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Entertainment USA
1986
Card Game
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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77
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

The odds are against you in Mastertronic's Video Poker. You can't win on a pip-card pair - only a double or royal pair will do.

You get five cards, pushed on to the screen and turned in a neatly animated dealer motion. The standard rules of poker apply. You get your stake back for a royal pair but a royal flush gives you a 250:1 return.

I managed to keep my small pile of nickels topped up but never hit the jackpot and betting is frustrating because you can only place a maximum 10 coin stake during every game.

For me, though, the whole point of poker is missed by it being only a one-player version. You versus the computer as dealer. The computer doesn't generate other players and so you can't bluff. What good's poker when there aren't any opponents to out-psych? Video Poker has more in common with those arcade machines where you guess the next card to be higher or lower.

It's not really poker but it's quite compulsive for all that.

Label: Mastertronic Entertainment USA
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

****

Plays a one-sided game - you versus the dealer. An expert' system this is not, but at the price you can't lose.

4/5