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World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend joins the astronomical rise in popularity of poker over the last few years. Not only does it provide a game of real scope but it's also a lot of fun.
I've been looking at poker iPhone apps in some detail the last few weeks. With the rise of televised Poker and Casio games it is perhaps unsurprising that the three big poker games in the App Store are all Hold'em based and bear the branding of a successful TV franchise: World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend, World Poker Tour Texas Hold'em! and Poker Superstars III.
World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend is the cream of the crop. For starters, you actually get a proper game, with a sustained sense of purpose and progression and a decent amount of different options. Essentially you are a starting out player looking to make a name for yourself and build a decent bank roll as you work your way up from the humble setting of the local bar to the bright lights of Vegas and the World Series proper. You can play in sit-'n-gos, multi-table shootouts, circuit events and of course, when you get there, the World Series of Poker itself.
World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend offers much more scope in terms of gameplay than its nearest rivals and delivers far superior results in terms of its interface.
The visuals are really impressive, with crisp video intros, lush menus and well rendered venue screens all adding to sense of quality. When you get to the table, everything works well and is clear and easily understood. Although the betting setup is not as simple as the scheme I proposed above, World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend manages to make the innovative flick to fold and bet-size scroll wheel ideas thoroughly usable. Not only is the interface pleasingly well thought-out, but the AI works well too, with realistic shifts in subtlety and skill as you rise up through the various games. While the World Series itself doesn't present quite the challenge it would in real life, it does offer a satisfying and fairly realistic feeling big-event experience that makes the slog to get there feel worthwhile.
Something I wasn't sure about at first, but warmed to over time was the way that low level players give off 'tells' which manifest themselves as exclamation or question marks next to their cards. Obviously you can't invest too much in the 'read' - a bad hand can easily become a good one with help from a miracle turn card, and just because the player has a weak hand, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll lay it down to a raise. It's a nice idea, but it might seem more realistic if you had to learn the ability to read the tells over time, rather than being able to pick up on them from the start.
World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend offers much more scope in terms of gameplay than its nearest rivals and delivers far superior results in terms of its interface. It's not a perfect game or flawless poker trainer, you will find the odd strange play or annoying quirk here and there, but for the money I'd say it offers the deepest and most enjoyable off-line poker experience out there right now. What is more, seeing that it also offers an online multiplayer mode and a Bluetooth heads-up challenge for its £2.99 price tag, it's got to be the current best buy in the App Store for poker game fans.
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