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Overview

The stakes are high in the Texas Heat mode!
The stakes are high in the Texas Heat mode!

Full House Poker is a downloadable poker video game (using the Texas hold'em variant) developed and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Marketplace) and Windows Phone 7 devices on March 16, 2011.

The game is known for using Xbox Avatars to represent each player (the only game on the Windows Phone 7 to do so), allowing players to display emotions. Along with normal online and offline play for up to 10 players/bots, players can play special tournaments (for up to 30 players/bots at a time) and one-on-one offline "poker duels" against a series of special bots (each with their own unique AI). For a few years, the game featured a bi-weekly prime-time tournament (reminiscent of Microsoft's 1 vs. 100 adaptation) called "Texas Heat", where players face-off for a half an hour in special 30-player rooms and are ranked among all worldwide players at that time.

Along with a persistent chip bank, players earn experience points by playing the game that allow them to level up and earn new items (including in-game costumes for their Avatars, decorations for their game lobbies, and higher buy-in limits and cash advances). It is one of the few games to track persistent stats (including both chips and XP) between the Xbox 360 and other platforms.

It is one of seven games that supported the Avatar Famestar system, added in a post-release update in July 2012, featuring cross-game costumes for Avatars and timed challenges (for a cross-game leaderboard). Over two years later, the game received a short-lived free-to-play followup, titled World Series of Poker: Full House Pro.

Pro Takedowns

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One of the major single-player components of Full House Poker is the Pro Takedowns mode, where players have the opportunity to take on specialized artificial intelligence (a "Pro") in a single two-man tournament. Defeating a Pro earns a large amount of experience and chips, their outfit for in-game use (that changes between both genders), special titles, and the opportunity to take on more Pros.

After defeating all nine Pros, players have the option of entering the All-Pro Tournament, in which they have to win a tournament against all nine Pros simultaneously at the same table to win 25,000 XP and an achievement.

Pros

  • Sonny Skye - "Loose-Passive" style. Plays more hands than most of the other Pros (even subpar hands), but does not prefer to raise the bet.
  • Rachael Raise - "Loose-Aggressive" style. Plays more hands than most of the other Pros, but often bets more.
  • Larry Louche - "Bully" style. Raises his bets frequently to force out more cautious players. Unlocked after defeating Sonny and Rachael.
  • Mel Matthews - "Tight-Passive" style. Cautious about playing hands, and does not prefer to raise the bet.
  • Roi Singh - "Tight-Aggressive" style. Cautious about playing hands, but often bets more.
  • Lily Sun - "Rock" style. Very cautious about playing hands. Unlocked after defeating Mel and Roi.
  • Johnny Spade - "Iceman" style.
  • Marshall Starr - "Calculator" style.
  • Daisy Deuce - "Shark" style. Unlocked after defeating Johnny and Marshall.

Texas Heat

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For a few years, Full House Poker featured a bi-weekly live tournament known as "Texas Heat". During these events, players have 28 minutes to earn as much experience points as they can while progressing through the table ranks in their pre-determined 30-man game (which include bots and other players). While this is going on, they are ranked with all other players by their allotted experience point gain.

At the end of each tournament, the stats are tallied and players earn chips, experience points, and special in-game customization based on their overall ranking, resulting table tier, and their chip payroll compared to the other nine players of the resulting table.

Tables

When players join the game, they join one of three tiered tables (either pre-determined by the previous game or by random):

  • Diamond Table - Players start with 2,500 chips, have low blinds and antes, and can only bet up to the Spread Limit.
  • Double Diamond Table - Players start with 25,000 chips, have bigger blinds and antes, and can only bet up to the Pot Limit.
  • Triple Diamond Table - Players start with 250,000 chips, have even bigger blinds and antes, and have no limits to how much they can bet.

While players can't be eliminated from the tournament itself, busting out while in the Double Diamond Table causes the player to switch with a high-positioned player in the Diamond Table (automatically re-buying 2,500 chips) and busting out while in the Triple Diamond Table causes the player to switch with a high-positioned player in the Double Diamond Table (automatically re-buying 25,000 chips). Busting out while in the Diamond Table, however, causes the player to automatically re-buy 2,500 chips at the cost of not being able to earn any experience points for two hands. Players moving up to the Double Diamond or the Triple Diamond table automatically add 25,000 or 250,000 chips to their payroll.

If the player ever finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd compared to the other nine players of their resulting table, then that player is granted the Life Preserver, which is a special one-use passive item that allows the player to stay at the Double Diamond or Triple Diamond table and re-buy if that player busts out of either table. Each player can only carry one Life Preserver at a time (which remains with the player throughout the season).

Hot Pots and Ultra Timer

Texas Heat includes new gameplay mechanics not used in the main tournament game mode. The first, "Hot Pots", is when the pot becomes twice the size of the starting chip amount. This event causes the blinds and antes to double while adding to the "Hot Pot Jackpot" (in which all players, at the end of the game, are granted a portion of the overall Jackpot based on their best hand that round).

The second mechanic, "Ultra Timer", punishes player idleness by decreasing each player's turn time the longer they wait in their previous turn. This can only be countered by setting up pre-actions (deciding to check/fold/bet before it's their turn), which gives them turn time back.

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