Pure Hold ‘Em brings a Texas-Sized gaming experience. I must admit, I had reservations about a Texas Hold ‘Em game. I never fully understood it, and I did not want to lose my shirt learning the game the hard way in the real world. Luckily, one does not need a credit card to play this game, and scores are not represented as any type of currency. Although having credits at the beginning of the game, this title does feature microtransactions where more credits can be bought.
The microtransactions range from $2.99US for 10,000 credits, to $19.99US for 10,000,000 credits. The fact that this a paid title that contains microtransactions does hurt its appeal. Being a “Green Horn,” the Tutorial was the best place to start. Here the rules are explained about how the cards are dealt to the players at the table. Once the “River” has been dealt, the player’s cards are shown explaining the different possible hands, and which hands are better than others.
Then the Tutorial goes on to explain how betting works, because winning chip credits is the name of the game here. Now was the time to test my new knowledge in a regular game. Single player mode has seven AI opponents at the table. Play continues until the lobby is exited, or all the credits are gone. I was now ready for multiplayer. Once a table was found, I only had to wait until the current hand was finished before being allowed to play. I quite enjoyed that feel of bellying up to the table and buying in.
Similar to single player, buying in and opting out of a table is a matter of choice as the table remains open as long as there are players. Then there is Tournament Multiplayer. In a Tournament there is a beginning and end to the game. The table acts as a lobby until the eight player limit is reached. Then players are eliminated as they lose all their chips, and one player is left with all the chips. I liked the fact that after I had busted, I had the option to stay and watch the rest of the game.
In all modes there are six different tables each increasing the amount of Buy In, as the table’s skill level increases in difficulty. Multiplayer is paced well as players have a fifteen second time limit to decide what to do when it is their turn. When the limit is exceeded, the player’s hand is folded and any bets are forfeited. This makes the game fast and fun, while preventing it from becoming a staring contest. The deck, chips and table are all customizable with many different colors and patterns to choose from to reflect the player’s style.
The first thing that stands out is that the game is played in a first-person view of the table. There is a free camera that can pan around the table and the other players are represented by a marquis with their gamertag and pic on it.
There are little distractions as the background has the look of a casino, but there is no background movement to take away from what is happening on the table. The soundtrack is done well with many different genres of music to lend to the ambiance of the game.
Sound effects add to this with realistic knocks when a player checks, chips clicking against each other, and the sound of the cards being shuffled and dealt. Continuing with the tutorial aspect, winning hands are highlighted, and the name of the hand is given, e.g. Three-of-a-Kind. This helps in recognizing winning hands in the future.
Pure Hold ‘Em is a great gaming experience. It is done well enough that it can stand on its own without being part of a collection. It is accessible enough for a person that is new to Texas Hold ‘em, and can be appreciated by experienced players as a well thought out game.
The time limit on moves in Multiplayer is the best example of this. The amount of customization available helps to make the game special as it allows the player to make the experience their own. The selection of music simply adds to the feel of sitting in a casino trying to bluff your way to victory.
The only Con is the microtransactions on a paid title that could pose a threat to problem gamblers. From a strictly gaming stance, Pure Hold ‘Em is the Texas Hold ‘Em experience that you have been waiting for.
Pure Hold 'Em Review on Xbox One
Review Code Provided by Ripstone PR