Sunday evening I came home from playing some low stakes poker with some of my coaching buddies and still felt like playing. I searched for a good iPad poker game but came up empty handed so I searched on the iPhone for some poker goodness. There is a number of poker apps on the phone so I first tried a free game just to see how much I liked it. Well, that turned out to be a great decision since I found a fantastic Texas Hold ‘em game that I can play anytime.
Anyone who enjoys poker has watched it on television at some point. A few years ago the World Series of Poker became extremely popular and even made poker a regular event on ESPN. I truly enjoy the game but would not consider myself an expert by any means, but practice makes perfect. When I saw a game that had the WSOP name attached, I had to take a look since I would expect only a great offering would carry their seal of approval. Great UI, graphics and plenty of features make this app a must for any poker player or anyone who wants to start.
Even though the free version is a bit limited, the game is polished and beautiful. Video cut scenes and great audio spice up the game and give it a real casino feel. One venue is available in this version which includes a nine player table which looks nice on the iPhone screen. Two modes of gameplay are available, Legends Career and Heads Up Bluetooth. Legends Career allows the player to join The Local Game or practice away on the Play for Free table. Heads Up Bluetooth mode allows to connect with another iPhone to play a friend heads up.
Each table will require a buy-in to get started and be deducted from your bank roll. The goal of course is to win money to build the bank roll and continue to bust other players. This is not an easy task as the computer players play a good game of poker. I have found the AI to be challenging but not overwhelming. The game is actually played out very similar to real life poker. As you win more hands and eleminate players achievements are earned and collected in the form of special chips. I have been slow to earn achievements, but continuing to get better.
For beginners, a strength meter is present for each hand. This will help a new player learn what hands to stay in the game and raise with and what hands to simply fold before the flop. The settings do allow for the meter to be toggled on or off. There is also a setting to help read the other players. Since you cannot look into their eyes or see their face or body language, a ? may appear which indicates that the player could be bluffing and an ! indicates that they may have a strong hand. Great addition to the game for someone who is wanting to learn the ropes while playing.
With all of the graphics and features, the UI is truly the strength of the game. During a hand the player can tap the screen to immediately bring up their turn. This is great if time is an issue and you want to hurry through a few hands. To bet, tap the screen and a dial appears to dial in the amount. The same action will call and to check, simply double tap the screen. Folding the hand is also easy as a simple swipe of the cards and to go all in, just slide your stack of chips to the middle of the table. The game really utilizes the touch interface to create a smooth and easy gaming experience.
As free versions of games go, this is awesome. You will not be able to play for the coveted WSOP bracelet in this version, but plenty of poker is available for you at anytime. My plan is to keep this version on my phone and hold out for a similar offering to buy for the iPad. If any of you have a great Texas Hold ‘Em iPad game, please let me know in the comments section. Go get World Series of Poker Hold ‘Em Legend Free here in the app store and go all in!
What I like: Polished app with intuitive gameplay and challenging computer opponents.
What could be improved: Nothing yet other than an iPad version!