It seems as though there are two kinds of poker video games: stripped-down, lazy efforts that were apparently developed in the hope that having "poker" in the title would bring in sales, and games created by hardworking developers looking to create the next addiction for virtual gamblers. Poker fans, listen up: the developers of World Series of Poker Hold'em Legend have made the good kind of poker game, just for you. In fact, this game runs circles around the vast majority of its competition on the App Store.
While the only version of poker you get with Hold'em Legend is Texas hold 'em, you do get several variations on the classic card game. The core game mode is called Legend Career, and in it you play through seven increasingly upscale venues with increasingly pricey buy-ins. Different venues offer different variations on Texas hold 'em, too. Video introductions of each venue play the first time you unlock a new area. Nine opponents greet you in each match, and some of them even have video intros, which gives them more of a personality.
If you're not already a card shark, fear not. This game is friendly to beginners and pros alike. Each variation of hold 'em is explained the first time you click on it, and none of them are hard to grasp. During play, a bar next to your cards gives you an idea of how strong your hand is based on the information available. Some AI opponents have "tells," which are presented as a question mark for a weak hand and an exclamation point for a killer hand, though unfortunately there's no quick-reference chart for beginners that explains which hands beat which.
Unlike many other mobile poker games, Hold'em Legend also supports multiplayer, which comes in two flavors: online multiplayer and local heads-up Bluetooth. Online multiplayer adds a lot to the game, since it allows for up to nine players to gather at a single table, using their limited time each turn to check, raise, or fold. This mode moves reasonably fast but still gives you enough time to make your decisions, and the active user base is big enough that you probably won't have to wait long for a game to fill up. There's no way to communicate to other players during the game, but considering the limited real estate on your iDevice's screen, that's not a big problem. In the heads-up Bluetooth mode, you face off against one other player locally. It works just fine, though it supports only two players, rather than the full table of nine. You can work around this issue by having your eight buddies click into an online multiplayer match at the same time, which will often make everyone join the same match.
If that weren't enough, Hold'em Legend has a ton of extras. The game offers seamlessly integrated online leaderboards, detailed personal stats, and a healthy number of achievements to unlock. You can even listen to your own music while you play. The graphics are clean, and the interface is simple and user-friendly. Whether or not you're a diehard poker fan, you'll find that this is a well-designed game that's worth the price.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.