Reviewed: October 19, 2007
Released: September 25, 2007
I first got into playing poker when I was a little kid, probably around 10 years old. Since that time Iíve enjoyed countless games of basic poker with my friends all the way through high school. Once I entered college I was introduced to the newest game of poker called ďTexas Hold íEmĒ which has become increasingly popular over the last 5 years or so. Now there are poker games online, on TV, video games, and tons of poker chips everywhere. This game is extremely fun and has really caught on throughout America.
Although Iíve mainly gambled online, I have also played some in real life with friends and at local gambling venues (which are illegal in my state and I donít recommend it). Two years ago there were a ton of Poker games to choose from, but today the Poker fad has faded some and the only console poker game available this fall is World Series of Poker 2008: Battle For The Bracelets.
The career mode has you select one of three difficulty levels: amateur, semi-professional or professionally ranked player, which in turn determines the number of events that you can enter and your starting bankroll. The object of the career mode is a lot like the WSOP (World Series of Poker) Tournaments held each year. Your goal is to expand your starting stack by winning tournaments and earning prize money. Furthermore, youíll want to earn points to achieve the ďPlayer of the YearĒ award. Good luck achieving that because youíll have to beat Phil "The Poker Brat" Hellmuth. Heís currently on top of the WSOP tournament boards and one of the greatest players of all time.
As you progress through the career mode tournaments you will not only be increasing your bankroll and points, but youíll also be earning a variety of awards. One of the items you can win are collector chips which you can then take online to wager. My experience online was limited, but there arenít a lot of games to choose from. If you join one, expect to wait a substantial amount of time for the table to fill up before the game begins.
New features in WSOP 2008 are Rival players who have defeated you online. This will affect your rankings on the overall leaderboards. Itís a neat feature that somehow failed get implemented into the career mode. One of the most entertaining things about WSOP on TV is watching rivals really go after each other. Itís a shame that it is only online because I doubt many people will be playing this game online in a month.
Other WSOP 2008 features include several variations of poker, including Razz, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. You can even play blackjack and video poker. It also has excellent tutorials for beginners and people who want to improve their game. Unfortunately a lot of the videos are online.
Other features include No Limit Hold 'Em against specific pros, the ability to create your own custom games and tournaments. It also has a great beginnerís tutorial for learning how to improve your game. Just make sure you know the general rules ahead of time.
Iíll be blunt. This is probably the worst looking game I have seen on the system thus far. Itís pretty good for a poker game (in fact itís probably the best), but it could have been a lot better. The character models arenít bad, but they havenít changed from last yearís game. You can still customize your characters looks, but the number of options are limiting.
When itís all said and done this game looks as good as it has to. There is the occasional moment when it slows down, but it doesnít last long. If you can look past the graphics you will be rewarded with a truly fun poker experience.
While the commentators seem to be professionals, they are pretty bland and tend to repeat themselves at time. Characters in the game make comments related to how the game is going and you get to assign your characterís voice type. Itís a big upgrade from previous version and I was happy that different characters have their own unique personalities.
There are about six different background music tracks to select from or you can randomize them. They really should have included a rocking assortment of background tunes to listen to because itís making me wish I had a custom soundtrack option. The standard card dealing sounds and chip noises are the main sound effects youíll hear throughout your quest to become the champion.
There are a lot of tournaments in this game (43 in all) which will take you a lot of time to beat. Itís not easy becoming the world champion when the computer players around you play like real poker players. This is the first console poker game that I have played where I havenít left feeling cheated. The AI is exceptionally good and honest. They wonít win every turn and you wonít win every turn. In the end, the AI was done in such a way that you always blame yourself for loosing and not the computer for cheating.
With all the different features included in WSOP 2008 itís easy to get your moneyís worth. This is especially true if you have a friend who owns a PS3 and is willing to compete with you online. With the lack of any online players, it makes it really hard to play this game online.
At $50 this game is overpriced and youíd be better off just playing the free games on the Internet. But with its excellent single player tournaments, I can easy see people buying this game at $20 or $30.
This is the single best console poker game I have ever played. Itís still limited graphically and could use better background music, but the amazing AI makes this game what it is, realistic. It is the most entertaining single-player poker game available today, but I think itís still overpriced at this point.