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All of the cards are on the table, and STACKED comes up aces in my book. I would like to see this go another revolution allowing more time for sound animation. It would only make the game that much better and more immersive. After all, that immersion is what playing at a table is all about.
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.
Graphically, aurally, and from a production standpoint, STACKED with Daniel Negreanu is a bit of a mess, but don’t let that gruff exterior fool you. If you scrounge around a bit, you’ll find what every poker player is seeking; a real game improvement aid. The combination of Negreanu’s tips, Pokibot, and every type of hold ‘em format available (both online and offline) is sure to make a card shark out of you yet. Glitzy and glamorous STACKED with Daniel Negreanu is not (even though it tries to be in many areas), but who cares? You’ll be thanking Pokibot, not the stellar visuals, when your friends leave Wednesday’s poker game dead broke.
Overall, Stacked is a mixed bag of experience. Customizability and interface problems aside, the single player experience will be fun for those that are somewhat new to the game. The AI will learn fairly well and adapt to your play style but won’t really manage to challenge those that are well-versed in the ways of poker. Multiplayer, while done well, seems to be useless overall with the lack of any real character customizability. In the end, I did enjoy Stacked and think it is worth, at the very least, a rental. I would wait to buy it until it drops a bit more in price, though.
Stacked with Daniel Negreanu is one of the best releases in a sea of poker games. The market may be over-saturated, but Stacked has the right hooks to attract the serious players and newbie learners alike.
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.
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.
One of Stacked’s big selling points is the online play and the promise of regular tournaments against human opponents. I had a fair amount of trouble finding and connecting to games online, though, and the players who weren’t complaining about their experience with the game online were spending their time demonstrating their knowledge of rudimentary obscenities. Overall the online side of the game was a big disappointment and it’s hard to recommend the game to anyone primarily seeking an online experience.
The bottom line here is that while the game is based mostly on chance the computer seems to have the best chances of all. You've really got to be a huge fan of Texas Hold'em to want to play hours and hours of Stacked. While it's a decent diversion for a short amount of time, there's just not enough variety to warrant a purchase. Unless you're die-hard about your poker, you'll want to stay away from this game.
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.
Stacked's attempt to bring the excitement and experience of tournament poker to gamers succeeds on many levels. The instructional video is quite good, teaching you many of the nuances of the game, and can take your poker experience to the next level. Unfortunately, similar products have been around for years now, and unless you're not old enough to play competitive poker on an online gambling site (most of which offer free games as well), it's hard to justify picking this one up.
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.