Wednesday, December 22, 2004

That Poker Addiction

I think just about everyone and their mom knows that poker has gotten huge over the last year or two, especially the game of Texas Hold 'em. I am one of those thronging masses now addicted to the game. I've played the ocassional tournament with the guys from college and watched the world series of poker a few times (as well as rolled my eyes at the celebrity version of this show). I like playing it, and I don't get to as much as I'd like to.

Well, that is until I picked up the World Championship Poker game for Xbox this weekend. I haven't played the single player version of the game yet, but I've put in a good little chunk of time playing it on Live against other players and I must say it is a great time.

I thought for sure that I'd run into a bunch of douchebombers like most online games are full of, but so far I've only played against decent people that actually know how to play poker. There haven't been any lameass kids playing that simply go all-in on every hand or raise the bet considerably without seeing the flop just to be annoying. No, pretty much everyone has been a good and decent player.

Playing poker in a setting where you're not face to face with your opponents could be a drawback, and I thought it might really detract from the game, but since you can chat away with the other players using the mic that comes with Live, it makes it seem more personal, even when your opponents might be states away.

The pace of most games is pretty quick as well. You aren't usually stuck sitting and waiting for someone to decide if they should check or bet. Since you aren't staring down your competition, there's no real need to drag out the betting (and if you do, it's a good way to get kicked from a room).

There's also an overall leaderboard that keeps track of your poker playing record, as well as a personal leaderboard where you can check your standings just against your friends which is always fun for bragging rights.

Now there are a couple of downsides to the game. First, the player models, while customizable, are pretty ugly for being on the Xbox. Second, the Optimatch server browser will sometimes list games that have already started as open, which can get annoying when you run into a couple of those closed games in a row when trying to get in. Lastly, I wish there were more players playing this game online, but as it is there is usually at least 15-20 tables open at any time to get in on and if you create your own, you should get enough players to trickle in within a few minutes.

All in all, for $20 or less this game is likely to tide over any poker player and is a blast playing online. It gets my recommendation! If you want to add me as a friend or message me to play anything over Live, my gamertag is rmgebhardt. Now click the image below, buy this game, and come play!

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