Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ripstone Games
Developer: Voofoo Studios
Texas Hold'em isn't nearly as popular as it was about 10 years ago but it's still extremely fun to play with friends or even in a casino. Pure Hold'em is exactly what you would expect, a Texas Hold'em game with all the basic features you would expect out of a game involving playing cards.
Pure Hold'em includes Texas Hold'em poker and nothing more. There are no rule variations or different styles of poker included. While that might not matter to some, in the year 2015 I would like a bit more for my money. The game retails for $19.99 which seems like a bit much for what you get. Included is a single style of poker play which can be played offline, online single table, or online tournament as well as some tutorials. You are also given the option of changing the styles of cards, chips, felt color, and felt design… that's about it. Having played card games for the PC years ago that included many more game variations I was expecting a bit more out of this title, especially at its retail price.
The gameplay was a little different than I expected compared to some previous titles I have seen and played in the past. The other players at the table with you are iPad like devices on the table rather than full body avatars. Inside each “iPad” device is the picture from the players PSN account as well as their remaining chip count. The game is presented through first person so you are looking at the other players “iPad” devices as they make their plays. When you would like to look at your cards you hold down the L2 button. I found it a little odd that they wouldn't just keep your cards open on the bottom of the screen. I can understand they would like it to feel like you are truly sitting at the table and pressing the button each time you are using your hands to look at the cards. That emotion just doesn't work because once you look at your cards and make your play, then the camera pans to the next player up. Without a fully rendered character it just feels like I am playing a computer. Hopefully they will at least patch in the option to keep the cards represented in the bottom of the screen at all times.
Minor gripes aside, I did enjoy my time with Pure Hold'em. It's a Texas Hold'em game and it gives you what you would expect if you were looking to play Texas Hold'em. The online play was very easy to start up and join a table. Something I found interesting about selecting to play online was the option of table limits and buy-ins. So you have a running tab of money, and that money is used to play at whichever table you would like. That includes online and offline play. If you don't have enough money to play at the table you would like, you may purchase additional in-game currency for actual money. I find this rather stingy but the world of micro-transactions is continuing to grow and doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.
I would say if you are a gigantic Hold'em fan and you need you poker itch scratched on the PS4 then consider Pure Hold'em. Otherwise I would pick up a cheaper card game compilation on PC/Mac or wait for a PlayStation Store sale. Either way only poker fans need inquire.