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Friday, July 09, 2004

DD Tournament Poker: No-Limit Texas Hold'Em
I was browsing Amazon the other day and the Amazon main page recommended an interesting product to me -- software called "DD Tournament Poker: No Limit Texas Hold'Em." I doubt I will be purchasing it, both because I'm not that interested in tournaments and I assume that the Wilson software is better (though 3 times the price). Still, I found the product featured on Amazon interesting for two reasons.

The first is the product description on Amazon. Specifically, the description (presumably from the back of the box) compares their software directly to free online play:
Tired of playing with cheesy players who talk to you and having to order ""virtual drinks?"" Want a modern interface that lets you decide the size of the window? DD Tournament Poker is the best choice of software that let's you have the most fun playing no limit Texas hold'em. . . . Unlike online casinos where you have to risk real money or use ""play money"" tables where the opponents don't necessarily act rationally, DD Tournament Poker lets you hone your skills against computer opponents who behave as if there is something at stake.
Their basic product pitch is geared at players who have tried online poker; I take this as just another sign of how mainstream online poker is becoming. On a more amusing level: The bit about about "players who talk to you"--oh, the horror! And I like the order-a-virtual-drink thing! Why would someone be "tired" of that particular aspect of online play?

Second, this software is a neat little link between poker and my other hobby, strategy board games. Eagle Games publishes the DD software. They made a name for themselves in the board game community a couple years ago with the publication of a board game version of Sid Meier's computer game, Civilization. Unfortunately that game takes way too long to play, but their subsquent games have improved somewhat, with their board game version of Age of Mythology being pretty good. (I'm also looking forward to their board game version of Sid Meier's Pirates!, which was my absolute favorite when I was about 11 years old.) DD Tournament Poker marks their second computer game effort.

Interestingly, in the product description on the Eagle Games website, they take a shot at the Wilson software:
If you want to practice no limit hold'em tournaments, your pickings are slim. The one relatively well known offering is expensive (over $60) and out-dated (designed originally in the mid-90s, it has very frustrating and counter-intuitive controls). The other relatively unknown offering has a DOS like interface and is also quite expensive.
I would give the benefit of the doubt to the Wilson software, but I could see how the Eagle/DD software might be better for the casual player, if only because because it's probably less intimidating, and certainly cheaper. The description of the DD features sounds pretty decent, particularly this bit:
Get advice on poker etiquette and tips for hosting your own poker tournament. Run a mini-tournament during your weekly poker night! DD Tournament poker is a full featured home version of the software used to run major tournaments like you have seen on TV. To get started, you define the tournament by specifying the buy-in amount, rebuys, add-ons, blind structure, level time limit and payout amounts. You can save tournament formats and re-use them from week to week (no need to re-enter data!) DD Tournament Poker makes running a home game mini-tournament easy and fun. In addition, the extensive documentation and FAQ are good tools to resolve rules disputes during the game and keep everyone happy. You can change the tournament settings while it is in progress--in case you need to speed things up. Enter the amount collected during the game and automatically calculate prize payouts.
Having hosted several home tourneys with newbie players, I know that they think I'm speaking Greek when I talk about stuff like blind structures, rebuys, the dead button rule, etc. I'm sure players who haven't done the basic research on how to host a tourney (try homepokertourney.com) would greatly benefit from having a computer program do some of the work for them.

In the end I guess I offer neither a recommendation to buy nor a true review; just blogging about one more by-product of the continuing poker craze, like Poker Beer and dealer buttons at Walgreens. The 50-cent word that might apply to some of these bits of pop culture is "ephemera," as in things of an ephemeral or transitory nature, not meant to last.

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