Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Canon Video Game Review: World Series of Poker (XBOX)

Over the past few days, I have found myself playing a lot of the 2005 game World Series of Poker for the XBOX. It is the best first-person shooting game I have ever played. Well, not really. Like you might have guessed from its name, World Series of Poker is a poker game that features the logos of the World Series of Poker and some poker professionals from the World Poker Tour. Other than Chris Ferguson, I don't know who any of the pros are, but I guess they had to be pretty successful to get into the game. Or maybe they paid somebody, what do I know? Here is the cover for the game, courtesy of

In World Series of Poker, the game offers four different games of poker to play. There's the most well known, Texas Hold 'Em, as well as Seven Card Stud, Omaha, and Razz. Both Seven Card Stud and Omaha also have hi-lo split versions, where the lowest and highest hands split the pot. Even though I only knew of Texas Hold 'Em when I first started playing the game, the other games are not too hard to pick up. However, the instruction book and the game itself wasn't too helpful in explaining the rules. So basically you're either left to figure it out on the fly or look up the rules somewhere on the internet. The graphics are nothing to write home about, but since it is just a poker game, graphics aren't really the most important factor. I will say that the characters look rather normal, and you can clearly see everything that is going on. The game provides commentary from poker announcer Lon McEachern, but I think he says only eight phrases throughout the game, and the commentary gets rather repetitive after the third hand or so.

The game offers a career mode where you create your own player and get 10,000 dollars each year to participate in various events, depending on the game, the type of bet (no-limit, pot limit, limit bets) and the amount of cash it takes to play each game. Of course, the big event is the World Series of Poker. Although it's a rather simple career mode, I have found it to be quite enjoyable. The game also offers different poker chips for achievements on the game, such as winning tournaments, eliminating pros in a showdown, getting certain hands and also for the amount of money you win throughout your career. You can't really do anything with the chips, so it's basically like the achievements on an XBox 360 game.

The game itself moves pretty fast, so you don't waste a lot of time watching the CPU players making their decisions, unlike the World Series of Poker game for the XBox 360, which takes forever to play just one hand. The AI players range from extremely aggressive to extremely conservative, although most of the players seem to lean towards the former. This makes things rather frustrating at times, especially when they'll go all in with a crappy hand like a 7-2 or something. Of course with my luck, they'll end up getting three more sevens or something, but I digress. I will say that they are rather predictable, so an experienced poker player will be able to pick up on each player's betting tendencies early in the game. One rather annoying thing about the game is that the CPU likes to rub it in when they win, and since most characters only have about 6 or 7 lines of dialogue, you hear the same things over and over again. One guy kept saying "Trying to knock down a dinosaur" after dang near each bet he made. Not only is it a dumb thing to say, but the constant repetition finally caused me to turn the sound down and listen to some music. Luckily, the game offers the use of custom soundtracks, so you can just listen to the music stored on your XBox is the sound gets too annoying. The game also has online play available, but since I don't feel like renewing my XBox live account, I won't be playing it online anytime soon. From what I remember, it's not too bad, but a little slow and if the host leaves the table, the game automatically ends instead of the game finding another host, which kind of sucks.

Overall, World Series of Poker is just a basic cookie-cutter poker game, but it still is quite enjoyable to play, in least in my view. There are a couple of weaknesses, but overall the game moves quickly and should provide anyone wanting to play some poker a good time. I'll give the game a 6.5 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews, or thoughts about this and previous reviews, than feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at Now, here's a video of a lucky poker hand for Chris Ferguson:


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