One of the things my siblings and I like to do together is play poker. We’ll get the cards out and start playing Texas hold ’em, using pretzels as our chips (because we don’t have any actual poker chips to play with). While there would be the occasional quarrel between us (what else do you expect from siblings?), in the end it was all good fun. Now I have seen poker featured in some video games, but only as a extra activity that the player can participate. That changed last year, however, when the downloadable game Full House Poker was released on the Xbox 360.
Those who know how to play poker, or the Texas hold ’em variation, shouldn’t have much trouble playing Full House Poker. If you’re new to poker, or just don’t know how to play the Texas hold ’em variation, there are tutorials in the game that can teach you how to play. Full House Poker offers both single and multi-player modes for you to play, with the latter being available online only. In single player mode, players play against computer-controlled characters in either a standard game of Texas hold ’em, or in a Tournament. Multi-player mode allows players to play with other players online. There is no local multi-player mode, however, due to the fact that players would be able to see each other cards. You’d probably be better off playing poker with real cards when your friends are over anyway.
While game modes are the main focus of Full House Poker; there are many other features included that enhance the experience. When playing the game, players use their Xbox Avatar as their character; which is nice considering there are not many games that utilize them. Full House Poker features an leveling system in which players gain experience points and level up as they play. You are rewarded with several bonuses when you level up; such as titles (nicknames), abilities, and customization items.
That brings me to another cool aspect of Full House Poker; the customization system. While Xbox Avatars are customized outside of games, you can customize your avatar’s attire in the game using outfits you have unlocked. Not only can you customize your avatar, you can customize the environment in which you play in as well. You can change the venue, the appearance of the poker table, the chairs, and even the deck of cards used to play. It may not seem like much but it certainly adds a nice touch to the game.
To you the truth, I don’t really have many complaints about Full House Poker. I did have a problem with the lack of local multi-player at first, but I got over that quickly. After all, you just need a pack of cards to play poker with your friends. That doesn’t render Full House Poker useless of course. It’s perfect for the player who doesn’t have anybody to play with, or wants to play with their friends when they’re not around. The ability to customize your poker experience is really nice too and the leveling/reward system keeps wanting to play more.
In the end, I find Full House Poker to be an enjoyable game. It takes Texas hold em’ and makes it even more enjoyable by adding fun incentives to the game. After all, what poker fan doesn’t like being rewarded for playing a good hand or two? While it doesn’t beat playing poker with a real deck, it’s sure to quench the thirst of any poker addict. I may not always be there to play poker with my siblings, but with Full House Poker, I can play with them even when I’m far away.