Playing poker has become a worldwide phenomenon. Its popularity has grown tenfold in the last 2 years with the release of TV poker channels such as that on ESPN and SkyPoker.
All you need to play poker is a pack of cards, but to be good at poker you need a cool, mathematical mind and a certain psychological ability to read your opponents play. The ability to put your mind to the test has been one of the biggest factors in the addictiveness of the game of poker, as people test themselves against poker virgins and the world's best players alike.
One of the many reasons why the poker industry has become so marketable and profitable is the many guises that poker games have been available in. Poker game box sets, for example, have been available for many years now. They include life-like poker chips and a table cloth to help recreate the saloon or casino experience. Together with the recent explosion of online poker and poker TV channels, this has provided a platform for poker to expand globally and enable us all to see poker as more than just a form of gambling.
As the age of technology moves forward, with advances in computer simulation and graphics, this has provided a more modern platform for playing poker.
As well as the many online poker sites available, there has also been an increase in the release of poker games on gaming consoles such as the Xbox and Playstation2. With the Xbox offering providing the ability to play online and offline. In the offline multi-virtual player option, it enables poker to be reached by those of us who do not own a PC or broadband connection, but are attracted more by the graphical interface and the poker gaming experience. It also allows people to test their skills at poker without the risk of losing money.
So where should you learn your craft if you want to get into the world of poker? And how do poker games on the console differ from the online experience?
Crave Entertainment, in conjunction with Coresoft developed the poker game for the Xbox. Many would question the need to purchase a poker application when there are many freely available poker games online that do not require pre-purchase. Well, this game does come into its own when you play with others online. But together with the ability to create your own virtual player characteristics, customizing everything from clothes to facial expressions, as well as the ability to create your own tables, this game does provide some of the experience offered by many of the traditional online poker sites such as VIP Poker Club and the IPN poker network.
World Championship Poker 2 for the PlayStation is said by far to be the best offline play in any poker game, with variations in game type and locations, as well as improvements in player intelligence, where you can meet aggressive, tight and midrange players.
However, offline game play is pretty poor on most console platform poker games. Artificial intelligence does not provide the same unpredictability as the true game of poker online, where you compete against real people with real thoughts and real money.
One element that poker on a games console allows you to do is learn your craft without spending any money. Though most online poker game sites allow you to preview a game or play for free, no online site provides the same level of graphics or customization as you can get on a game console.
Ultimately though once you have tried your hand at poker on a game console, it won't be long before you get the urge to pit your wits and test your mind against the current plethora of players visiting the thousands of online poker sites now available.
So games consoles achieve the ability to provide customization and improved graphics, but they do not provide the one of the most important factors that online poker sites provide. That is the experience and addictive ability to win money by beating a real player, with a real wallet. The 20 or so dollars you invest in a console game might be better spent investing in a game online, you're likely to gain better experience and potentially get a better return on your investment.