December 5, 2021

Poker Club – PS5 Review

At the end of the day, Poker Club is a fantastic, feature-packed game that completely drops the ball on the social aspects it boasts about.
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by Lord Badger

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a review of a brand new release. Poker Club actually came out in November 2020. But since I completely missed its launch and was recently offered a review code I thought I would give this a look. Why was I offered a review code almost a year after launch? Poker Club has just received a massive tournament update that adds new monthly tournaments, items and more to the game. On top of the massive tournament update, Poker Club also received a price reduction to just £15.99

My first thought was just how different could a poker game be from the hundreds of poker games out there on the web? Let’s not mess about here. While £15.99 is a pretty decent price there are games like Poker Prominence on the PSn store that are free to play. So why pay? The simple answer is quality. Poker Club is a quality title.

Graphics

Graphically Poker Club is brilliant. Honestly, there isn’t a single flaw to be found. Every person around the table looks fantastic. Each table has its own setting. Sitting in the middle of a boxing ring in a dingy run-down gym playing a game of shootout feels a million miles from the bright lights of the casino as you reach the top of the PCC poker tour.

Each tournament has its own setting. The newly introduced Halloween Spooktacular tournament sees you taking your seat at the table in a themed mansion and baize table. It is a testament to the developer Ripstone attention to detail how immersive each environment is. It really sets the scene. In fact, Poker Club does the job so well graphically I wish there was a VR update to really enjoy the detailed settings.

The level of graphical quality shouldn’t really be a surprise since Poker Club is made by Ripstone Games. The same developer who brought us the stunning Pure Pool and Snooker 19.

Gameplay

I could be really harsh here and say it’s poker. You can’t bring anything new to the game so Poker Club doesn’t do anything that we haven’t seen before. This would technically be true but it isn’t what Poker Club provides but how it provides it.

There are your usual freezeout tournaments, daily cash tables and custom tables that enable you to play with your friends. All these modes are great but what if your friends are offline? Or do you just want some solitary gaming time? Poker Club has a massive career mode.

You start from in the back rooms of dingy little pubs and build your way up to the PCC tournament. Each event has three stars to obtain by doing certain tasks. An example of the objectives would be getting three of a kind or eliminating a player from the tournament. The more stars you earn the more events you unlock.

As well as locking events to progress through career mode you also gain XP for every hand you play. Winning a hand, eliminating a player, even getting beat will reward you with XP. Your players level combined with Stars earned opens up more events and options.

Social Aspect

Poker Club boasts that it is  “the most social and deeply immersive poker experience available on consoles and PC” and to be fair that is a claim it holds up well mostly. The level of customization for your character, clothing options, and items is quite vast. You can even customise your cards, chips and tabletop.

The biggest social aspect of Poker Club is the actual clubs themselves. Unfortunately, it is almost the biggest failing of Poker Club. The idea of Clubs works pretty much like a guild in most MMO’s. Players can donate their chips to the guild. Reach a certain milestone of chips and you now get $1000 chips a day instead of $500. Work together and donate to achieve the club goals and everyone benefits.

The only problem is for such a big social mechanic there is a massive flaw. You can’t invite friends to your club. Your friends cant even search for your club! It beggars belief that Ripstone would add a part of the game so heavily dependant on making friends online and working together but fail to add the simplest of social features for PlayStation.

I seriously cannot understand this logic. How are you supposed to play with your friends and work together in a club if you can’t add or join each others club? To test this I created a club within the game called Stoffel Presents. I then used my secondary PSN account to play Poker Club and join the Stoffel Presents club. Only I couldn’t be invited to it. I went to search club but you cant type in the name of the club you want to join.

You can search for clubs that cost to join, are free to join or are public and free. Now, I had set Stoffel Presents to public and free. so searched that option. I was presented with a list of 100 clubs. Guess what? Stoffel Presents wasn’t on that list. That’s it. No other way to join or search for the club. I know it exists. I created it on my main account. It is just impossible for anybody else to find it unless the Poker Club shows them it.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my time with Poker Club. It is a fantastic way to wind down with a couple of drinks and enjoy when home alone. Ripstone boasts that Poker Club is the most social poker experience available yet I fail to see how this claim holds up.

I would love to see game chat introduced to tables. allow players to talk to each other, chat, brag, boast etc. really make friends together. Mind you I suppose that doesn’t matter since it is impossible to join the same club as your friends.

It is a real shame because I was genuinely enjoying playing Poker Club and could see it becoming a weekly thing between me and my friends. I just can’t get my head around why you would add, what are essentially, guilds to the game and then not allow you to add your friends or allow your friends to join. It really puts a sour twist on what otherwise was a great game.

At the end of the day, Poker Club is a fantastic, feature-packed game that completely drops the ball on the social aspects it boasts about.

Overall Score – 5/10