World Championship Poker 2: Featuring Howard Lederer E3 2005 Impressions

We see if Crave's poker sequel has the nuts, straight from the E3 2005 show floor.

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E3 2005 featured no fewer than four booths with a poker table on display, letting attendees sit down and have a few go-arounds with poker celebrities. If that tells you anything, it's that poker is big, and everybody's trying to get in on the trend. One of the first publishers to take this burgeoning trend seriously was Crave Entertainment, with last year's World Championship Poker for the PS2 and Xbox. Admittedly, the game wasn't all that great, but it had the most significantly enjoyable online play of any console poker game to date and was generally OK in its own right. The follow-up to that game is World Championship Poker 2: Featuring Howard Lederer. That's right, the professor of poker himself has lent his likeness to this upcoming sequel, as have several other poker celebrities, including Lederer's sister, Annie Duke; World Series of Poker 2004 champ, Greg Raymer; and other big names, like Robert Williamson III, Amir Vahidi, Clonie Gowen, Paul Darden, and Matt Savage, who also commentates the game.

Point of View will be developing this sequel instead of the previous studio, Coresoft, which has moved on to 2K Sports' World Poker Tour franchise. That means an all-new engine, which looks significantly better than the engine used in the last game. The characters look more realistic and seem to behave more realistically too. Even chip stacks will alter in real time, so you'll always have the exact number of chips in your stack as your bankroll dictates. You'll still be able to customize your own characters in the game, but now you'll also be able to take them through a realistic career mode that features multiple tournaments and what Crave calls a role-playing-game-type system for appearance upgrades. These will tie in to your character's skills at the table, for as we all know, appearance is everything in poker.

World Championship Poker 2 will feature 10 different card games, including the obvious ones, like Texas hold 'em, Omaha, and five-card draw, and even a few slightly out-there games, like pineapple and baseball. All games will be playable online once again, and up to six players will be able to play online on each console. EyeToy support will once again be featured online for the PS2.

World Championship Poker 2: Featuring Howard Lederer will come to stores this fall. We'll bring you more on the game as it becomes available.

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