Once you've found software with a powerful, robust artificial intelligence (smart computer players), you should next be looking for a program that is visually pleasant, since once purchased, even a beginner is likely to spend many hours hunkered down over the computer playing poker. Especially if the program's designer has done the job right.
"I think I can uninstall my Wilson's software now. I'll definitely talk your product up to other poker players -- at least the ones I don't face regularly."--David D., San Francisco, CA
Are you intimidated or put out by learning how to use new computer software? Don't worry, Master Poker begins your first visit to any screen with a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to get started quickly and get the most out of your new software. You'll be comfortable and ready to play some poker within minutes of installing the program.
It all begins with the Main Sign-up Screen. This is where you choose your event type, set your preferences, and start your next session. Click the thumbnail image below to see a larger graphic.
MP gives you a great deal of control over what your playing screen looks like, how your chosen event is played out, how records are kept, etc.. By taking the time to tell it your personal preferences all future game play will be smoother and tuned to your precise needs and personality.
As you can see, Master Poker is designed to simulate on online poker room like you would find on the Internet, but that doesn't mean you can't travel the world and play in visually appealing locations. How about a friendly cash game at the local country club?
Don't let the little text labels representing the computer players fool you into thinking Master Poker is a second rate poker program. While I could have included little cartoon avatar's sitting in the seats, what would be the point? The idea is to present as few visual distractions as possible to your play. Designed by a serious poker player, this high quality program is about substance over flash. You won't find fancy bells and whistles here, or personal avatars, or 3D animations of your favorite pros pushing all-in. Though pretty, those constructs are only visual fluff and will not contribute to the quality of the program or making you a better poker player. What you will find are truly intelligent computer players and play so smooth and compelling you'll be convinced you're facing online human adversaries with every card turned.
It all begins with your playing environment. Most poker programs have a single type of generic wallpaper behind your table that never changes. For anyone who plays more than a few minutes at a time this can quickly become stale. It's much more interesting to escape that dark back room now and then to travel the world and play in exotic locations. Take a look at some examples of the other background screens Master Poker has to offer. You can always experience the quiet beauty of a home game in Lake Tahoe.
Or perhaps you would be more interested in a game facing international players. How about a quaint little London pub overlooking the city?
If you're not in the mood to face the Brits, or maybe you're just too hardcore for all these fluffy locations, there's always Vegas. Try a formal night game at a hotel suite overlooking the City of Sin.
Master Poker has (14) different cardrooms (screen backgrounds) from which to choose, each designed to give you a change of scenery and provide you with a pleasant playing environment. If one location doesn't fit your current mood, pick another. It's always up to you.
One of my primary goals in development of this program was to make my users WANT to play hours and hours of poker, day after day, month after month. I felt it important to present a variety of cardroom locations around the world to keep things fresh and ever-changing. I hope you'll agree.
As you probably noticed above, MP also has many different table color options from which to choose as well. This allows people of different personalities to choose a color conducive to their own personality or to simply chose a color in line with their current mood today. Would you prefer a blue table at your Vegas night game? No problem, just change the preferred table color for your next session.
The nice thing about this feature is that a different table color will give a specific screen background (as exampled above) a whole new feel, resulting in (98) different looks for your playing pleasure.
There are many card decks from which to choose as well. Assorted card colors offer you some flexibility if the current deck colors blend too closely with the chosen table color, making them difficult to see. Or, perhaps you're just in the mood for tiger-striped cards today.
Master Poker allows you to create customized player profiles (screen names) for each member of your household, so each can have their own stored personal preferences, history archives, etc.. Once you've established a new player profile you will want to make adjustments to the way the program functions from game to game to suit your specific needs or personality. For example, let’s say you create a new screen name ‘Maverick’, and another family member wishes to create their own screen name, let's say 'Drifter'. While playing under the Maverick screen name you may direct the software to deal the cards at a faster rate, to eliminate the dealing animation, or to use specific buy-ins, chip levels and blind structures when playing different types of events, etc ...
These adjustments are called your 'personal preferences', and will be saved from session to session so you don’t have to constantly remind the program how you like to play. When your other family member logs on and changes the active player back to ‘Drifter’ he/she will not be straddled with your latest preferences, but rather those preferences they last used. This allows all players in your household to maintain their own personal preferences, each in their own personal profiles. Students of the game can use multiple screen names to create several different profiles, each using a different style of play. You might use one screen name to practice hyper-aggressive play, another to play tight, another somewhere in the middle. By splitting your different styles up among profiles you can track the history results of each style separately to let you know which style is working best for you.
The first decision for any session is in what type of event you wish to play today. MP has several game options including:
Three of the four should be familiar to most players, but in case they're not, here's a quick breakdown of MP's different event options.
Multi-table Tournaments may be played using anywhere from just 2 tables (simulating a large Sit & Go/Satellite) to a maximum of 500 tables (a massive tournament). Each table in your tournament can host from 2 players (pure heads-up format), to as many as 10 players (a typical big tourney format). This means you can play against as many as 5000 players in a 10-seat tournament.
Sit and Go's (also called Satellites, One-Table Tournaments, etc.) are a single table tournament where you're objective is to be the last player standing. Your SnG table can be adjusted to begin with anywhere from 2-10 players, with a typical format hosting 6-9-10 players.
Survivor is an MP exclusive game. It is similar to a one-table Sit and Go, but instead of trying to win first place you're trying to 'survive' for as long as possible against relentlessly rising antes/blinds and an infinite number of potential opponents (players are immediately replaced each time they are busted). It is meant as a device to help you develop patience, stamina and staying power under pressuring tournament conditions. Since you always play for as many hands as possible you will face more high-blind situations than you would expect to see in a normal S&G, forcing you to adjust your play to changing conditions.
Cash Games are played at a single table, typically against familiar players, where you buy-in just as you would in the real world and cash out whenever you feel like quitting. You can set your table up with anywhere from 2-10 players (including yourself). Antes and blinds are always fixed (and can be set pre-game). As opponents go broke, or take their profits and run, they will be replaced by new players aimed at separating you from your money.
Once you've chosen an event type you can click the 'Event Setup' button (shown below) to customize the parameters of the chosen event to suit your specific needs.
Each game type has it's own setup screen. This is the Tournament Setup Screen, the most complicated one you will see, where you can set all of the parameters for your next event, including the blind structure, and turning Rebuys and Add-ons on/off.
Click the thumbnail graphic above to see a larger image.
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