can play
it for years without resorting to using real money,
but the professionals know that once you cultivate
and hone your skills to a certain degree, the only
true motivator is money. As a casual gambler, I would
highly recommend that you learn how to play poker
without using real money before you decide to head
to Vegas. This brings me to the glut of internet poker
sites where you can play for free and also receive
instruction and tips from professionals, not to mention
all of the tips you can pick up from watching the
numerous tournaments played on TV. So how can one
justify spending good money on a handheld poker game?
For one thing, you can't drag your PC everywhere and
the fact that this version includes online play gives
you the best of all worlds.
you begin, you have to choose a character. There is
plenty of customizing options available such as facial
features, body types, hair and outfits. Although you
may wind up with tons of virtual cash, you can't just
go out and purchase new clothes. You have to earn
them through challenges such as getting a really great
hand or making a successful bluff. You'll earn special
chips by pulling these challenges off which only really
serves to maintain your connection with the fact that
you're playing a videogame.
watched a lot of hours of poker in the last few years
and I don't recognize any of these licensed players
with the exception of the man they call the Unabomber.
Where is Daniel Negranu? Moneymaker? Helmuth? Annie
Duke? Or what's-his-name, the fat nerd with the 3D
glasses? It's not that you get to see a lot of these
pros in the game but if you progress through to the
final tables in the tournament mode that's where you'll
encounter some of these mysterious card sharps.
call them mysterious because the pros are the only
ones that don't have a tell feature ascribed to them.
Other players have a stat system that gives you vital
information about their methods of play. Too vital,
in fact, it's almost a dead giveaway. A person suffering
from Turrets wouldn't give away more tells about the
cards they are holding. This feature is exclusive
to the PSP and it's not a great selling point by any
stretch. Even beginners should steer clear of relying
on this feature. It's akin to having psychic powers.
really matters most is the gameplay. I'm not saying
this is the best virtual poker game I've played but
it's certainly one of the better ones. In the Career
mode, the AI does a great job of replicating the conservative
atmosphere where bluffs are rare and there's more
checking than raising in the first part of the tournament.
The only thing missing is the overly aggressive 22-year
old, internet poker player that goes "all in"
every time he gets a pair or two face cards.
AI will stun, shock, surprise, anger and disgust you.
While it's easy to spot the conservative pattern at
the beginning of the game, things become a lot more
randomized during the second half. The AI will have
a great hand and continue to check making you believe
he's got nothing. I encountered some great bluffs,
especially when they raised their bets after the turn
where I could sense they were going for a flush or
a straight. It's times like this where I truly am
my own worst enemy often convincing myself of the
inadequacies of my own hand.
Career mode you will begin at one of several tables
and rise through the ranks to hopefully take your
place with the cream of the crop at the final table.
I'm not so convinced that the AI is any more intelligent
or aggressive at this level but it just seems less
predictable than usual and that makes for a good game.
enough the game doesn't have an ad hock mode. I guess
all you need is deck of cards for that. The online
mode has a few bugs in terms of getting connected
and temporarily freezes up when players enter or leave
a game. Everything else is smooth going and it's every
bit as fun as any poker game I've played online, except
that there's not much competition from these PSP greenhorns.
If only we were playing for real money
with most poker games World Poker Tour isn't much
to look at but it does look a sight better than the
PS2 version. There is more attention to detail with
good representations of real-world casinos. The animation
is terrible and the commentary is repetitive, but
what else is new? It does look and sound like a budget
title but it's not budget-priced. There are a number
of other poker variations included and while they
might be a nice diversion, aren't we all here for
the Texas Hold 'Em?
World Poker Tour Presentation - Including real WPT
venues such as Commerce Casino and the Aviation
Club, broadcast style overlays and commentary featuring
Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten
Professional Players - Compete against the virtual
equivalents of Antonio "the Magician"
Esfandiari, Erick Lindgren, Evelyn Ng, Lyle Berman,
Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi, and Phil
"Unabomber" Laak, that play each situation
just like their real-life counterparts.
Online Action - Go "all in" against players
across the country with WPT's robust online functionality.
Compete in tournaments, set up poker nights with
your friends, manage buddy lists, and chat.
the Cards - Improve your poker playing skills by
utilizing in-game tutorials and an in-depth stat
tracking system that outlines your playing tendencies
in numerous situations.
Your Mark - Create a player, launch a career, and
strive to become a WPT World Champion as you build
your character's experience and boost your career
earnings by competing in multiple game modes including
Quick Play, Satellite Tour Play and WPT Season Play.
Flaunt your success by using your earnings to deck
out your player with hundreds of accessories.
AI System - Hone your game and play against AI that
will learn how you play poker at the table and adjust
to your unique style of play just like real players.
Learn to play and bluff your way through huge tournaments
just like the pros on the World Poker Tour.
Poker Variations - Create custom poker games by
setting rules and limits with the poker game editor,
or choose from 14 different community poker games
including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Pineapple, Double
Flop Hold'em, Super Hold'em, Billabong, Tahoe and