Whatever you do don't confuse this game with the glut of poker games available for the PS2 and the Xbox. Although it appears to have the right title this is World Poker Championship and not World Championship Poker. That may not seem like much of a difference but there's more to this than just the rearrangement of one word.

This is hands down one of the worst poker games of the bunch, and considering that you can play online poker for free, the twenty dollar price tag is just a cold slap in the face.

I'm not going to go on about how hip and popular poker is now. I was playing poker when poker wasn't cool. That's not to say I'm any better at it than anyone else because it all boils down to the luck of the draw. You can bluff and you may be able to read other players' tells but if you don't get the right cards, you're going to lose. That's all there is to it. I don't care what anyone says, if you don't have some great hands you're not going to win the tournament. There are too many aggressive players out there now that think nothing of risking it all (going all-in) on a pair of threes. But you won't come across those kinds of players in World Poker Championship. The AI is so unintelligent that if these were real people you'd be a millionaire in a couple of days.

The main problem with WPC is that it's a piece of $#!+. Not only can you read the AI like a teleprompter but there's no online play should you (and believe me you will) crave some human interaction. You can play online poker for free - with real players - and you don't have to use real money. This game doesn't even make a decent tutorial.

At least there's no storyline. That would be the icing on the crap cake. The premise is to get in a game with a bunch of seedy looking freaks with supposedly hilarious names and win enough money to find another game with larger stakes and more seedy looking asses.

Games consist of 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Draw, Omaha Hold 'Em and the big daddy of them all, No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. In Texas Hold 'Em the AI always bets big before the flop and folds if it doesn't have anything good. In all of the other games it's very easy to tell what the AI has. It will bet big when it's got something and check when it's not confident. Regardless of your style of play, the AI never seems able to figure you out. I don't think it even cares.

In 5-card draw the interface doesn't tell you how many cards a player might draw. Without knowing how many cards your opponent threw away you can't even begin to implement a strategy. For instance, if your opponent threw away all five cards you would know he or she has nothing. If they only threw away one card they might have two pairs or are working on a flush or a straight. If they don't throw any cards away then they're either bluffing or you better look out. To make matters worse, you get to see all the cards at the end of the round. Not that it really matters in this game but that's just not the way things happen in real life. Keeping your hand a secret makes you a mysterious force and can be advantageous to your style of play. It should be up to you if you want to show your cards or not.

Can you believe the game actually included LAN multi-player? As if hooking another computer up is easier than just getting out a real deck of cards. If that's not the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen than I guess it has to be seeing Cole eat take-out chili with only a straw when he though no one was looking.

There are 20 different characters. They don't move. They just sit at the table and look stupid. I wonder if these are self-portraits of the developers? The announcers don't have much too say but at least they say it flamboyantly. It's too bad they also say it repetitively. There's not much for music with the exception of some crappy tinkle tunes that would be more appropriate on the GBA than a two thousand dollar PC. The only sound that is satisfying to the ear is the sound of the disk being ejected from the tower.

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System: PC
Dev: ImaginEngine
Pub: ValuSoft
Release: March 2005
Players: 1 - ?
Review by Fenix