Short and to the point, Poker With Bob is a pretty awesome title for a videogame. It leaves little room for confusion about what you’re getting yourself into. When you play Poker With Bob, you’re playing poker against a dude named Bob.
That’s both the beauty and the limitation of the game. All you get is one-on-one poker, usually against a computer-controlled Bob. You can play against another real-life person locally over Bluetooth, but there’s no online multiplayer option, and you can’t play against more than one player. Usually it’s just you and Bob and a deck of cards.
It’s poker. Poker with Bob.
In the Campaign Mode– if you can call it that– you compete against Bob over five levels. In each successive level, you and Bob start with an increasing amount of money, and Bob’s A.I. becomes more challenging. To beat each level, you have to gamble Bob down to bankruptcy, leaving him a sobbing “shell of a man.”
The only version of the game you can play in Poker With Bob is standard five-card draw, so don’t expect anything fancy, like Texas Hold’em or anything. At the beginning of each round Bob deals you five cards, and the betting commences. Once some money’s on the table, you swap out as many cards as you want for new ones. Once you do that, another round of betting happens, until one of you folds or calls. If someone calls, whoever has a better hand wins the pot.
It’s all very standard stuff, but the game’s not perfect. When betting, you can only raise $5, $15, or $25 at a time, even in later stages when you and Bob are bursting with money. This means you’ll rarely have more on the line than a hundred bucks, making the game slow and unexciting. Secondly, Bob is a strong competitor, even in the first level. We’re no cardsharps, but we’ve played plenty of hands of poker in our day, and it took us nearly two hours to get past the first level. Obviously your milage will vary, but know that this game is no cakewalk.
Another annoying thing is that Bob narrates the whole game. Every time you make a bet or play a hand, he states what just happened. This is kind of cool at first, but it gets becomes annoying fast. Even if you play the game with iPod music in the background, there’s no way to shut Bob up. The phrase, ‘You’ve got a pair, but I’ve got a better pair; the cash is mine,’ will haunt our nightmares for years to come.
The graphics are better than they have to be, with a smoothly animated, big-chinned Bob and a clean user interface. As you progress through the levels, Bob appears in nicer clothes and and in front of increasingly moneyed environments. The background even moves when you tilt your device.
But since the game’s options are so limited– one style of poker, and only one opponent at a time– you’ll won’t likely want to keep playing after turning Bob into a weepy mess for the first time. For a bit more excitement, we’d recommend World Series of Poker Hold’em Legend.