I have to be one of the worst poker players around and if you ask any of my friends they will tell you I can’t bluff to save my life, but since getting my mitts on Full House Poker I seem to have been making an awful lot of money…virtual money but it’s still pretty exciting! I know everyone loves to win some money but is virtual money enough to make you shell out 800 MSP for a poker game? Let’s find out!
There are a number of popular titles available on the Xbox Live Marketplace that allow your avatar to get lost in another world and Full House Poker is next in line to make sure your avatar doesn’t get bored of just standing next to your Gamerscore. After making sure your avatar is looking his or her best it’s time to get your bluff on and choose a mode. The two main modes to choose from are Standard Match and Tournament, each can be played in both single player and multiplayer, ranked or casual. Aside from these there are Pro Takedowns, which has you playing one on one against a pro computer player and there are Texas Heat matches, which are scheduled matches you can take part in to earn extra experience points in order to rank up and earn more credits to take part in higher stake games.
The best place to start would be with a regular single player game which has a number of different settings such as betting limit, buy-in, turn timers and how many people you will be playing with. After this you can customise your venue, deck, chairs and tables, choose a title and/or choose a custom in-game only avatar costume. These settings are available before the beginning of every type of game mode in Full House Poker so you can mix it up and have different games quite regularly. Your first game will teach you how to play the game by showing you videos of the different features in different modes and even for a beginner like myself was very easy to get to grips with.
Controlling the game is very easy and feels comfortable throughout. You can use the right analog stick to get a different view point of the table either from the top, behind your avatar, the dealer or your chosen rival. The left analog stick is used for making all the choices in the game and then press the A button to confirm, while the B button cancels any choices you may have made before it is your turn. If you hold down the left trigger while making a choice your avatar can hesitate while taking his or her go but a firm hold of the right trigger will turn your avatar in to a confident poker player who is on the sure road to winning. These actions are essential to figuring out whether or not your opponents are making the right choices and once mastered can allow you to win some big money.
Earning more money only allows you to enter higher staked games but earning experience points will start rewarding you with a load of fun stuff. There are fifty ranks in total and each time you rank up you will gain new venues, decks, table covers, chairs and the occasional outfit which can also be unlocked by defeating the pro players in Pro Takedown. Titles are unlocked by meeting certain conditions such as winning by going all in or with a royal flush and allow you to represent yourself as such things as ‘The Noob’ and ‘Royal Pain’ – fun!
The graphics are there to compliment the avatars and they work really well. The venues that you play in are really well designed and the attention to detail in the background is quite nice considering you spend all of your time sitting at the table. The music is relaxing but doesn’t seem to change throughout, though this isn’t really an issue as the cheering and gasps of the other players are quite loud and you only hear clips of music every now and then. The whole game comes over as polished in design and is a very enjoyable experience.
Of course, if you are interested in poker this game will certainly interest you, but for those of you like myself who have hardly played poker and don’t understand the rules, I can assure you this is a whole lot of fun! Although my experience of multiplayer was very limited due to the lack of players online at the moment. I’m quite sure it will be a fun game to play with your mates and is worth the 800 MSP.