Apple released a Texas Hold’em application that has most console gambling games blown out of the water. The game is fast-paced and you can have a ‘table view’, which shows each person play-by-play. The characters are almost realistic and the playing system is intuitive.
There are plenty of stages to play in, but only one is available right off the bat. In order to ‘progress’ in the game and have more options, you need to win a fair amount of money to ‘buy in’ to the other rooms. I presume the other rooms have something like more attractive players and better AI, but to be honest I really really suck at Texas Hold’em. The AI can be extraordinarily predictable, and I have yet to encounter a player who wasn’t betting loads of money due to their amazing hand.
To jump back to the remark about other systems, I had the chance to play a game for the Wii and PC, and even some of the free games online, and this game is by far the most interesting. The ability to view from your position’s seat is awesome, and the view can be changed to an above-the-table view by flipping iPhone to the side. There are certain bits of interaction that can be very interesting while viewed from the table. Users can tap the screen twice to hold, the betting system is actually a scroll-wheel which makes choosing your amount very simple, and I’ll admit that more often then not you’ll find me just betting all my money.
One thing that’s superb is the ability for multiplayer games. This makes it far more interesting because facing off against the banally repetitive AI gets pretty lackluster. Some people have complained about the lack of betting with actual currency, but Apple most likely didn’t bother with that legal humbuggery because of all the safety issues (stolen iPhones, hacking, et cetera).
Pros: The interface is fun and intuitive, and the graphics are decent. The game feels like a much faster pace as well when viewing ‘from the table’, and it makes it quite exciting.
Cons: The AI gets really old, really quickly. Despite the moves being shifted around randomly, the players are still very predictable. The graphics could definitely be prettied up, as seen with the chips (there is no variation).
Bottom Line: This application is awesome for the casual Texas Hold’em, and playing with friends is a sharp touch. While the graphics are pretty dry at times, they’re far superior to anything I’d expected, and the other players can be very interesting. There are a lot of ways to stay busy with this game, and for $4.99, this is a great buy.