Monday, June 18, 2012

ps home: the casino

I’m pretty happy with all the upgrades Playstation Home released lately. PS Home is a 3D virtual social gaming network available only on the Playstation 3. It’s been completely overhauled since its launch back in December of 2008. There are hundreds of free “games” available now, including some RC Car racing action and a few First Person Shooters. As you may or may not know, the biggest gripe I had with PS Home was the loss of the EA Sports Complex dedicated space. In that space, between the obvious advertising for popular EA Sports games, were Texas Hold’em poker tables. These tables were pretty much the closest thing to console gambling you could get without spending real money. Well, time has passed, PS Home has improved and gambling is back on the menu! This time with some actual money involved, kinda.

Let’s jump into PS Home: The Casino. This is an all new space from developer Digital Leisure. It launched in January 2012 and now has a casino’s worth of gambling ready to play including Blackjack, Texas Hold'em Poker, Big 6 Wheel, Casino War and even Slots.

Money won is twice as sweet as money earned
The Casino is figuratively, run on chips. Since launch, it has been granting visitors 100 chips, per week, upon entry. Based on your luck, or lack thereof you may need to re-up at the cashier stand or nearby virtual chip machines (atms). Using real money you can purchase additional chips, Either 500 chips for 99 cents, 5,000 for $4.99 or 15,000 for $9.99. There isn’t much to spend your winnings on. You can spend chips on entrance to the VIP high roller rooms but chips don’t have value outside of The Casino space. Your only real ROI is time well spent.

PS Home is a rewarding sort of place. The Casino is no different, awarding virtual t-shirts, outfits and “bling” for hands well played and good runs of luck. PS Home has been adding these types of virtual clothing over the years running from an average looking to outfits physically impossible in the real world. Expect to run into some devilishly and colorfully dressed avatars during a visit. There are over 100 in-game items to win.

Begin your visit to The Casino in The Concourse, to your left is the cashier stand to your right a gift shop. Around you are the types of things you would find in any real casino, giving this space some much needed authenticity. Reach the end of the foyer and descend the grand staircase another level. There is a big fancy water fountain, a bar, access to chip machines, a roped off VIP stairway and your first dose of gambling: the Slot machines. Here in the Concourse you’ll be able to show your skills in both the Casino War and Keno parlors.

Baby needs a new pair of shoes
Slots seem like a bad idea until you start winning, don’t bother trying to memorize the winning combinations it’s all perfectly random. Push the button and hope for the best. Casino War is a lot like the card game you may remember playing as a kid, only with betting and a tie means you can win based on who had the higher bet. A minimum War bet is 10 chips. Keno is essentially like Bingo, place your bets and choose between 10, 15 or 20 numbers from the board. Keno is also a minimum of 10 chips to play. Random Keno numbers drawings are held every 3 mins to see if you get any matches. It’s nice that you can walk around and peruse the concourse and get a notification when the drawing is being held.

Big Six Roulette is a simple game of chance. Place your bets, spin the wheel and be prepared to lose. There is some strategy, there are more “ones” on the wheel than Jokers for instance. Just not my game. The Casino is a good place to get familiar with games you don’t know, then maybe, bring you new found skills to a real game.

The Casio: Blackjack and Poker have their own dedicated rooms off The Concourse, these will require an additional (short) download. Once inside you have your pick of tables. Each with their own minimum buy to sit in. Play your cards right and you can build up your bankroll in no time. Wait times are short and almost non-existent. Tables can hold up to 8 players. The usual communications between players are available during games, keyboard chat or headsets.

The sure way of getting nothing from something
Not sure, exactly, how I feel about paying real cash for chips in The Casino, fortune has it, I haven’t had to make any decision. I have a healthy bankroll established starting with just the 100 free chips. I suppose it isn’t really considered gambling since you don’t receive anything of value in return. Let’s admit, it is getting close to it though and as long as gamers are not being taken advantage of, it is good fun. PS Home has an 18 years of age requirement.

The Casino can be addictive (of course, gambling is an addiction people) but it can also be a good place to unwind. Long night of intense gameplay? Cool down with some Blackjack. Too tired to aim your sniper rifle? Pull the handle on some slots and see what happens. I not saying PS Home is a fantastic place for everyone, it has its fair share of boring spaces and annoying, young users but The Casino worth the visit. If it’s been 4 years since you’ve checked out PS Home, I recommend this update.

More about PS Home: The Casino and the individual game rules can be found here.

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