XBOX REVIEW: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POKER

World Championship Poker is the latest craze around. TV Stations are
carrying the event and even "A" list Celebrities are getting in on the
action. Of course, I am almost certain that the professional poker players really do not like all the celebrities joining in. You see the world of poker is an exclusive club. You need to earn your way in by your skills and by making a name for yourself by the way you play the game not just because you're well known and want exposure. Granted, a few celebrities are very good poker players and are playing because they enjoy the game. However, it is still hard to see the sport becoming so open to anyone who has the money to enter.

Now if the thought of sitting offline or online and playing cards sounds boring, this one is not for you. Poker is a game of skill and a game of knowing how act at the table. Time almost stands still and at times the game can be a little boring early on. If you have an interest in poker and you have Xbox Live, you will certainly get more out
of this budget title than someone who only plays it offline.

WCP has a decent create-a-player option and you could spend over an hour setting up your player's looks. Why you would want to do this is another question all it's own. As impressive as this option is, they could have cut on the time spent fine tuning this feature and spent more time on other areas of the game. The game does look decent though. The tournaments are held in some interesting places. Every place has a theme and its own background noises and music. They added some nice visuals yet it could have used more. Even though this is a card game, graphics help make the game hold your interests. You will also need to adjust the music and sound to your own personal taste. Poker players are funny. Some do not want to hear anything but the shuffling of the cards and the chips or the words bet, call, raise or fold. Others like distractions and will use this to their advantage. Now this is just a card game. No other gambling is offered. It is a challenge and they added a tutorial to learn the finer points of each game or variation of each one. The tutorial ranges from five-card draw to the Texas hold 'em. They also included a "Hand Advisor". By hitting the black button you will see your hand, the best possibilities and a little info. It really is not going to advise you on what to do or how to bet.

WCP is for those who enjoy poker plain and simple! It will take hours beating each table and earning more tournaments to play in. You will need to sit through some small games that will play out at a snail's pace. Once you get into the bigger money games the action picks up and so will the competition. The AI Players on the offline modes are not easy to read which makes it harder to know if they are bluffing. The online mode is where the game really shines, however, no matter your skills at the game; you will need to play the game offline to build up your cash. You do start off with a thousand dollars. Just be careful not to blow it. If you want to go online, it's simple to join a game or create your own. This part was well designed. Your biggest problem may be finding players to join. After all, the game is only going to appeal to those who enjoy playing cards. You can talk and play just like in a real game of poker. You may want to feel out the players first though. Some like to shoot the breeze and have fun while others just want to play and let their skills do the talking for them.

For $19.99 this is a great game for any poker fan no matter their skill level. For those who want to see what its like, I would suggest a rental for a few days and see if its your sort of game. Poker offers excitement and a rush yet; it is a far different type.

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System: PS2
Dev: Crave
Pub: Crave
Released: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - Multi-Online
Review by Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.0
ONLINE
4.0