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If you're a big fan of poker, and you really want an online console version of the game, World Series of Poker makes a suitable choice. It gets the poker itself right, and the online play is seamless and enjoyable. Unfortunately, for those looking for something that even comes close to associating itself properly with the World Series of Poker, this game simply fails to deliver. The lackluster presentation, lousy use of the pro players, and lack of real differentiation between the circuit events and the main event rob the game of any real legitimacy toward its license. It's solid poker, and nothing more. If that's enough for you, then go for it. If not, then leave this one on the shelf.
After the cards have been dealt, there is a lot more that could have been done with the first officially licensed World Series of Poker title. Hardcore poker fans will find more than enough to meet their fix, but casual players looking to pick out just one poker title should absolutely rent this game first. The computer AI during the single-player is mixed, the graphics are just bad, the audio is disappointing, and games ending suddenly on Xbox Live make the inner poker player in me cringe. With more poker titles coming down the hatch, World Series of Poker is not worth a full purchase, at most a rental.
In my opinion – if you have Xbox Live, and own absolutely no other poker games, you might want to give it a try. If you don’t have Xbox Live, or if you do and already own another Xbox Live compatible poker title, you probably want to pass on this one. I’m not saying that the World Series of Poker doesn’t deliver on its promises; it is just that the game of table poker was not meant to be played in an impersonal setting – it just doesn’t feel right, so it’s just not as fun. A few months ago, the table poker video game was a novelty, but as more and more of these games hit the shelves, the quicker the novelty wears off.
World Series of Poker fails miserably in both cases. Its presentation is piss-poor and its AI is so completely unpredictable and nonsensical that the game turns into the aforementioned lottery drawing where sheer luck is a much stronger ally than even a basic understanding of the game.
If you’re shopping around for a poker game for your Xbox, WSOP is one to avoid. While there are no perfect poker games, World Championship Poker and World Poker Tour are a little better and I suggest purchasing them over this. Ultimately, this title just plain fails, hard. The great license and the professional players just can’t make for an entertaining title thanks to a weak graphics engine and poor AI.