The last thing the world needs is another shitty poker video game.
For years game makers have been shoving bad poker game after bad poker game down people’s throats with no real idea of what makes the card game so compelling.
Pure Hold’em, an upcoming game for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, is different than its competitors in one major way:
It’s not really a poker video game.
It would be much more accurate to call it a poker simulation.
The team at VooFoo Studios has painstakingly re-created the entire poker experience with one of the most detailed poker tables you will ever see along with individual chips, cards and seats.
You even hold down LT to peel back your hole cards so there’s a little bit of a sweat to see what you have.
The game also offers most major poker variants including cash games and tournaments with various stakes.
It's clear the developers have a good understanding of poker as they even include basic strategy tips in the loading screens.
Host Private Games Over Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus
Perhaps the killer feature of Pure Hold’em, however, is the ability to host private games.
That means you can enter party chat with a collection of your buddies and start a private game that no one else can play.
This is nothing less than the complete virtualization of the home game experience. With a dealer too!
Sure you can play home games on PokerStars or other real-money poker software but those sites don’t have voice chat built in and there's a good chance your casual poker-playing friends don't have the software. They do have a PS4 or Xbox, however.
It’s the perfect way to kill some time while you are waiting for your other Xbox Live friends to show up to play heists on GTA V or something.
Make no mistake: This is a gateway to actual poker.
It’s a great way to learn the poker hand rankings and experiment with different plays. Ultimately If you’re crushing Pure Hold’em, why wouldn’t you try an actual poker game for a few bucks online.
Not Without Issues
Of course the game has some problems.
Some players might be turned away by the lack of glitz and glam. You might call it dull but that’s missing the point in a game called Pure Hold’em.
Another issue is a floating camera that makes us feel a little queasy sometimes with lightning fast pans to each player.
It’s also pretty slow and anyone that’s played real online poker will probably find some of the animations frustrating.
The game is still in beta testing, however, and may see some changes before the finished product drops in the near future.
There’s also the question as to whether the game is simply too “pure” for casual gamers. Once you take away the frills, it might not seem as exciting to new players.
Regardless it will be interesting to see if the gaming communities on PS4 and Xbox are ready for a more hardcore experience.
Here's the stylish trailer for Pure Hold'em: