carlthenimrod's Full House Poker (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Poker has never been so poker.

 Full House Poker is a solid Texas hold 'em poker video game that features avatars and shines in an online environment. The problem comes with the reliability of the online. With some patches to the online component Full House Poker would be a lot easier to recommend, but as it stands now it is a tough sell for anybody that isn't a dedicated poker junky.

All of the poker found contained within Full House Poker is of the Texas hold 'em style, so there isn't much variety. The single-player doesn't have much going for it. You can compete against bots for some experience points and poker chips. There are also some "Pro Takedowns" which are basically a one vs. one match-up with a random bot. The AI isn't that great in Full House Poker. After putting a decent amount of hours into the game I was able to push around the computer rather easily. The experience points you accumulate will unlock some various things such as different venues to play in, tables, cards, chairs and outfits for your avatar. Most of it is pretty frivolous, especially the worthless titles you unlock. The only thing that is actually worth unlocking is the "Chip Tricks" which allows your avatar to pull of a trick. It is worthless but a way to keep yourself occupied while waiting for others to take their turns.

The online is definitely where you will want to spend most of your time in Full House Poker. Human players are much more unpredictable and as a result games are more spontaneous. I found myself involved in some intense matches that went on for hours and others that ended in one hand. Finding a match can be tricky at peak hours and I found I was much more successful finding matches under the "Ranked Match" option. If you are willing to persist through you will find some entertaining match-ups. One thing that really bugged me is the timer that expires after you have lost. Essentially, if you are beat by another player you will have the option to show/hide your cards. This timer shows up when a player has lost so you know they lost even before they show you their cards.

There is also a live show to compete in called "Texas Heat" which isn't really all that live. During these events players have 30 minutes to gain as much experience points as possible. There are three tiers of tables and you if you bust out you will be demoted to a lower tier. If you are already at the lowest tier you get to buy back in for free. There is no live host or anything like 1 vs. 100. This mode seems to be plagued the most my game-breaking bugs. During the three hours I played my table froze twice and the only option I had was to quit out or wait for the remainder of the timer to expire. Another issue is the inclusion of bots during this mode. Supposedly there were over 10,000 players during my session but my table consisted of mostly bots.

Hopefully some of these problems will be resolved in a future patch; maybe they won't. As it stands now it is really tough to recommend Full House Poker to anyone who isn't a Texas hold 'em fanatic. The live show is really disappointing when compared to 1 vs. 100. Despite all these issues, it is still fun to play random dudes online and the core game is solid.

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