Review: Full House Poker
Can't read my, can't read my no you can't read my poker face. Yes, I went there. As part of the "House Party" line up of games for Xbox Live Arcade (others being Beyond Good & Evil, Torchlight, Hard Corps Uprising and Bejeweled Blitz Live) Full House Poker is nothing more than a Xbox Live Arcade Avatar poker game. Is it fun? Depends on you. First off, if you are not the gambling type or like card games, this is not for you...but you knew that already. For the people still here reading this because they love to gamble but ran out of real money to play online poker with the stars, this IS for you. Microsoft Game Studios has taken what they learned from 1 vs 100 and tried to apply it to Full House Poker which seems to work. I love the way Full House Poker gives you control to customize your settings for single player play as well as setting up a room for online play. You start off with some basic stuff to change the color of the chairs, table felt, your clothes, the picture on the cards. As you play, you gain xp for certain actions you perform and level up. The only benefit I see to their leveling system is to unlock new stuff. Kind of wishing instead of an xp system, MGS would have went with some sort of points system or base it off of how much money you have in your bankroll. Having that xp system in place is just confusing and out of place.
There is a multiplayer aspect to this game and the main reason why this game is fun. If you are just looking for a quick match versus a friend you can most certainly do that, but why would you when you can go up against 30 players in a multi-table tournament? I am seeing that some people are having issues getting into a multiplayer match I didn't run into that issue yet. Maybe I am just lucky. I got lost playing a tournament since it is easy to casually play Full House Poker while surfing your news feeds or watching a movie. It may sound like the game is boring without doing something else while playing but honestly it's poker, there are not many ways to make poker fun for the uninitiated.
There is also a mode called Texas Heat. What it comes down to is that this is regulary scheduled event that is a way to earn things you can't get in the normal game as well as massive XP. There are tables that players will get assigned to based on your stats for that week. From what I see since I can't try an event until Saturday, March 19th, the events consist of themes. Ladies Night awards female avatar players bonus XP, Beginners Night awards all players level 10 or below bonus bankroll at the end of the show. Although it seems lacking, it's something to get the community all in one place at the same time to really experience multiplayer. I just wish there wasn't a time limit when participating in the events. Forcing people to play at a pace that might not be in their comfort zone is a terrible way to enjoy the multiplayer aspect of Full House Poker.
In my small amount of poker play, here is a tip for you that I am sure will help. Don't go all in every hand. It may work sometimes, but getting greedy like I did costs you in the end. I like how easy it seems to drop in and out of a tournament in progress. Makes it so that anyone can jump on and play for a little bit in the morning while they drink that yummy cup of joe or at work on their lunch break.
For those of you who are not that lucky to have a Xbox 360 at work, you can get the Windows Phone 7 version of Full House Poker to play on the go. Everything that you win on the mobile version of Full House Poker will go towards your overall cash in the bank for the console version. I like the idea of a version of a game on a mobile platform somehow tying into the console version of the game. Makes it feel like I should buy the mobile version and that I would get a benefit out of it in the long run.
Full House Poker will run you 800 Microsoft Points and if you are a casual gambler, hardcore poker player or even someone who would like to learn how to play poker (there are some decent tutorials on how to play in the games menu as well as them popping up during gameplay), this is worth it to "check" out.