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Birdsoft’s All in Texas Hold ’em Review

Birdsoft All in Texas Hold ‘Em v 2.751
Available from the Birdsoft Website for $16.95
It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master
Birdsoft’s All In Texas Hold ‘Em is just like the real thing.

I’ve battled against the best players for hours and finally I’m heads up for the championship with my nemesis, Larry. At one point I had a two to one chip lead, but he battled back with some lucky draws, and now he has a slight chip lead. The dealer just dealt me a pair of black queens. Larry checks. I make no facial expression as I raise three times the blind, or $450. I want to put all my chips in now, but I don’t want to scare Larry off the pot.
But Larry reraises me! He bets another $450. I think he has Ace King. I just call and we see a flop. The dealer throws out ACE OF DIAMONDS, SEVEN OF DIAMONDS AND QUEEN OF CLUBS. Bingo! Three of a kind for me! I, again, make no facial expression (even though I’m playing against a pocket pc!) and check, hoping to trap my opponent. I think Larry hit his Ace and thinks he has me beat. Sure enough, Larry bets big, $1500. I make a face like, “why so much Larry?” Then I hem and haw like Gus Hansen, the poker pro, and rub my head. I have him beat. The trick is to get all my money into the pot to maximize my winnings…

Read more after the break


Hold ‘Em is easy to install. I put it onto the SD card of my Axim x50v. There are versions for the desktop, palm and smartphone as well. It is vga compatible, works great in landscape or portrait mode, is customizable and has many game options.

This is the opening screen. The latest version is 2.751. You can choose settings, play, help or exit.

This is the setup screen.

Setup allows you to choose the blinds, automatic hints, which I’ll show you later, clock and battery which show up at the top right corner and are crucial for those of you who play too much poker! Muck Unchallenged Hands means that you will not see the losing hands of players who fold. I like to see those hands, even though you won’t see them in a real game, so I left that one unchecked.
The other settings, like table and player settings, have to do with color and graphics and are a matter of personal preference. I choose not to show the characters, just to show their names. You can experiment once you get the game.
The Game
Hold ‘Em gives you a choice of playing tournaments, “ring” games, and single table games. Tournaments are far more exciting and involve several tables, many players, and five different tournament types. The types are $1500 limit, $500 no limit, $750 pot limit, $1000 no limit and $3000 no limit. The trick is, you must have enough career earnings to pay the entrance fee to get into the tournament. That is why, when you’re a rookie, ring games can be valuable.

This is the main screen. You can see I’ve earned over $1,000,000. I play a lot. It’s easy to get addicted. Thousands of people play online poker, millions watch on tv, and tons play in home games. This game keeps me in practice.
The rules are simple. Each player receives two cards. To ensure action on every hand, two players after the dealer are forced to bet – the first player after the dealer makes a half bet, the second makes a full bet. These are called the small blind and big blind because they are betting blind. They are betting before they see their cards. After everyone gets 2 cards they either bet, raise or fold.
Three cards are dealt into the middle and everyone who’s left bets, raises or folds. One more card is dealt into the middle and everyone bets raises or folds. Then a final, 5th card is dealt into the middle and everyone bets, raises or folds.
You make your best 5 card poker hand with your 2 cards and the 5 cards in the middle. Very simple.

This is a game in progress. Notice at the top right the time, and a plug where the battery indicator would be. At the bottom right is a question mark. That will give you a hint if you press it:

It says this is not a good hand in this situation, so I fold. At the top left are the small and big blinds, $10 and $20. Underneath that is a 10, meaning we’ll play 10 hands at that size blind, and we’re on the 3rd hand.

Pocket Kings! My hand is so hot it’s on fire. That’s another hint. But look what happens when I go all in:
I lose to a worse hand that gets 2 pair! That’s poker. Ouch!

I announce a raise and Larry lifts his eyebrows and just nods ok. I sit back and consider how much, wondering what to do with the prize money. If I go all in, which is another $8500, Larry will fold, so I just raise $4000 because Larry is “pot committed”. Larry then goes all in and I call before he gets his chips in the middle. I’m about to start celebrating when he flips over his cards…KING OF DIAMONDS, TEN OF DIAMONDS

He’s got four to the flush. 4th Street brings a TWO of SPADES and I nearly faint from relief. Until the river. The dealer flips over a SIX OF DIAMONDS and I lose to a flush. Ouch.

Artificial Intelligence
It’s hard not to get personally involved against your opponents, though they are only the product of Birdsoft’s Artificial Intelligence. It bluffs, it makes crazy calls and gets lucky draws, and sometimes it’s players get “steamed” and play completely out of control. If you are a good player you’ll notice if your computer opponent is playing “tight”, “normal” or “loose”. But no matter how well you play, you can only go in with your best hand and either outplay your opponent or outdraw them. Are you good enough to take on Birdsoft’s AI? I thought I was. This is a very difficult and unpredictable AI. It takes patience, skill and and quite a bit of risk-taking to defeat it. I’ve had some of my best playing poker friends try it, and they crashed and burned quickly. There is no formula for winning at this game because every hand is different. If you’ve played other handheld games where you’ve discovered a strategy to beat the game, you won’t find one here. Every game is different, and that’s what makes All in Texas Hold ‘Em so wonderful and challenging.

This is one of the best supported games you’ll ever play. They have their own forums for all their products! Not only can you ask their company support for help, you can also go to their community as well:
3 ideas to make it better:
1. bigger buttons for one handed play
2. online game playing to play against live competitors
3. Customizable game play to allow me to set up my own timer, player types (aggressive, passive etc) and blinds so I can mimick my home game.
This is a great game. What makes it great is that it’s different every time I play it. The cards are random, the play is exciting, and success requires concentration. The support is excellent. There have been several free upgrades since I have bought it. The game software works well and is intelligently designed. I rate it 98 Laser Beams out of 100.


October 17, 2007 - Posted by | Software, Windows Mobile

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