World Championship Poker

Let's get something out in the open right off the bat. This game is NOT as good as playing poker in real life with beer and buddies. However, if you lack one or both of those and are looking for the best Poker game on the PS2 (also available on Xbox and Gamecube) then look no further than World Championship Poker.

Simply labeling it the best poker game on PS2 doesn't make it perfect however; far from it. WCP suffers from some glaring flaws particularly the almost useless single player portion of the game. A good question to ask yourself while playing solo is "What's the point?".  There is no career mode you pick from a quick game or a tournament. There are eighteen different poker variants you can play, which should provide variety for the avid poker fan, but pretty much everyone plays Texas Hold'em online. The AI in solo mode is probably the biggest flaw because the computer almost never bluffs. AI betting big? Fold because it's got you beat. It's almost like playing Poker against your mother. If only Vegas was as transparent.

Graphics are not very top-of-the-line in WCP.  The characters aren't the prettiest-looking people in the world, and even the cards and card tables look that great.  One of the nicer aspects is the ability to customize your own model at the beginning of the game.  With multitudes of clothing outfits and a bunch of changes you can make to the face, the character customization option is as good as any other top game out there.  You can thus design the character you'd like best to represent you in online play.

In fact, the only way to justify the $20 budget price is with online play. Here predictability goes flying out the window seeing as how you're playing against real people. The Sony Eye Toy camera can be used to view each other's faces while playing, but not recommended, seeing as how it causes serious lag issues, and thanks to the low quality of the picture you won't be able to tell if your opponent is bluffing or choking on a peanut. Keyboard and voice chat are also included and work much better than an actual camera.

The experience online, while not as fun as getting some friends together and playing intoxicated, is still fun and can be even better if you can get a good group of people together. Invite the wrong people however and the experience quickly sours as some people tend to take their sweet time betting. 3 minutes for every person per round? That adds up, and before you know it, several hours have ticked away and you've missed American Idol. The same rule applies in this game that applies in almost every online capable game. Find a group of people who play regularly and aren't annoying pranksters who don't know a thing about poker.  With its online feature, WCP can be a pretty fun game with the right group of people.

Don't buy this game if you don't have a Network adapter and are never planning on purchasing one. Take it online, and chances are if you have an interest in poker, you'll get your money's worth and enjoy this title. If you're buying it for single player action then you should like winning, because you won't EVER lose.

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