Texas Hold’Em Poker: an ace in the Wii’s pocket?

A wistful look back at Nintendo’s fascinating foray into the world of online poker

A wistful look back at Nintendo’s fascinating foray into the world of online poker

Remember all those smooth and sophisticated adverts promoting online poker, the ones that used to feature suave-looking male models filmed in black-and-white strutting around with packs of cards while an American- sounding voiceover talked about how cool and grown up playing card is?

Nintendo clearly didn’t or at the very least chose to ignore them and it’s a good job too, because otherwise a game like the addictive, yet predictably-titled Texas Hold’Em Poker would never have been made.

By now you are probably well aware what the game revolves around – the world’s most popular poker format – but what you maybe don’t realise is just how much fun playing cards can be on Nintendo’s activity-focused magic-wand-waving console the Wii. That’s because this particular incarnation of poker for the gaming generation got somewhat lost among the other big releases of its time – and the growth of Full Tilt poker among others – and it’s a crying shame too.

Debuting in retail outlets way back in September 2009, Texas Hold’Em poker promised to deliver gamers an arcade simulation of the game that captures all the intensity of a real tournament. Whether it achieves this particular aim is debatable – I for one have never found myself waving a white-coloured remote control during a session at the green felt – but one thing is certain: it’s a fun way to play the game.

If variety is the spice of life, then consider Texas Hold’Em Poker as the gaming equivalent of a very, very good chilli con carne chocked full of different gameplay options that are sure to have everyone from newcomers to seasoned card sharks salivating. Whether it’s getting involved in a high-stakes tournament, playing a cash game or opting for the special Heads-up mode also available, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll probably win a few dramatic hands here and there to boot.

Those new to the world of cards are happily catered to as well, with special tutorials available on everything from the rules of the game and betting to bluffing – that’s right, they’ve really covered everything! 

What I love most about this game is the imaginative venues players travel to within the virtual reality world that the various characters occupy. These include everything from the James Bond-inspired casinos of Monaco to the bright lights and big city sentiment of New York, with each ‘venue’ adding to the fun and excitement of this arcade outing. You can choose from one of six preset characters on the game, or better yet import your very own Mii character to use in this most fascinating of settings. Throw in the presence of ‘real’ competitors who will look to gain any mental advantage over you (as is the norm in the world of cards these days) and it’s easy to see why the less-cynical poker fans out there could fall in love with this understated classic.

And I haven’t even gotten to my favourite element of this game yet – online mode. This canny addition to Texas Hold’Em allows you to play against up to five friends from the comfort of your sofa. Then it’s just a choice of either organising your own online tournaments or joining one of the many bigger games taking part online. At the time it represented the dawning of a new era for online poker play, but ultimately this was one deal that many fans opted to fold on.

If only they had persevered, then perhaps now we would all be enjoying internet poker from the comfort of our very own living rooms. Oh wait, I forgot about Full Tilt

About The Author

Adam "Fanatyk" Wojciechowski
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I am a co-founder, admin and manager of this site. From time to time I also write articles here. In real life, I am doing my Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Management at the University of Edinburgh. Besides gaming I am an avid cyclist, fountain pen enthusiast and windsurfer.

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