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Downtown Texas Hold'Em

For: Mobile

Jamdat did consider anglicising their latest poker game, but 'New Town Milton Keynes Hold Them' just didn't have the same appeal

Product: Downtown Texas Hold 'Em | Developer: Jamdat Mobile | Publisher: EA Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Reviewed on: V800 other handsets | Version: Europe
Downtown Texas Hold 'Em Mobile, thumbnail 1
Forget football and cricket, it seems that Poker is the people's game at present. Thanks to the exponential growth of internet gambling together with dedicated TV channels and general media coverage, there are now recognisable professional players, celebrity endorsements and the apparently genuine opportunity of earning a 7 figure sum if you've got some talent (or can at least bluff convincingly).Considering all this it should come as no surprise that there are now several mobile versions of the pursuit for avid amateurs to try their hand at, of which Jamdat's Downtown Texas Hold'Em is the latest.

Although you can play single hands, the real meat of the game is to win your way through a succession of tournaments en route to becoming the world champion. Each tournament pairs you with 3 different computer players and different basic stakes (minimum value of bets and raises) but demands the same outcome, that you relieve your opponents of all their cash in order to progress. The artificial intelligence of your opponents is suitably varied (some guys will be aggressive and bluff frequently, others fold until they've got a good-looking hand) and works well, requiring that you read their behaviour and take an appropriate tactic to deal with it, such as raising the stakes on the bluffers when you have a half-decent hand.

Whilst the visuals are decidedly functional (only the tables really change for each tournament), the interface is slick, allowing you to easily select your move (hold/call/fold/raise, etc), whip through hands at a respectable pace and help you to get to grips with your options if you're a relatively new player (there's a help menu with an explanation of basic rules to). Indeed, the game as whole undeniably offers a fair simulation of Texas Hold' Em poker.

What it doesn't offer are, to our minds at least, the two biggest attractions of playing poker in the first place, namely the social element (competing against other real people and all the chatting, barracking and bluffing that goes on) and the small matter of actually winning some cash at the end of it all. Anybody who's played online or against other players round a table will know that the knowledge of a real opponent, coupled with ongoing chatter adds another dimension to the experience. Likewise only those who've taken the extra step and played for cold, hard cash (and Pocket Gamer isn’t endorsing this) will understand the additional frisson and pressure actually having your own hard-earned at stake adds. Without either of these elements a mobile simulation needs some interesting hooks if it is to offer sustained entertainment and quite frankly Downtown just doesn't have them. Once we got knocked out of the world championship we haven't been back and it’s hard to see how anyone but the most hardened cardsharp will keep this one up their sleeve for long.
Downtown Texas Hold'Em
Reviewer photo
Chris James | 24 September 2005
Deals a good hand of poker and it’s AI is certainly up to bluff, but lack of additional frills or gambling thrills means it folds too cheaply.
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