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Online Poker News Archives - August 28, 2005

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August 28, 2005

World Series of Poker Hands-On Xbox

Author: Dale Nardozzi - "Legba"

Poker, poker, poker. Is there anything else on TV anymore? We’re fans of playing Hold ‘Em when we have the time, but what’s up with every channel - even the religious zealot cable access station - having some type of poker show?

Ok, so one more poker show means one less terrible reality show to drudge through, but we digress. The popularity of poker online, in gambling-legal states, and on television has spilled into the gaming arena of course. We’re starting to lose track of the casino/hold ‘Em/poker games either previously released on or soon to be coming to the Xbox, which means the market should be building an ark in the near future.

It’s important to have some clout as this flood hits, for being a no-name title will surely make the probability of being washed away much higher. No worries for Activision and Left Field Productions then, whose soon-to-be-released World Series of Poker has perhaps the most storied and recognizable franchise behind their effort. As we all know, high-profile backing won’t fully make a title, but it sure can’t hurt in this cut throat card game market. We got our hands on the tables to see if World Series of Poker has the goods to back up its namesake. Post blinds people…

Save me a seat

The World Series of Poker is the grand daddy of all poker events, and includes table games such as Texas Hold ‘Em, 7 Card Stud, Omaha, and Razz. Of course, it’s the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em game, popularized most likely by the Hollywood flick Rounders, which has sent this sport through the roof and winning payouts for the 2005 WSOP in excess of seven million dollars! The WSOP has been around for quite some time, but things such as the World Poker Tour, celebrity tournaments, off-shore internet casinos, and cable TV have all thrust the WSOP well into the limelight. Now everyone thinks that they know what it takes to win, or, at least feels like they have a shot to win…and they do. Many amateurs look at internet poker as a means of sharpening their skills, and actually, many of the recent tour and big event winners have been straight from a broadband connection. Well, consider World Series of Poker yet another way for poker players to sharpen their skills for the real deal. Sure, World Series of Poker can be just a means of passing the time, but we suspect those playing this one (especially online) are practicing for something much, much bigger; say, seven million times bigger?

In World Series of Poker, you’ll be faced with the best possible reproduction of the actual Word Series event rounds, and even be able to play with a full table (nine) of Xbox Live opponents. While Xbox’ers won’t get the cool EyeToy feature for tells - those mannerisms which give away if an opponent is bluffing or not - we do have the ability to create our own poker face and trigger certain looks through a created player. Utilizing the same technology as in the Tony Hawk series, World Series of Poker features an ultra-deep create-a-gambler, complete with a vast array of basic human forms and features, and a slew of wardrobe options. This system ensures that your online character will be totally unique and better representative of the vast array of characters which enter the WSOP every year.

Gamers will have full usage of their Xbox Live Communicator online, which will end up being used as a tell system in itself. Strong players are good enough to pick up slight variances in tone when someone speaks, or pick up on nervous energy when a chump is jibber-jabbering away. Expect a large amount of jawing during online matches in World Series of Poker, and plan on the strong players to actually use these “conversations” to their advantage, and not just to let off some steam. The more competent players will most likely be the ones collecting all of the “Reward Chips” in World Series of Poker, which are basically used as payment for landmark play. Those with enough of these chips will be invited to private tournaments online, placing even more emphasis on the elimination-style, multi-table format which has made the WSOP so popular for all these years. Those who may not have what it takes for the secret games can still track their progression and statistics online with the online leaderboard system in World Series of Poker.

We had fun playing World Series of Poker, especially since most of us watch and someday dream of playing in the WSOP. When you boil it down, a poker game with specific rules doesn’t change drastically from title to title. It’s in the details where one title separates itself from another. The advantage here is that Activision’s/Left Field’s game is completely backed by the WSOP, so there are many cool factors which are included in with the typical table rules. For instance, the real-deal WSOP announcer Lon McEachem does all the calls, and most all cam angles and set designs have been plucked directly from the broadcasts. You’ll also notice that many of the stars of the WSOP have endorsed World Series of Poker, adding additional ambiance to the production. The star of the show is Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and there are many more that have signed on to this project as well.

In a crowded sea of poker titles, it looks as though World Series of Poker has a good chance of navigating the straight (oh my…bad pun) and making it through the river (even worse). Keep a keen eye on for the latest news on World Series of Poker, which is slated for a September 13th release.


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