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iPhone: Theta Poker

07-10-2009, 05:04 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Reading, England
Posts: 1,723
Theta Poker

Thought I'd start this thread 'cos I just read about it in the Helmuth Poker thread. Definitely didn't want the Helmuth game and Theta looked pretty decent so I splashed out and bought it...

Sorry - don't know how to do all the cool screenshot/appstore-link thing; perhaps someone 'in the know' could cover this bit - maybe the dev?

Anyway, on with the show...

First, my background in poker - I haven't played for a couple of months now but when I play, I *play*. Hey you guys are gamers - you know what it's like! So I've played fairly successfully - I'm at the top 'VIP' level at the site I play on (so I get lots of freebies etc). Used to be purely a tournament player but now when I play I'm almost exclusively a cash player.

So that's me.

I've only played a little of Theta Poker - but enough to be able to make some reasonable comments and review it...

I'll start with the good:

- VERY nice, clean interface - very natural, visible. The screen is used in the best possible way - to provide information and feedback to the player - not predominantly eye candy.

- LOTS of configuration options - the game can be set up pretty close to what you'll want.

- Reasonable level of play.

The bad:

Well I don't actually have any 'bad' things to say as such - more some constructive criticisms and these are:

- No history - when you finish a tournament, the next tournament just begins again. I'd like to see a summary screen showing who finished where, what styles they played... also some kind of personal history screen - stats about your tournament play across all tournaments you played - how many you've won, came second, third etc. Also a 'review' mode where you can step through hands you played but when you replay, pot odds, hand odds etc are shown on screen so you can see if your decisions were good etc.

- Blind levels, Antes etc: I'd like to be able to set up custom levels so I can actually mirror the same tournament structures of the site(s) I play on.

- Player AI Config - I'd like to see a mode where I can define what play styles are adopted in each position on the table.

- Tournament summary - please list the player chip counts in descending order on this so we can see how we're doing.

Overall, I think this game is very nice. I'd like to see it evolve more in to a training tool than in to a poker 'game' - purely for selfish reasons - I'd be much more likely to play it. It tracks Q and M - so why not use these to have a 'guideline' mode where a little 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' appears on the corner of the screen when you push and it thinks you should have or shouldn't have... or when you don't push and it thinks you should have etc.

Maybe currently slightly expensive for the current challenge it provides but it would be well justified at this price if the dev continues to provide useful and interesting updates. Only time will tell on this front.

I'm giving this 7.5/10 - though it's teetering on the edge of a much higher score if we see some cool updates!

Cheers,

Jamie.
07-11-2009, 09:05 PM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmanj View Post
- VERY nice, clean interface - very natural, visible. The screen is used in the best possible way - to provide information and feedback to the player - not predominantly eye candy.
I come from a Palm OS development background, so I'm used to getting the most of a 160x160 screen!

Quote:
- LOTS of configuration options - the game can be set up pretty close to what you'll want.
I tend to go overboard on options. In a future release, I'll add a Career Mode or something like that where the game will just keep getting harder (so you don't have to touch any options if you don't want to). Option sets are another idea, so you can have different sets of parameters bundled together easily.

Quote:
- Reasonable level of play.
Version 1.6.0 adds an Expert skill level that I can't beat, so I already need to study some more before I add the planned Pro level sometime down the road.

Quote:
Well I don't actually have any 'bad' things to say as such - more some constructive criticisms and these are:

- No history - when you finish a tournament, the next tournament just begins again. I'd like to see a summary screen showing who finished where, what styles they played... also some kind of personal history screen - stats about your tournament play across all tournaments you played - how many you've won, came second, third etc. Also a 'review' mode where you can step through hands you played but when you replay, pot odds, hand odds etc are shown on screen so you can see if your decisions were good etc.
Version 1.6.0 (in beta testing now) adds a history (hand recap) screen, so you can review every hand in a tournament (even email the interesting ones if you want). I like your idea about the odds, but I don't currently know how to calculate them all efficiently enough (if you have any pointers, that would be great).

Current tournament statistics will be part of 1.7.0, and popping it up automatically at the end of the tournament is an excellent idea (no charge, right?).

The ability to replay hands from the history may be added in the future, but I haven't thought enough about how I could do it yet.

Quote:
- Blind levels, Antes etc: I'd like to be able to set up custom levels so I can actually mirror the same tournament structures of the site(s) I play on.
This is a great idea, but I haven't the slightest clue how to implement it. I try to avoid data entry on the iPhone whenever possible. Maybe this could be done through a web link. I'm all ears if you have thoughts.

Quote:
- Player AI Config - I'd like to see a mode where I can define what play styles are adopted in each position on the table.
Again, an excellent idea, but I'm not sure how to implement something that's easy for the user to do. I do plan to add general tightness and aggressiveness options, however.

Quote:
- Tournament summary - please list the player chip counts in descending order on this so we can see how we're doing.
If you tap on the Blind Info, you'll see your rank in the tournament (including people who aren't at your table, of course). I thought about a leaderboard, but everything except for your table is emulated anyway, so it wouldn't be very meaningful. Maybe though.

Quote:
Overall, I think this game is very nice. I'd like to see it evolve more in to a training tool than in to a poker 'game' - purely for selfish reasons - I'd be much more likely to play it. It tracks Q and M - so why not use these to have a 'guideline' mode where a little 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' appears on the corner of the screen when you push and it thinks you should have or shouldn't have... or when you don't push and it thinks you should have etc.
THETA originally stood for Texas Hold 'Em Tutor Application, but I still haven't gotten around to the Tutoring part. I will though. Give me some time, and I will.

Quote:
Maybe currently slightly expensive for the current challenge it provides but it would be well justified at this price if the dev continues to provide useful and interesting updates. Only time will tell on this front.
I'm hoping to justify the price on replayability (well that and the fact that you could easily win your purchase price back the next time you play for real ). I hope you spend more time playing THETA Poker than any other game you ever download to your iPhone. And hopefully, as your skill increases, THETA Poker will do its best to keep pace with improved play and training features.

Quote:
I'm giving this 7.5/10 - though it's teetering on the edge of a much higher score if we see some cool updates!

Cheers,

Jamie.
Thanks, and you bet you can count on lots of great updates if you'll help me spread the word. I really appreciate the time you took to write, and I'll do my best to implement your suggestions!

Robert Jen
http://www.thetapoker.com