Latest World Championship Poker Ships for PSP, PS2

The latest installment in the Howard Lederer-branded World Championship Poker franchise, World Championship Poker: All In, has shipped to stores, according to IGN.com.

Marcel Luske, Thomas Bihl, Erin Ness, Robert Williamson III, Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, Amir Vahidi, and Paul Darden join The Professor in this version, which includes a variety of games beyond Texas Hold'Em, including Five Card Draw, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha. The career mode also adds multi-table tournaments and recurring home games, as well as mixed games.

I haven't had an opportunity to play this release, but I played an earlier version of WCP, and like every other computerized poker game, it had its high and low points. The AI was competent, and it was pretty cool to zip around the globe to play in widely different home games and tournaments, but several minigames -- especially a maddening test of dexterity whenever you attempted to bluff -- took almost all of the fun out of the game for me and it is now gathering dust along Gun and Buns of Steel in my game and DVD drawer.

WCP:AI is currently available for PSP and PS2, and will ship for the 360 in October, but there are some rumblings at the IGN forums about the game locking up and preventing the player from winning a MTT that potential buyers may want to investigate before plunking down five WWdN tourney buy-ins for it. Even if you don't plan to buy the game, I'd suggest reading it, because it's nice to hear poker players complaining about something that is not a bad beat for a change.

Poker on Interactive Television - Coming Soon

For most of us born in the last third of the 1900's, gaming has been a huge part of our lives. As children we hit the arcades and played Pac Man, Centipede, and (my personal favorites) 1942 and Galaga. I remember being totally blown away by the technology that brought us Dirk the Daring's adventures in Dragon's Lair - though I never seemed to have enough quarters to make it very far in that game. We had an Apple 2C in our house, and my brother would endlessly program mazes or Pong-like games for us to play when we weren't busy tossing cartridges into our Magnavox Odyssey console. (Yeah, yeah. Laugh all you want. I wasn't 'fortunate' enough to have Coleco, Intellivision, or Atari during those years.)

As teenagers, the arcade games became much more advanced, as did the home games. People were purchasing Sega and Sony Playstation, and home computers were becoming much more common. Tetris, Solitaire, and Hearts were being played on a daily basis. We went through various versions of Zelda, Quake, and Castle Wolfenstein, as well as Might and Magic, PGA Golf and Civilization before ever logging in to play backgammon, poker and chess online.

Now, there is such a demand for games that there seems to be something new on the market every day. You can play games on handhelds, through your cell phone, on your Xbox 360 or PS3; the list goes on and on. Now, the latest buzz is interactive TV (iTV).  In an interview on Tracy Swedlow's ITVT Newsblog, Jonathan Boltax, VP of Programming and Service Management at PixelPlay, discusses what the casual poker player has to look forward to without ever leaving the couch.

In the interview, Boltax revealed that his company will soon be launching an interactive TV game based on the World Poker Tour brand in both North America and Europe. Customers will have the ability to play the game directly through their television sets in multi-player mode, or against an AI bot in single player mode. Boltax describes the single player mode as being a very similar experience to what you see in the WPT on television. Your character would play Episodes 1 through 12, with each level becoming progressively more challenging. On a personal note, I still maintain that it is pretty hard to develop AI that will really challenge a seasoned poker player, but I am fairly confident that for the majority of casual players out there, it will be quite a satisfying experience.

In addition to poker, the company offers many other games including a classic arcade game lineup that you can purchase on a play-per-day basis. Some of the available games include Asteroids, Centipede, Pile Up, Chains and Sudoku. Many of these services are already available in various locations around the world - though as far as I can tell there has been no word yet on which cable or satellite providers will be offering the World Poker Tour iTV experience. If it is something you are interested in though, it never hurts to help create the demand - contact your cable or dish service providers and request it.

For more information, you can read the full interview with Jonathan Boltax through the 'read' link below.

(Special thanks to Davis for the tip)

WPT Texas Hold'em Pinball

It's official. Poker IS everywhere. 

Apparently having their logo on everything from shirts and hats to coffee mugs and decks of cards wasn't quite enough - now the World Poker Tour has entered the pinball machine market.

This seems kind of strange to me, but to be fair I probably haven't played a game of pinball since I last heard The Who sing about that Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Kid - however, I just can't help but think this seems so...seventies. Every time I look at the picture I conjure up visions of rumpus rooms, record players, and fake wood paneling. I imagine that Pac Man will soon be making a return, this time gobbling up poker chips rather than little white dots - but I digress.

The game features the voices of WPT hosts Vince Van Patten and Mike Sexton, as well as hostess Courtney Friel - and for the record, you do actually attempt to play Hold'em as you bounce the ball off the bumpers.

If you are a big fan of the silver ball, (or anything and everything WPT) you can check out the full product information through the 'read' link below. 

Stacked DVD Available with Pre-Order

Bonus Alert:

If you are planning to pick up a copy of the video game Stacked with Daniel Negreanu, you may want to pre-order it through any GameStop or EB Games location across Canada or the US to get a free bonus DVD.

According to PSP Updates, the DVD "Inside Stacked" features interviews with professional poker players Carlos Mortensen, David Williams, Erick Lindgren, Evelyn Ng, Josh Arieh, Jennifer Harman and of course, Daniel Negreanu. You will also see some behind-the-scenes footage of the development and production of the game itself, including the Poki Artificial Intelligence system used which adapts to the user's playing style. The game will be available for Xbox, PS2, PSP and your PC for a suggested retail price of $29.95.

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