CFSPoker v1.03- by Sidney Maplehurst

A few months ago, I reviewed the freeware game, VPoker. After having a look at that relatively simple diversion, it seemed logical for me to follow up with a look at what might be considered it's big brother -- CFSPoker.

CFSPoker picks up where VPoker leaves off in almost every way. There are more options, more games, more sounds, and, basically, more everything. A product of C F S Nevada, Inc., CFSPoker was written by former OS/2 Magazine Contributing Editor, author of the REXX Reference Summary Handbook and general REXX guru, Dick Goran.

Rough Edges

First, let me discuss the shortcomings of CFSPoker, since there aren't many of them and I can do it in just a few sentences. The few dislikes that I had with CFSPoker were mostly related to the interface. CFSPoker is a VXREXX program and accordingly is not the fastest application I have ever seen. This is not an issue with a gambling game in terms of performance, but screen redraws and setting up games caused irritating lags on the 486 machine I was using.

The graphics in CFSPoker (GIF, 13.8k) are also not brilliant. Again, this is just a video poker game and fancy graphics aren't going to enable players to win any more, but they would have been nice, especially with the amount of detail and quality that was put into the rest of the game. If you are interested though, you can substitute your own bitmaps for card backs.

But...

Now the good stuff.

CFSPoker is the mother of all video pokers, at least when it comes to OS/2. It is not just one game, but nine different variations of video gambling (GIF, 6k) rolled into one package. Some of the variations include: 7's Wild; Deuces and Joker Wild; Jacks or better - Bonus; and Kings or better - Triple Bonus. Basically, each of these games plays the same as the video poker terminals in bars everywhere; the player bets, five cards are dealt, the player can hold none, some or all of them and have the rest redealt. The resulting hand is scored based on odds decided by which type of game is being played.

Here's the twist though: CFSPoker uses an interesting idea that is a cross between shareware, regular commercial software and plain old gambling. The user downloads the software for free, complete with 1,000 credits. She is free to play until she loses all 1,000 credits (don't think you will?) after which, to continue playing, a registration key must be purchased.

The idea is brilliant but I wonder if it might backfire. Playing the game is genuinely fun because you know that if you win, you're playing for free but if you lose, you'll have to cough up to continue.

Once you purchase a registration key, the credits become unlimited. It seems to me that you lose some of the risk of playing if you know that losing won't cost you any more than the effort required to push a button. I think a better idea would have been to sell a registration key that was the equivalent of 5,000 more credits (or some number). Then, if a registered player lost all those, another, lesser fee could purchase another 5,000 credits. And if that person continued to lose so badly, a final fee (we don't want to contribute to crime or broken homes in order to support gambling habits!) could purchase unlimited credits. More money for C F S Nevada, Inc., more risk (and fun!) for the player.

Of course, this would be skirting a fine line between gambling and "real" purchasing so it may have been more of a legal decision than anything that made C F S Nevada, Inc. decide to package the game the way they did. Whatever the rationale, the credit manipulation options once the game is registered are well thought out. Players can keep track of credits won or lost between games or between sessions and can "buy" an extra 100 or 1,000 credits (which has little meaning since credits are unlimited to registered players and is supposedly possible simply to maintain consistency with "real" video poker terminals).

Sounds!

CFSPoker makes simple but good use of MMPM. Winning hands are announced (aside from being highlighted on screen) with a random .WAV file that is sure to please. These include Yabadabadoo, the Tonight Show Theme, a great Yeeeeeeeeehaaa (sniff, why it makes a girl feel like she's back in Georgia), coins dropping in a payout slot and, of course, Elvis singing "All Shook Up". Very Vegas.

Logging

The game has excellent facilities for keeping track of your winning and losing streaks. Statistics (GIF, 7.3k) on these, including your High credits and Low credits marks, time played, hands played, hands won and lost and amounts won and lost (itemized by game type), are available from a menu or are optionally displayed when you exit the program.

Conclusions

This version of video poker takes the game to a new level for OS/2 players. Its simple and useful interface, and the great idea to give away 1,000 credits, as well as the loads of options and game variations make it a must have for any OS/2 gambler.
 * CFSPoker v1.03
by C F S Nevada, Inc.
download from C F S Nevada, Inc.'s Site
Registration: US$34.95
Sidney Maplehurst is a computer advisor, OS/2 advocate, and all around computer nut. She also enjoys health food, reading and skydiving. She has been using OS/2 since v2.0.

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