Hoyle Texas Hold 'em delivers the very best of Hold 'em style poker for the Xbox 360. Choose to play with up to 9 friends or against any combination of AI and Live players. Customize your game type by choosing limit, no limit, spread limit and table limit style games. Full support of Microsoft's Avatars let's you bring your own style to the game.
Besides being the punchline to baudy jokes, poker has become quite popular in recent years, particularly Texas hold 'em, a variant which splits hands among dealt cards to the player and community cards which the dealer holds and everyone may use. Developer TikGames is no stranger to Texas hold'em having already released a game of it on Xbox Live Arcade appropriately titled Texas Hold 'Em. So, what's TikGames doing in the indie section now and why would anyone buy an indie version of a XBLA title?
Precisely because it's the better game. In addition to the new license, TikGames' Hoyle Texas Hold 'em supports ten on-line player tournaments instead of eight and now includes avatars though apparently at the expense of losing Xbox Live Vision camera support. Seeing as the camera is primarily a means of exposing one's genitals to others while playing games, this is no real loss, and saving 400 points over the XBLA title makes it a real win-win situation. Although no indie game supports achievements, Hoyle's game does as some do by featuring badges for those who have come to require virtual pats on the back to make a game enjoyable.
Hoyle's Texas Hold 'em is a very slick indie game and quite thorough with its options. Players can adjust a number of options to tailor the game to his or her liking, including the limit type and betting limits. The AI offers three skill settings along with an "adaptive" mode which adjusts itself to the player's skill level during the round. In game, players can access all kinds of stats to see how much money has been won and lost by individual along with seeing how often he or she wins during pre-flop, flop, turn, river, or showdown. The interface is clean and easily accessible with checks, bets, and other expected actions mapped to the controller's face buttons, and the game keeps things moving at a clip even during a ten player tournament with nine AI drones.
TikGames have a winner with Hoyle's Texas Hold 'em, and though I passed on the purchase not being much of a poker fan myself, this is a great game of Hold 'em and certainly the best on the 360. The combination of sharp graphics, professional design, and variety of options make this indie game every bit its Xbox Live Arcade cousin's superior. Hoyle Texas Hold 'em is guaranteed to be a real treat for fans of what ESPN insists is a sport and should find itself getting plenty of play thanks to the speedy single player matches, challenging tournaments, and on-line multi-player against up to nine friends.