Poker is quickly becoming a pastime the world is participating in. With its many varieties and the opportunity to win lots of money, people are trying to get in on the action. Texas Hold’em is one of the more popular varieties of Poker. With world wide tournaments and news coverage, it is getting more popular every day. Unfortunately not everyone can get in on the action or afford to lose money. If you are looking for a quick fix for your poker addiction or you don’t want to take the chance of losing all your money, then you may find comfort in Saitek’s No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker.
- Clear and easy to play design
- Four play modes: Easy, Normal, Selective, Head to Head, to suit beginner to expert
- 3 kinds of opponent: conservative, aggressive and statistical
- Pocket sized ( 3.7” x 6.4”)
- Snap on cover displays poker hand ranking inside
Saitek has built-in features that will allow you to customize this game in many different ways. It has several difficulty settings which means if you are a beginner or an expert you can expect to enjoy the game equally as much. There are up to three computer players that you can play against and each one can have its own difficulty setting and its own style of play. The computer players even have the ability to bluff, which can easily keep you on your toes.
For beginners you can select the easy mode. This gives you three opponents to play against. In this mode the player in the top left is conservative, the top middle player is statistical and the top right player is aggressive. There is also a normal mode for more experienced players. In this mode the three player are created randomly and they are placed randomly at the table. So you could feasibly play against 3 conservative players or one statistical and 2 aggressive or any combination of the three styles. This stirs things up a bit to make it harder to guess who you are playing against. There is also a Head to Head mode, where you play against a single player of a randomly selected style.
Beginners also have the ability to request hints. When they do, the poker game will blink an arrow next to the button it thinks you should choose. This can be very helpful while you are learning to play the game.
One mode that would have been really nice to have would be multiplayer. Saitek could either have made it possible to link up several of these devices or simply allowed a person to pass around one game after each person takes their turn. I think this would have really added to the enjoyment factor of the game.
The game also comes with a helpful user manual. Unlike most manuals which only tell you how to set up a device and how to troubleshot problems, this manual also tries to give you the basics on how to play the game. The manual contains a ranking of the different poker hands, a list of poker terms, player actions and a short guide on how to play the game. A little further back is the description of the device and its functions and modes. Then it talks more about the rounds that are played and how the cards are dealt and the bets are placed. There is also a section of the manual that gives you the rules to the games and player tips. With the help of this manual a beginner can really begin to grasp the finer points of the game.
There is a nice auto power off feature that will automatically turn off the game if you let it sit for more than 5 minutes. If the game happens to freeze up on you, then there is also a small pin sized button on the back that you can press to reset the game.
The design of the game is ok. Even though it is considered a pocket game you are going to have a har
d time finding a pocket that it will fit into. With dimensions of 3.7” x 6.4” it is a bit too big to fit in anything but a coat pocket or bag. Part of the reason it is so big is because it is designed to be held with both hands. The buttons are strategically placed so they are easily reachable by your fingers.
You will find all the buttons you need to successfully play this game. Starting on the left you will find the new game, hint, credit and options buttons. The new game button will start a new game if held down for more than three seconds. The Hint button will flash an arrow over the button you should press, this only works when it is your turn. The credit button will show you the credit that is available. The option button lets you change the speed of the game or choose the type of game you want like head to head, easy, normal or custom.
Along the bottom of the poker game are four more buttons. They are fold, check/call, open/raise and enter/deal. For experienced poker players these buttons are self explanatory.
The right side has three more buttons. The Go/Stop, Sound and a navagation button. The Go/Stop button turns the game on and off, the Sound button turns the sounds on and off and the navagation button is for moving through menus and raising or lowering your bets.
The game is lacking several things that would make playing it much more enjoyable. For example the game has sounds and an on/off button for those sounds, but no volume control. There are some sounds that are quite loud and obnoxious. Some of the sounds you will hear are shuffling, winning music, button click noise and sighs from the other players. The sighs only start if you let the game sit for a long time.
Another control that is needed is a contrast adjustment. The game does not seem to be designed so a person can look at it straight on. Instead you need to look at it at about a 45° angle. With a contrast control you can adjust it so you can view it from just about any angle.
The last design issue I have to mention is not really that big of a deal, but it kind of bugs me so I will mention it. The On/Off button is labeled Go/Stop. With that label I thought it was just a pause button and it would leave the game on. Instead, it does both. It pauses the game but it also turns off the game. This can be nice, but confusing if you are like me and don’t read the instructions. I was looking for an On/Off button or switch and it was not until I read about the Go/Stop button that I found that it was the On/Off button.
One really nice thing about the design is that the game comes with a cover. Inside the cover is a ranking of the different poker hands. This can be helpful as a quick reference. The cover fits snugly on top of the game and is secure enough that it will not fall off. When you are playing the game the device will fit inside the cover for easy storage. The cover is not as tight in this position, so it will fall off if you don’t hold on to it.
For under $50 this is really a great buy; considering that you can easily lose that much in a real game of poker. This would also be a great training tool to teach you how to win more than you lose. With all the configuration settings and different difficulty settings you can use this to learn to play the game or just freshen up right before you play a real game. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to improve their game without taking the chance of losing alot of money, or to someone who just wants to learn how to play.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|