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Review: Poker Club (Xbox Series X/S)By Nayu At 18.09.2022 10:17

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Poker Club is exactly what it promises: poker. What it does to make it stand apart from playing it in real life or playing it for free on some browser, is that it emphasizes a very realistic presentation and offers a ton of customisation. Creating an avatar offers a substantial number of options to craft the coolest card shark imagination. RPG elements that allow the avatar to level up in ranks, further the range of accessories and ways to make the player reflect their own personal style.

The cosmetics are the driving force behind Poker Club. There is nothing else to hold the experience together, and an online connection is a requirement to play anything at all. Unfortunately, there is no way to play offline at all. No LAN line option or any kind of single-player mode. Ancient casino games on Super Nintendo Entertainment System always had some kind of amusing solo mode where there were some lite visual novel elements and decision making. It does seem like a huge waste for all the detailed character models to only be used for an online only experience.

Anyone who is interested only in online play will be happy to know that Poker Club delivers as promised. So much of online interactions lean heavily on the community, which happens to be mostly much older gamers. The tournaments and organization of who plays with who will recommend that users joining the Poker Club discord server. This over-reliance on "meta gaming" might be enjoyable for some, but it is not a good sign for any title that requires anyone having to mentally exit from the experience to manage other people's enjoyment from a phone.

This slows down poker matches to a crawl, and compounded with the drawn out animations of the realistic human models, it can be easy to nod-off during a round. This is the downside to the glossy and impressive visuals - every action takes much longer than if the presentation were minimalistic sprite-based cards that quickly appear and disappear. There is no energy to anything, and characters seem like they all took Dramamine, and all look bored. This is by far the biggest downfall of Poker Club; the glacial pace of matches, compared to playing with a real deck or a barebones browser version.

Poker is very simple to play, but playing any version of it that isn't with a real deck loses an element that can only be experienced with real people that sit together around in a table. Looking at opponent's faces and reading their expressions is something that can only be achieved with playing with them in person. Streaming with a camera is not the same, since people can hide their reactions much easier than they could when not in person.

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Final Score
[i]Poker Club[/i] is good for anyone interested in a very realistic looking poker sim with a big emphasis on tournament play. What you see is what you get, but it is much slower and more flashy than one might expect. The customisation options are impressive, but the beauty only goes skin deep.

6

/10

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