It’s time to go all in with the latest in the Pure series – Pure Hold’em. This one is a poker game so if you are a fan of poker, as is my case, then read on you because you are going to love this review.
There are different variations of poker, and I have played all of them, with Texas Hold’em being the most popular and well-known variation and a personal favorite of mine. I am absolutely elated that a quality PlayStation 4 Poker game has finally arrived!
As you start to play the game, seven opponents are placed around the table, and you can see their names, who has folded, checked, called or raised and by how much. I like the presentation for Pure Hold’em since it forces you to concentrate more on the game. I have played Poker Night 2 and as much as I loved the game and all the humour I found all the chatter a bit distracting.
The rules of the game are simple: each player is dealt two cards face down, which these are your hole cards – these are private and for your own viewing only. Then three community cards are placed in the middle of the table – this is known as the flop. The last two cards are known as the turn and the river, and these make up the five community cards available to players.
The aim of Hold’em is to make the best hand using your hole cards and the community cards, and bluff your way to victory with the best or worst hand possible as you win more chips than your opponents. I have won lots of games with a so-so hand, and just like in real life it is all about trusting your instinct and your opponents believing your bluff!
Upon starting, each player places an X amount of chips. Doing so is called a small blind, and the player next to the small blind (clockwise) must pay a big blind that is always double the small blind, the price of blinds increase with each buy in. In tournaments, each blind increases every ten minutes up to a maximum of eight times the initial amount. New players must pay a dead blind that is always the same price as a big blind. The player next to the big blind (clockwise) always plays first, and that is the rules of Texas Hold’em. Once you get the hang of it, it is very fun and addictive!
You have six offline tables where you can play against AI opponents, as well as full multiplayer tables, open and tournament tables, and you can play tournaments in offline mode as well you – you have the best of both worlds in here! On top of all those modes, you have a minigame called High/Low in which you have to guess the lower or higher card correctly – a bit like the Play Your Cards Right TV show. You can use the minigame to earn credits so that you can play in the big leagues, and the only problem is it is limited to one free play per day or you pay 6,000 credits to open it up.
Pure Hold’em has an XP levelling up system in place, so after every game you earn XP for playing hands, good bluffs, amazing profits, and other factors. I hope VooFoo continues to add more content and modes, maybe include other variations of poker such as Five-Card Draw, Stud or maybe Shanghai. A full career mode would be cool too. The possibilities are endless!
The only thing I didn’t like about this game is the inclusion of microtransactions. If you don’t want to spend the time and effort playing your way fairly into the big leagues, you can pay your way in there with real money. This might be a big turn-off for people, but considering this is a video game take on a game of chance where real bets keep things interesting so you might feel different about this.
Aside from that, Pure Hold’em is a fantastic poker simulation and definitely worth the asking price. You have to work hard to get to the top (or spend real money to help you get there). The biggest tables have a 1 million buy-in, so you will have to play a lot of games to win big money for the big leagues! And, as always, this being a Pure release means that the graphics for the game are fantastic. They’re so life like, realistic and polished that they help to immerse you in the game.