For the serious poker player, online poker is the game to go to. A player can get the action of the casino online in their own home. For a serious player, games that have come out for the computer or other gaming system, such as the XBox or the PlayStation, have been seriously lacking. You can place the latest game out, World Championship Poker, in that category.
World Championship Poker, from Crave Entertainment, has been billed as "bringing the fast paced action of poker to video games." While it is decently priced, at $19.99, it is less than a desirable game to have. From the start of my play on it, I found myself wanting to have the hours back that I had spent playing it.
First off, the graphics are of a very low quality. For the state of video games now, you would expect a near life-like experience, from the presentation of your opponents to the surroundings. All were lacking to a great degree. The players looked almost like they were cut from cardboard, with very little range of movement and no facial displays of emotion. Their eyes reminded me of something you would see in "Dawn Of The Dead", a zombie-like stare that never changed. The surroundings could be changed between different setups, but none stood out as anything that was interesting.
Secondly, the display of the cards was quite lacking. When involved in a hand, the board is displayed in a tiny corner on the left of the television screen, so small that you found yourself trying to discern whether there were three to the flush on the board or not. There was no commentary on what cards were there other than for the animated dealer to announce "the flop...the turn...the river."
Finally, the audio was horrendous and the artificial intelligence (AI) was tremendously weak. On my particular game, the dealer's review of the board and announcement of the hand winner kept cutting in and out, as well as the background music, which I was happy to learn you could actually shut off. The cards and hands the computer players played had you sitting there saying "What the...," although sometimes you have that online too!
There were a couple of good points. While the focus of the game is on Texas Hold 'Em, there are other games offered, such as Stud and Pineapple, for those who like the Pineapple format. And the career mode is a nice touch, allowing you to build your own player and try to go to the top of the poker world. You are also able to play it through the live components of both the XBox or the PlayStation, but I believe that if you wanted to play with other people, you would already be online or at the casino doing such.
There is supposed to be a new game for the home gaming system coming from Daniel Negreanu, "STACKED," and we can only hope that it will be a tremendous leap over this abysmal display. While the occasional player and part-time fan might like to have the game, the true player will bypass "World Championship Poker".
If you would prefer not to play computer games but rather online poker, see our Online Poker Room directory to determine what online poker room is the best for you!