Jim Bray's Car & Tech rants - publishing online exclusively since 1995

4 Best Poker Games for the PC

People playing poker on their PCs is nothing new. Dating back to the CD-ROM days of the 1990s and 2000s, such classic card games and board games have long been playable on the PC. Take, for instance, Sierra Online's "Hoyle Classic Board Games" collection, which features board games like Battle Ship and card games such as poker. But those old CD-ROM poker games pale in comparison to today's modern versions, whose gameplay captures the nuances of real poker.

These games are realistic enough that you'll need a better understanding of how poker is played in real life to win. And in order to have the best chance of beating the games, it pays to know the different poker terms, like all-in, big blind, small blind, and button, as this knowledge will help you strategize. For instance, knowing where the "button" is will tell you when you're the big or small blind, thus allowing you to plan ahead and come up with a good betting strategy. Knowing what it means to "call" or "raise" is important, too, so you can make the best decisions when it's your turn to do so.

Once you've learned poker's important terms and the basics of playing, it's time to put your knowledge to the test by playing the highly recommended games below:

World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets

This game is based on the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which helped drive the poker boom of the early 2000s. It's the sequel to World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions, and features the likeness and voiceovers of poker luminaries such as Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth. Star power aside, the game plays remarkably well, even a decade after its release. The pace is just right, the artificial intelligence (AI) poses a fair challenge, and the number of tournaments is enough to keep you engaged. There are even challenges, like "Beat the Brat," for extra fun.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY4EEaP8foc

Prominence Poker

Prominence Poker is perfect for casual gamers given its easy-on-the-eyes graphics, straightforward gameplay, and premise: You're a newbie in the town of Prominence and are looking to dethrone the mob boss of poker. You can even customize your character, all the way to choosing their tattoos, just for fun. Expect a tough time with your AI-powered opponents, too, as they can present a formidable challenge!

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp85JovHuG8

PokerStars VR

PokerStars VR is further proof of how far poker games have come. You'll need to invest in a virtual reality (VR) headset for this one, but it's worth it if you like playing poker. The game takes realism up a notch, giving you an immersive poker-playing experience where you can actually talk to your opponents, observe their movements, and pick up on their "tells" (yet another poker term to learn). The gameplay is "enthralling" and certainly "great for fun"!

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vsKm4BF7HY

Governor of Poker

The Governor of Poker series boasts a great design (cool avatars, varied playing venues, easy gameplay), along with a career mode where you start as a poker newbie and rise up the ranks to be a poker VIP (by winning a lot). You can also play online, where thousands of real poker players around the world are waiting for you to join in on the fun.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhN00M--IR4

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