World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions

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World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions
Game: World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions
Platform: XBOX 360
Studio: Activision
Rating: 6/10

GAME DESCRIPTION: Building on last year’s most successful poker title and the number one brand in poker, World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions takes a story-based approach. Take a seat next to Chris “Jesus” Ferguson as his protégé, a new professional poker player. Test your skills against the world’s best poker players, in this invitation-only, winner-take-all tournament at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas. There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you. Raise the stakes with Xbox Live play – Host multi-table tourneys, read your opponents tells via camera footage, or even test your psychic skills by playing Blind Man’s Bluff.

PLAY: The thing about poker is how easy it seems to duplicate a poker game. The problem in the past has been that the AI has been weak and that can kill a game every time. Activision worked on the AI and made a game that isn’t as easy to walk right through as has been the case with other poker games. This year’s Tournament of Champions allows you to increase your skills and attributes so that your game doesn’t stay stagnant.
It’s easy to jump right into the World Series of Poker and start playing. Don’t expect to walk right in and start winning however. The AI is supped up this time around and they aren’t afraid to bluff. The AI is smart and has the ability to adapt too many different hands. They may guess what you are holding depending upon raises and other action or inaction.

The Tournament of Champions would have been more interesting if you had a tournament laid out over a year or set up in a career. If you are playing a football or basketball game you know what your season is going to be, however here you are not given that much information.

GRAPHICS: The character models and animations are good on the Xbox 360. There are a few glitches however. It doesn’t seem that all the animation matches the intended game play. For instance, there were a few times when the computer bet and the player didn’t put out the right amount of chips. It does get confusing.

SOUND: The commentary is decent and the music offers some interesting atmosphere.

FRANKLY: The World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions is one of the better poker games that have been released—but it could be better. It’s a good game—but not great. There is room to fix some of the mistakes such as the way the AI can become too predictable and the errors in animation.

+ Richie Wright