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In the process of playing STACKED I've had a TON of fun and learned two important game-related life lessons:
1) Stacked with Daniel Negreanu is the best Texas Hold 'Em videogame on the market currently. It lets you play cash games, single table and multi-table tournaments and online on all platforms.
2) I suck at Texas Hold 'Em.
If you're unsure about the whole Texas Hold'Em poker game, this is a solid title to rent and try out the game for the first time without having to worry about losing your life's savings. If you know how to play already, and want a solid AI to play against as well as some good multiplayer action, this is pretty much the title to get. Be warned, however. This is a poker game, and that's all you're going to get. If you're wanting more of the casino experience or something with more variety than just Hold'Em, you might want another title.
What it ultimately comes down to with Stacked is just how much you want to play a realistic, offline game of Texas hold 'em. There's certainly no shortage of ways to play this game for free on the internet, but playing against random online players doesn't always provide you with much tangible feedback on how your game stacks up in a real cash game or tournament environment. Admittedly, Stacked's AI system doesn't always pull this off either, and there are holes in Stacked's game, but far fewer than most other poker titles, and it's the best measuring stick for your personal poker skills available in the realm of entertainment software.
STACKED is the best poker video game currently out on store shelves. That said, I am a little disappointed that the title didn’t go that extra mile in making itself a hit. At $29.99, poker aficionados will find value in the instructional videos and tables for practice. Otherwise, it’s rentable.
If you like to play poker and really know what you are doing, you can probably have a great time with this game. But if you are a novice, you might want to look elsewhere until you earn your chops. In the end, Stacked is kind of like having two pair with kings high. It’s a respectable hand that a lot or players would want to have, but it can also be beaten by a lot of others.
So STACKED isn't a particularly well-presented game. The fundamentals are there, though, meaning you can actually play against the AI and feel like it's challenging you, and with a solid online presence, there's plenty of challenge there too. It's just that despite all the hoopla and the delay in getting the game finished, there's really nothing here to justify it presentation-wise. There's solid poker to be had here (even if it's just Texas Hold 'Em -- something that other poker games beat many times over in variety). Still, this was a successful experiment, offering the kind of progress toward a poker game that can play as well offline as it does online -- and one step toward getting AI interaction that actually feels like a real person. Thanks to some wonky recommendations from Negreanu and an obvious lack of what would seem like common-sense graphics options, this isn't a must-buy poker game, but it is better than anything else out there. Sadly, that's still not saying much.
Stacked offers some of the most realistic poker gameplay out there. The AI feels as if you are playing against live poker players. It will offer you a way to hone your skills or provide you an outlet to play poker when your buds can,t come over to play. The game isn,t a fast game, and this will bring down the enjoyment level for the majority of gamers. But if you are a dedicated poker fan, and want to play a game that is realistic and challenging, Stacked with Daniel Negreanu is a good choice. In short, Stacked isn,t bluffing, but it won,t cause a lot of gamers to go "all in," either.
While STACKED with Daniel Negreanu won't be winning any type of gaming awards, it's definitely a step in the right direction for video game poker. With a few more play modes, a couple variations of poker, and a better-looking field of play, it could be even better. However, it's easily the best AI experience you'll find in a console poker title, so if you're dying to pick one up, definitely go with this one.
I can’t say I’ll be playing this game often, because I find the pace of the game is too slow. Until you’ve decided and played your hand, the Pokibot is extremely slow. If you’re used to Internet Hold’em play, this game seems quite boring. Let me offer you a Pro tip: you can either pick up this mediocre to decent poker title on the consoles, or simply play online using the computer you are sitting in front of, and have faster-paced and more enjoyable challenge. Take your pick.
After the deluge of console poker games, it's easy to see why Stacked would have the gall to have a blurb like "Halo with Chips" on the back cover or why Maxim, of all mags, would say such a thing. Probably because when compared to the likes of World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, even Hello Kitty: Poker Party would look like gold. Stacked is better than that fictitious mess, I think, and might be worth a rental if you'd like to see some decent poker-sim A.I. But to go all-in for something you could find for free on the Internet would be a bad bet. Even Poki could tell you that.
For $30 Stacked just doesn't add up. The various modes available are barely better than some of the free poker games out on the net. Online play is a key element but the same problems with cluttered gameplay come into effect. Aesthetically the game leaves a lot to be desired as well, but again for a poker game it's not "that" bad looking or sounding. Low score across the board leave this one in the skipping category. Only those of you who absolutely adore poker and must play every incarnation of the game will find this title appealing. A lot of the promise that Stacked had to offer going in turned out to merely a bluff.
The PS2 and Xbox versions of the game don't look quite as good as the PC version, but the difference isn't drastic. Sadly, none of the three platforms has a large amount of players online, so it's hard to recommend one over another. The PC version also crashed during my play experience a handful of times, usually during a tournament, costing me all the progress made during long, arduous sessions filled with many folds and wait times. If it wasn't for your ability to fast forward the action when you're not involved in a hand, it would be nearly impossible for casual poker players to stand the longer tournament formats. With the constant breaks in gameplay made for player animation and dialogue, the pacing is just far too slow for those who want to play lots of hands of poker.
While the online play might help the replay value a bit (especially with the scheduled tournaments on the official sites), it by no means warrants a purchase of this title. The experience pales in comparison to online poker, both in terms of cost and ease of play.
Stacked isn't the worst poker game we've ever seen, but it's also quite weak in comparison to many of the other titles we've seen recently. Its AI is mostly solid, but it generally doesn't play aggressively enough to put a whole lot of pressure on you, allowing you to sit back and dictate the course of play. The presentation on a whole is either poor and/or awkward, including the raise adjustment, menu navigation, visuals (specifically for the chips), lack of a reasonable create-a-player and more. These are essentially vital in any poker game and they really stick out when they're not done properly.
Entire games dedicated to poker are usually a tough sell, seeing as how dozens of websites offer free games to play, but Stacked does nothing but sink the hopes of gamers looking for a way to improve their game at home. The tutorial sets the stage for a pleasurable experience, but shoddy game modes, AI, and visuals kill the moment. I can simply see no reason to drop any time or money into this title when you can get have a much better time and be social by playing poker with friends, coworkers, or with new people online for free.