Poker Club Review – Going by The Book

While I am not an avid gambler, I do enjoy the thrill of a good game of poker. Before the events of 2020, I was in Las Vegas for work and lost a good chunk of change at the tables. One of my colleagues (who won a lot of money) would always ask “What does the book say?” before he made a decision, referring of course to the proverbial manual on how to properly play poker. Poker Club on PS5 feels like it was made with this hypothetical “book” in mind. Advertising itself as an immersive poker simulation, the promise rings true from a developer like Ripstone that has made the most faithful chess games I’ve ever played. The game isn’t afraid to throw its own book at you, but does the experience come together to truly capture the spirit of the game? Let’s find out. A Cut Above Other Poker Titles, But Not Quite a Winning Hand Considering Ripstone’s other work on chess titles, I think what worked really well there was a combination of excellent presentation, detail, and customization. It also did a superb job of teaching how to play the game, which really helped the experience feel complete. The first thing I noticed in Poker Club was how it kind of throws you into it without much care for those who may not know the rules or strategies. There is a spot on the main menu to learn more about these things, but the delivery is simply walls of text instead of interactive training sessions or something more engaging. It also doesn’t help that the text is incredibly small on a 4K display. Not even squinting could save me here, I had to get up and approach the screen just to read what it was saying. In terms of onboarding or welcoming beginners, it feels very much lacking compared to what it could have been. Moving past this, exploring the menu reveals options for single and multiplayer modes, along with variations like single or multi-table tournaments, and a number of other variations. In all, you’ll have 10 variants to choose from, but thankfully it’s quite easy to just get into a game quickly. While the loading times are incredibly fast on PS5, the pace of the matches may be slower than some expect. People will take their time online in some cases, which is unavoidable, but the animations, the dealer themselves, and the other aspects of the game all flow in a relatively calm manner. The way the cards are dealt, the slow slide of someone placing chips onto the table, it all feels authentic but can be a little slower than other poker simulators. One thing I found particularly satisfying was how you could hold the right trigger to flip your cards up and check what you’re working with. The close-up of the hands and cards here really added to the immersion for me, making me feel like I was truly at a table, stealing a … Read More