“ Genre: Board, Card & Casino / Publisher: Microsoft / Xbox Live Arcade / Download „
=== The product ===
This is an Xbox Live downloadable game called 'Full House Poker'. This is an avatar based game with uses a character that you will have created for your Xbox 360 username, either a male or female character, and you can then play this game with your avatar representing you throughout the game. You can play as a single player, with friends or even take part in one of the poker nights that are frequently advertised. You can then compete against players from around the World while working on unlocking some achievements and downloadable content such as new clothes and accessories for your avatar. You play with chips so there is no money involved once you have paid the initial purchase price for the game.
=== The cost & where to find this ===
You can download this from the Xbox 360 Live marketplace, for 800 Microsoft points, which is around £8.00 I believe in money, or alternatively you can purchase a gift card, for £7.99, in various computer game merchants which will allow you to enter a code and download the game 'for free' as you have already paid for the code. This game can be found in the marketplace quite easily and appears in numerous categories, being quite highly advertised over the past six months or so.
=== Gameplay ===
Full House Poker is played using the poker variation of Texas Hold 'Em Poker. There are four
There are various game modes in Full House Poker which include single player mode, Pro Takedown mode, online multiplayer and Texas Heat and I will tell you a bit about each gameplay mode below.
Single Player: This is a mode where you play alone against AI players. You can select the amount of players, with a maximum of 10 players allowed in a game of Texas Hold 'Em per table, and you can decide how much the blinds and bets are. You will then play Texas Hold 'Em poker, taking it in turns to bet, fold etc and you will be able to earn game currency while playing which can be saved up for other game types or just for betting again on the next hand. You will earn XP while playing which helps you rank up and become the best poker player that you can be. When you unlock levels you will also unlock lots of different items that your avatar can wear and this helps you express your style and creativity while playing, and as you progress you can also show off to people that you have earnt some of the higher ranks.
Pro Takedown: This is another game that you will play alone, except this time you will be against just one AI player. The players are designed to be progressively harder to bust and as you progress through the different player levels you will be playing with more money and for higher winnings. You will also earn lots of XP while playing through these levels and you can even earn some achievements while beating these players. Some of them are tougher than others and each of them have a distinctive playing style with some going all in on almost every hand and some of them being a lot more cautious and guarded therefore meaning that some people are quick to beat and others may need more than one attempt to be beaten.
Online: This allows you to play other real players online. You can choose to set up your own game or join someone elses. This is a fantastic way to play poker online and generally you will find someone available online at all times of the day or night. This is a slightly harder game to play as you cannot really read a player like you can with the AI ones but I personally find that this makes the game a lot more interesting.
Texas Heat: This is a series of scheduled games that Microsoft lay on for you. There will be different games on at different days and throughout the year. Each game is a 30 minute long one and you will be playing at various tables, depending on how well your standing in that current game is, and you will be playing against a mixture of AI players and real life ones. Your aim here is to basically play the games as fast as possible and the best that you can ensuring you unlock maximum XP and rank high against other players. This is a really fun element to the game and if you are one of the top ranking players in your game you will be able to unlock one of the most coveted achievements and add to your gamer score.
=== Overall opinion ===
This game is so much fun as being a real fan of poker it is fair to say that I have put some serious hours in on this over the last few months, mainly playing online against friends and taking part in the Texas Heat Schedule to try and unlock some of those elusive achievements that just keep being outside of the grip of my fingertips!
I love the feel of this game, the avatar characters really bring something extra to this game and when the Texas Heat game is loading and my avatar is there in the crowd I am really excited to start playing this game. I feel that the game is well presented with a little something extra over some of the other poker games that I have played online in the past. There are lots of little action that my avatar can do and this allows me to express whether I am being aggressive while playing or just being a little more relaxed. I can also customise my avatar with clothes that I choose and some of these I have unlocked while playing the game, this is particularly useful if there is a double XP night on Texas Heat and I need to dress up in a certain style to ensure I get my extra points.
I love some of the actions that go on here, with everything from the announcer at the start of the game to the clapping at the end bringing something extra to my surroundings while playing. I love the funky music that is played while waiting to start and when my avatar is celebrating, I also love the funky little dance on the table that she does when I have won a round against one of the AI players in the Pro Takedown.
It is fair to say that I can return back to this game whenever I feel like it and still thoroughly enjoy the game. I don't need to worry about missing out on much and at present the Texas Heat games are being updated every 3 months meaning that there are new achievements to download and work on completely free of charge. I feel that this just increases the longevity of the game which substantially and it usually means that I end up returning back to the game here and there ensuring that I am thoroughly enjoying myself and getting my monies worth.
This game is fun, I love it, it keeps me coming back for more. Quite a few of my friends have downloaded this game and from time to time we will meet up and play against or with each other in one of the Texas Heat games. This is a fantastic way to socialise with friends and means that we are all getting great value out of our purchase. I like the music, the funky dances and the chip tricks that my avatar can learn along the way. Some of the achievements are a little more difficult than others but I feel that all of them are achievable. The only minor gripe I have is that if I miss some of the achievements when the newest season of Texas Heat comes out I am not able to go back and earn those achievements, however, that is just another reason that gets me playing the game and getting the most for my money possible.
If you have an Xbox 360 and you are a fan of Texas Hold 'Em poker then why not download this? The price is reasonable and the longevity is good, particularly if you have friends who you can play with too!
Poker is one of the most popular card games around and has a massive following, especially since the launch of online poker. According to the world poker tour website there are more than 60 million poker players in the United States alone and more than 100 million players worldwide.
Microsoft have taken notice of these figures and launched an xbox live download game called 'Full House Poker'. In Full House Poker you play as your avatar, which is the character you create on your xbox, with the game offering you both single player and live multiplayer options.
Before I go any further I would like to mention a couple of things. Firstly the only cost involved with Full House Poker is the initial cost to download the game which works out about £7 which I believe is very reasonable. After this point you are playing with an in-game currency so no real money is involved. Secondly just to point out that you do not have to be an expert at poker to play this game. I have played poker with friends a handfull of times and have tried online poker a few times, enough to know the basics of the game and to know what a good hand is,but this is not nescessary as you will learn the basics of poker as you play this game.
Texas Hold'em is the variation of poker which is used on the game Full House Poker. If you have any interest in the game of poker, you will already know everything that you need to know to be able to play the game. If you have never played any kind of poker before, there are some tutorials on Full House Poker to help to get you started.
There are various game modes in Full House Poker which include single player mode, Pro Takedown mode, online multiplayer and Texas Heat and I will tell you a bit about each gameplay mode below.
In the single player game you will play against the computer controlled players. You can start by choosing how many players are at the table and how much the starting bets will be. You will play rounds against the computer characters and depending on your cards you will bet, fold your cards or try to bluff your way to a pot. As you play more hands and win pots, as well as earning in game cash you also earn experience points or XP. These experience points can be used to level up and unlock features on the game. These features include some things like different outfits for your avatar to dress up in for the poker games and also the ability to perform tricks with the chips which you are holding.
Pro Takedown Mode
Pro Takedown Mode is another single player mode. In this game you will play one versus one against the computer controlled pros. There are nine players that you can play against in this game mode and each opponent has a different playing style, for instance they may be a very aggresive or a very passive opponent. As you beat each player you will progress through the game, to be able to take on the next player who will be a tougher opponent. The one on one element on this game mode gives you a different game to play and you can often play a different style here as you only have one opponents cards to beat.
On the online multiplayer game you can either join a game that someone else has set up on xbox live or you can set up a game yourself and wait for other people to join. You can also set up the game and invite friends to join you. This mode gives a different element to the game as you will be playing against real players who will be less predictable than the computer controlled players.
Texas Heat is a scheduled game which Microsoft runs, which are 30 minute events where you can compete against players from all over the world. This is a fast paced game and if you are doing well on your table, you will progress and be moved up to higher ranked tables playing against other players who are doing well.
Overall I believe that there is a good mix of game modes and options here. The single player modes will help new players to poker to get a feel of the game and an idea of the best hands before you start to mix with other players on the online modes.
Gameplay Rated 17/20
You wouldn't expect graphics to be an important part of a poker game and while you may not be blown away by the graphics in Full House Poker, the presentation and look of the game are of a very high standard.
The inclusion of the avatars in this game is a positive thing, you are able to perform chip tricks with your avatar and you can also make your avatar move in an aggresive or a submissive way which is good. This can of course be done to try to bluff your opponents making it more realistic.
The areas that you play in are all well designed and the graphics for these areas are all of a good standard. Tho only downside with the areas you play in are the lack of choice as there are only three to chose from.
Overall the graphics are of a good standard and the game and avatars that people control are pleasant to look at.
Graphics Rated 15/20
Again you would not be expecting much sound wise from a poker game and this is pretty much as you would expect here. The sound is minimal on Full House Poker but that does not detract from the game as I would not expect much noise on a poker game. Anything that is done here is decent enough, the announcer introduces some of the game modes and there are a few in game noises like the noise of chips being played and cards being dealt. Also if there has been a tight hand or a high value pot played for, there can be some applause at the end of the hand.
Overall the sound on FullHouse Poker is minimal but does its job, it is the kind of game that you could mute while having some music on in the background if you wish.
Sound Rated 13/20
VALUE FOR MONEY
As previously mentioned FullHouse Poker is a downloadable game on xbox live and is available for 800 microsoft points or £7 in real money. As there are somany game modes and features in the game I believe that £7 offers very good value for money. I believe that £7 compares very well against a lot of other xbox live games which cancost 1200 points, or about £10. Also compared against retail releases which cost about £40 Full House Poker offers real value.
Value For Money Rated 18/20
Full House Poker is a game that you can dip in and out of at anytime so has a very high level of longevity. As you earn experience points, your avatar levels up, starting at level 1 going all the way up to level 50. Reaching level 50 will take a long time to do, keeping you coming back as you try to progress.
Also the fact that you can play online against players from all over the world as well as players from your own friends list means that your interest in the game will remain for a long time to come.
Longevity Rated 19/20
Overall I believe that Full House Poker is a very good game and would reckon at £7 it is definately worth downloading. The presentation and gameplay are very smooth, the game looks really good and is very easy to get in to.
There will some people who will not understand why you would play poker without real money being involved. If that is your belief than this game will not be for you, for everyone else just looking for a bit of fun then give Full House Poker a go.
Overall Rating 82/100
If you love gambling, but don't have the bankroll to do it for real then this is the game for you. Go head to head against a number of Poker Pro's, your Xbox Live friends or thousands of online players around the world, there are numerous ways to play and endless amounts of unlockables to find. Hours of endless fun and it isn't going to cost you a penny....Well maybe just the 800 Microsoft points needed to actually purchase and download the game! ha-ha!
There are several different ways in which you can play Full House Poker;
Single Player - You can customise everything about your games, first of all this starts with the various options available for gameplay. You can choose from a standard game which enables you to buy back in, or play in a tournament. You can choose the betting limit, buy in limits which range from 0 - 50,000 chips, this is where the big money is at. Changing the turn timers from Amateur to Pro means that you have less time to make decisions between turns, I always have mine on pro so the game doesn't take as long, there is nothing worse than having to wait for 15 seconds for someone to make up their mind on what they want to do. You can also choose how many players you want to go up against, and across how many tables. You can have up to 3 tables, each of which can have up to 10 players on each. The more people you go up against the bigger the reward in the end, but then the longer the game is going to take. I normally just choose to have 10 players including myself on the 1 table, this game still takes a fair amount of time, depending on how the AI play.
Ranked Multiplayer - This is where you can go head to head against other players online. You can choose to play a quick match which will put you into the first game available, regardless of the buy in or limits. Or you can choose to search for a specific game type, so you could choose to only be in a game that has a buy in of 5,000 chips with Pro timers, or you can go for the big money and choose a game that has a buy in of 50,000!! If you don't want to join someone else's game you can create your own from scratch and people can join you, or you can invite your Xbox Live friends to come and play on your table.
Multiplayer - This is very similar to the Ranked Multiplayer except it's not as "hardcore" and isn't ranked on leaderboards. You can choose from standard quick match which will put you into the first match available. Choose a tournament quick match, search for a particular game of your choice or create your own. There are still big bucks to be made in this side of multiplayer but it just isn't ranked on some leaderboards.
Pro Takedowns - There are 9 pro's in total to go up against, and each increases in difficulty and playing style. The buy in's also increase for each of the pro's. I've won and lost quite a lot of money going up against the big boys but it's great fun and really challenges you and your playing style. Once you have beaten the 9 pro's in head to head games, it's time to go up against all of the pro's on one table in a single game. This took me one attempt to do but it took me around 2 or so hours to complete as it's really difficult playing against so many AI. Once you beat each of the pro's you unlock their costumes which are then available for your in game Avatar to wear. The pro's vary from an Elvis wannabe, to a tye-dye hippy that resembled John Lennon to a Hugh Hefner wannabe called Larry Louche. You also unlock new items to customise your own games, like new tables, card decks and loads more!!
Texas Heat - These are the Live shows that are on every Tuesday night going into the early hours of Wednesday morning, and on Saturday night until the early hours of Sunday morning. This is so they can get all players from across the globe to play at reasonable times. If a game is on at 4am for us in the UK then it's probably around tea time in the US. The live shows feature thousands of players from around the world playing together in tournaments of up to 30 people at a time, it's great fun and there are big rewards to be had. They're great to play with friends, but it is still a little buggy, with games freezing and players being kicked out quite often. I'm still holding on to the hope that these issues will soon be fixed as it's a great feature, just like the 1 vs 100 that used to be played Live on Xbox Live every week a few summers ago.
Playing Full House Poker in any of the ways above, earns you various awards. For every hand in a game, you earn XP even if you don't win the hand, you can win XP for a smart fold or big XP for a big win or knocking another player out of a tournament. This XP increases your player level which in turn unlocks new things for your player, including new chip tricks for you to show off with at the table, and new items for your games. You also win chips at the end of each game depending on the buy in.
There are also numerous online Leaderboards showing your Lifetime XP, Bankroll, Weekly XP and Ranked Play, your score can be compared to just your friends or to everyone worldwide. The more XP you earn, and the more chips you win the higher on the leaderboard you climb.
Are nothing special in all honesty, but then I wasn't expecting them to be outstanding. The games are colourful and bright, with great animations from all the in game characters and your own Avatar. There isn't much more that can be said really.
The longevity for me with this game has been brilliant, I play at least 3/4 times a week for a couple of hours at the moment as I'm trying to level up to 50. I have reached a bankroll of nearly 1,000,000 since beating all the pro's and winning big in a fair few tournaments, it's great fun. I also take part in at least 1 of the live Texas Heat shows every week, depending on what the "theme" is for the night. Last week it was double XP for female players, this week it's double XP for all so there's a lot to play for this weekend. They change the theme's for the nights every week so it has quite a lot of variety in the game play and everyone can benefit from extra XP.
I looked around online and there isn't much in the way of downloadable content in the pipeline for Full House Poker, apart from new "series". The only downloadable content available at the moment is the Texas Heat Spring Season add on. Similar to the 1 vs 100 show that was brought to the Xbox a few summers ago, there will be new series to download. All of which I'm assuming will be free as the Texas Heat Spring Season was free to Download when I purchased Full House Poker. This enables you to play in the weekly "live" shows like I explained earlier in the review.
A lot of people complained about this game as it was meant to be free to download to begin with, just like 1 vs 100 was on the Xbox Live Arcade. But I really didn't mind paying just 800 points for it, it's really great fun especially when playing in tournaments online with friends. I've spent a fair few hours on it and it was only released mid March. I love the customising options so you can create a personal game, with endless new stuff to unlock you can customise your game to suit your personality.
With an age rating of 12+ it isn't recommended for younger players as it is promoting gambling, but to be honest nothing is stopping a player younger than 12 from playing this game, much like there isn't anything stopping younger kids playing games like Grand Theft Auto! ha-ha! It's really up to the parents if they let them purchase this game or not.
The only downside for me is that the online "live" Texas Heat shows are still a little buggy, I've never had a full table of 10 online players on a Texas Heat show, I always end up with a table full of AI players, which is ridiculously annoying, they bet all in as they have nothing to lose whereas it's much better to play against real live players who act differently than a computer player and are a lot more fun to play with.
I'd recommend anyone who enjoys Poker and Xbox Live to purchase this game, there are a lot of worse games on the Arcade that retail for more than 800, there is so much to do, and so many things to unlock that you really do get your moneys worth.