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RealDice WC Poker for PalmOS

Tue Oct 3, 2006 - 11:40 AM EDT - By Xious Sonenberg

Side of Aces to Go:

A First Glance at RealDice World “World Championship Poker” for PalmOS

It seems today that almost every American is sitting down to play a few hands of poker, whether it’s a neighborhood bar, some cheesy internet site, your local card club or casino, or at Dave’s house on Friday night. In this writer’s opinion, too many people are getting into the game with no idea of how to properly play.

If you really want to learn the ins and outs of poker, all of its swings, what hands to play and how to play them, then picking up one of the countless poker books at a bookstore is the best way to go.

Of course, no matter how much book learning you get in this world, you’ll still need practical hands-on experience to achieve your goal of being the next big winner on the WSOP Championships. So you'll need a way to access lots of poker players on the cheap, unless you want to start out your career or hobby by losing the rent money in one sitting.

Bar games are springing up all over the country, offering limitless amounts of free play for prizes or just for fun about any day of the week. This may work for the average Joe sitting around on his bum after work, but what about the savvy Treo user on the go?

Practical Practice

If you are an avid poker player, chances are you’ve already tried out some PalmOS poker games, but most of these pale in comparison to the actual experience of playing in a live game. Dull setting designs, poorly engineered opponents, or simply unimaginative game GUIs tend to be the trend with most of the Palm-based versions of the game.

Enter Multiplayer Championship Poker, part of the RealDice World suite of games. While MCP has been around for quite a while, until recently, only Treo 700w|x owners have been able to enjoy it. The PalmOS version is relatively new to the market, and works exceptionally well on the Treo 700p with its blazing fast Internet connection, though it will perform almost as well on a 650 if you haven’t yet upgraded to EVDO.

In addition to computer-opponent games, which MCP also offers, is a new Internet mode where you pit your skills against real people, some of which are Hold’em novices and some truly seasoned card sharks. This is a first for the Palm platform, and is the only game of its kind playable on non-Windows Mobile Treos.

Flopping Your Fix

No doubt, once you start playing Texas Hold’em, MCP's poker variant, you may wind up totally hooked, possibly addicted to playing. Having an app like this on your Treo is a way to satiate the urge to drop by your nearest casino or poker club and play for hours, and is certainly cheaper too.

First you’ll have to download and set up set up the 879K RealDice World, the tie-in interface to all of RealDice’s games either by syncing it from your computer to your Treo, or downloading it directly from the RealDice WAP site. After that, you have to separately download WCP through its interface. You’ll have two distinctive versions of the game, both distributed in one file that takes up 2079K of your Treo’s internal memory. At first, this may seem like a monstrous program, but the size is reasonable when you consider all it does.

The first option is to play against game-generated opponents where you are the only live player. MCP will create eight phantom players with slightly different attributes and light to moderate skill levels to play against. You can choose to run a one-shot game, where you get a token sum of $500 in play money, in which you either win all of the loot on the table or go home broke. If you go happen to chip-out empty, WCP will refill your bank account, but if you go flat repeatedly, your ‘banker’ will cut you off for a day.

If this isn’t your fancy, and you are looking for a more lengthy game play time, try out Career Mode where you keep playing, rolling over winnings from previous games, trying to make tons of cash by beating multiple tables.

Either way, you're still only playing against the machine, which in the end is no better than other games of this sort, though the graphics are intense and the interface is certainly a lot slicker than other games like this.

I found the AI players aren’t that intuitive, and are fairly easy to vanquish with even minimal poker skills, though admittedly I’ve been playing poker for a long time and have a good handle on the better strategies for winning. Really, the computer opponents tend to be “calling stations”, though a big raise pre-flop is almost sure to get a lot of folding going on.

After you've spent enough time practicing your moves, and get used to the game's gadgetry (buttons and other controls), much of which is smaller than it should be, step up to the interactive Internet game where you get to test your new found knowledge against real people with differing levels of expertise.

The live version offers several varieties, including a ring game that works like a normal casino game where you can get up and leave whenever you please, a multi-table tournament where you either win the big bankroll or cash out empty, or Sit’nGo tournaments, which is a cool feature but suffers from a lack of constant players. There are even tournaments for prizes, if you want to hop on that bandwagon. If you happen to sit down at an empty table, a robot player will appear to keep you company until a real person shows up.

When you belly up to the table, MCP will prompt you to choose a seat if more than one is open, and then select your gender. An avatar that represents you will pop into play, and its appearance depends entirely on your seating position, and can never be modified or altered to suit your preferences. For example, a male in seat two is always dressed in a brown suit, while seat four is a man who resembles a cross between Mister Magoo and Peabody from "Rocky & Bullwinkle."

I found this annoying, as I’d rather be able to select my appearance from a list as a preference, and let it carry over no matter where I wind up sitting, so I'd be easily recognized by my fellow players from game to game.

There’s also a biker dude, a crew-cut guy in an army shirt, an old balding man who resembles "The Simpsons" Mister Burns, and a whiz-kid with a pony tail and rad glasses, plus other less interesting selections.

The female avatars all look about the same, with fairly large, well, let’s say features, and the kind of low-cut dresses you’d expect to see a Bond girl wearing – not exactly what I tend to see in poker tourneys, but it’s about what I'd expect in a video game featuring female characters.

Of course, to use this mode you’ll need a Net connection, and you’ll also need a RealDice account. The interactive mode requires a membership that'll cost you $9.95 per month, though this isn’t needed to play the stand-alone, non-interactive pert of the game. As the game is presently still in beta, they are offering a discounted rate of $4.95 per month to early adopters who are willing to put up with some of the problems that beta software imposes, namely broken features and buggy code.

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Product Info
> Name Real Dice Word: Word Championship Poker
> Company RealDice
> Tested with Sprint Treo 650
> Tested with Sprint Treo 700p
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $19.95

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