Poker Superstars II
In recent years the game of poker has gone from a guilty, secretive pleasure enjoyed by a less than salubrious crowd to a global phenomenon. Online versions took off first, triggering renewed interest in tournament games. Stories now abound of folks ditching their day jobs to take up poker full time and making a mint. You could jack in work for Poker Superstars II if you wanted, but it wouldn’t get you very far. The money’s all virtual and the game is strictly for fun.
Funkitron makes a range of computer board games, so it’s an old hand when it comes to translating the real world to bits and bytes. This shows in the slick interface sported by Poker Superstars II. Fire it up and you’re invited to invent a card sharp pseudonym to play your games with. You can upload a custom photograph too if you like.
There are two levels of play, Amateur and Superstar. We plumped for the latter and pressed ahead with a few straight rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em. You can choose to play a full season or limit the pot if you prefer.
The playing table is clean and clutter free, unlike some online games with their bloated animations and statistics. If you’re a poker novice you may wish to leave the tips on to take you through the rudiments – we found them a bit annoying. A simple system means you can advance the play quickly by tapping the space bar, or use the keyboard to call, raise, fold or, if your cards are strong, go all in.
Seasoned players may find the AI a little predictable. The computer opponents are based on champion players from the TV series of the same name, but they bluff often and play loose. We beat the suckers solidly in round after round. Still, as a lunchtime diversion to hone up on your tactics, Poker Superstars II is worth the meagre asking price.