Full House Poker Review

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Full House Poker

When 1 Vs. 100 was canceled on Xbox Live, I was extremely disappointed. Finally there was a game that both my wife and I could actually sit down and want to make time for, it was ‘Appointment Gaming’ and we enjoyed every second of it. So to see it given the boot and exchanged for Full House Poker was a slight shock, but being a geek who enjoys poker I was pleased with this. Sadly, the appointment gaming is gone because it’s tough to monopolize the  living room to engage in a 30 minute poker session.

So what does Full House Poker bring that the other Xbox poker titles (or even games which feature poker in them, such as Red Dead Redemption)? For starters you get to use your avatar within the casino you’re playing in. You can dress up in your normal avatar gear (just last night I was seated at a table with someone in a Bomberman costume) or you can dress up in unlockable costumes from within the FHP game. A feature which borrows from almost any other multiplayer game out there today is a leveling system here, with each level unlocking some new piece of gear like a table top or card design, or even new chip tricks to perform while you’re waiting for your turn, and wait you will but we’ll discuss that later.  In a move that is sure to please actual poker players, games can be set up to play a couple different variations of Texas Hold ‘em, those being the standard high hand, a low hand where A-5 is the best hand, and a hi/lo split hand. These game types can be setup in a few different betting methods as well, limit, pot limit, spread limit and of course everyone’s favorite no-limit, and the game style itself can be set to a sit-n-go tournament where once you bust out you’re out, and only top performers share in the pot or a standard game where rebuys are allowed.

The big draw for the game, and the push to have this be the next 1 Vs 100 is the Texas Heat mode. In this scheduled event players from around the world battle it out in quick thirty minute games of poker. The match is split so there are three levels of table, each with a different buy in (which is provided) which breeds different gameplay styles. Bust out on the Triple Diamond table, and you’re automatically bumped down to the Double Diamond, but can fight your way back up to the top table if you are in first place when some table shuffling happens.  In this massively multiplayer round of poker it would be completely unfair for the overall winner to be decided by chip stack right? That’s why here it’s the XP that you earn which will ultimately decide on your placement. Smart calls, folds and gutsy moves will earn you more XP, just remember though that others are doing the same thing. In each round a high hand jackpot is also made available which is split amongst the players who achieve the highest ranked poker hand during that round, the prize here being a potentially massive boost to your bankroll.  On any given day, different XP bonuses will be offered, for example one of the first  weekends of tournaments will offer an XP bonus for anyone who plays that is currently ranked under level 10, other bonuses include ladies or guys night, as well playing consecutive  rounds of Texas Heat in a given night will earn you bonus XP for the later rounds.

My only gripe with the game is the pacing of single player games. Playing a single tournament took upwards of one hour to play, which in my opinion is far too long for someone to commit to for what should be a nice pick up and go game.  Yes, there’s an option to fast forward through a hand once you fold, but imaging you’re on the button and you have to wait through ten players to call, raise or fold. Also, at the end of each hand the showdown animations are unskippable, so be prepared to watch each hand be either unveiled or mucked; and the best part is that you get to see the winners hand again! Again, this is my only gripe with the game, and I’ve spent well over a week playing it almost daily.

As a multiplayer game, this is sure to bring some friends together for some online poker who might not otherwise be able to play together, and at that point the pacing of the game isn’t really that important. As a single player game, if you can put aside the duration of the tournaments and look at the AI that the game has in the form of the Pros, then this game really succeeds in my opinion. Tight-Aggressive players are very different than Bully style players, and the developers have really nailed the differences in play style. It’s nice to see that level of attention in a poker game rather than some AI which simply relies on crunching numbers rather than play as an actual human would, and that’s what we have in Full House Poker.

Score 8.0

Platform reviewed: Xbox 360

– Jeff Paramchuk

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Comments

  1. Mark says

    I share you pain with the troubles of setting up a poker game in real life. A lot of my friends are not that into poker, and as a result it’s hard to get together for a game. Even when we do, they usually don’t take it seriously at all so it becomes a lot less fun and more frustrating. With Full House Poker I can just hop on and play with other people who are just as interested in poker as I do, and I won’t even have to feed them :P

  2. says

    Nice review!

    The only thing I’m worried about are boosters, who cheat by collaborating online. I don’t think that this is going to be a problem now, but should they ever introduce real prizes I’m sure it’s going to be one! An hour seems really a bit long for an arcade game session, but I’m sure it depends what kind of player you are.

    I don’t miss 1 vs. 100! I loved it too until the day I was chosen as “The One” and got booted from xbox live thanks to their buggy server with three jokers left right before the 5000 points mark. I was so angry, especially after dealing with MS who even admitted that it was their fault, but ultimately couldn’t do anything for me because it still had the beta label slapped on and the terms of service specifically said that they can’t be held responsible for technical difficulties. On top of that I got tons of inflammatory live messages saying things like I’m an idiot and so on, because all they saw was that I didn’t answer the next question at all. A question that was pretty easy,too. Still have a huge gripe with MS about that!

    Thanks for the contest! I tweeted too @phantoms_heart

  3. Linda says

    For your complaint about the time you’re required to commit to a single tournament, maybe Microsoft will update it in the future where every time you fold a hand you join a new table? I’ve heard of some recent online poker service that implements a system like that, which sounds like it can really speed up the pace of the game.

  4. mirpkered says

    This is pretty interesting. I’ve read probably about 5 reviews for this as of now. Everyone of them are nothing but great and I’m really interested in picking this up. However, I’ll jump in it to win it here as well.

    I hope that Lady Luck shines on me with this one. Twitter handle is @mirpkered

  5. HC says

    It’s nice to see that XBL gets a poker title that lets you play with other players online. I’ve been addicted to free poker sites like Pokerstar, Party Poker etc. Also really glad to see the avatar integration to the game, that way you don’t just see the same generic models every time which can be a real drag sometimes.

    @hma42

  6. Chronorayven says

    FHP looks interesting this game might get me to start playing poker… since I liked 1 vs 100 so this might be a good alternative to it. :P
    @Chronorayven

  7. Courrrrrrtneeeee says

    I love poker, and i love my XBOX! what a freaking awesome combination! and the chance to win prizes! WOO!!

    @coneecheewa

  8. louiedog says

    Your gripe kind of bums me out. That’s the thing I hate most about poker games, the waiting. When you’re playing with people the wait isn’t a problem. When you’re playing with AI, it’s just boring. Still, it looks like it’d be a ton of fun to play over Live.

  9. Eric says

    this game looks awesome – can’t wait to play it! Been a while since I’ve been interested in an Xbox Live game.

    Twitter: @starkeee

  10. angel says

    love this game i was in the beta but we did not get a copy i dont have the money ryt now hard times but would love to win it @betterdayz

  11. mowmow says

    its nice to have a poker game that would could play with our avatars. would love to try it out.
    @aznxchunky

  12. Jaypx85 says

    I downloaded the trial and I loved it. The review makes me want it even more. It’s a shame that I have more than enough points but I can’t buy it from my account. But I’ll figure out how to get it on a US account.

    Twitter: @jaypx85

  13. downsouthtigger says

    I wanna see how this uses the 1 vs 100 style MP into it. Aside from that its a poker game w/ avatars. I don’t know how exciting this one can really be since like stated in the review there are other games that have MP poker in it. Ah well I will act all excited and say great review cause I heard something about a contest? Oops :P

  14. says

    Nice review. Looking forward to trying it out at the very least but still a little bummed about no more 1 vs. 100.

    Twitter: @Geek_Lantern

  15. etc says

    Game seems like a blast to play with a friend or two. I like XP system earning you customizable things. Thanks for the contest.

  16. Neil says

    Loved 1v100 and I hope this is half as fun. Loving the idea of being able to play with your friends as they all have great avatar gear so to be able to in a table with those guys? that will look crazy!
    Tweeted to @agentcoop007

  17. eugaet says

    Count me as another who was disappointed by the 1vs100 cancellation (was there anyone who wasn’t?). This sounds like a step in the right direction, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I should be trying out the demo later tonight.

  18. Rob hestar says

    I used to love 1 vs 100 and even have all 200 achievement points. I was so sad when I heard it got canned,not cause I never was the one,but because I loved playing with friends and being able to dance!.

    FHP looks like another great game to play with friends to see who will get the bragging rights.l’m also glad to see the A.I in this game isn’t just stupid and will just make stupid calls and win(like with a 34 and get a damn 33 on the flop it seems always!).If only we could use ms points to play..but then again…We might have another one of those stories like the kid in Europe :P (BUT MOM I HAD POCKET ROCKETS I HAD HIM!!!!!!).

  19. VDH360 says

    I can’t wait to join a poker game with my plants vs zombies mask and my sandals, now that I think of it I could go dressed as a dog too! Time to search the marketplace for a dog suit for my avatar.
    (yes I could go dressed as Lady Gaga on poker face but that wouldn’t be cool enough)
    @VDH360

  20. Brian says

    I have been waiting for a game like this for a long time. All the poker websites have great action with carboard cutout avatars. Now I can use my kickass avatar… Only thing missing is $$$ real gambling. Hopefully soon.

  21. Nets101 says

    I used to love 1v100, playing it with friends and family was always a great time. Hopefully I get to have a great time with FHP as well! Thanks.

  22. dyeknom says

    Pretty disappointed about the 1v100 cancellation myself, but glad this has good MP online. Agree that 1 hr is entirely too long for a single player match for a game, should be a fast forward option through NPC hands.

  23. rogXue says

    I’m interested in this game. Hoping it takes to 1 vs. 100 and does prizes down that road. Can’t really beat it for $10 though!

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