If the offline play doesn't quite do it for you, both the PS2 and Xbox versions of the game feature online play for up to nine players. You can engage in any of the offline game types, set betting rules and buy-ins, and use leaderboards that show records for both offline and online winnings. The Xbox version of the game definitely has the better online interface, but the PS2 version does have the added bonus of EyeToy support, letting you let people see you while you play. Of course, there's nothing to stop someone from just pointing their camera at their ass the whole time--and frankly, the image quality is pretty bad, regardless--but it's at least a decent inclusion; it would have been a better one, though, if it let you map your own face to your custom character.
World Series of Poker really falls short in the graphics and audio categories. The character models aren't very well put together, with blocky builds, goofy-looking faces, and animations that couldn't be more wildly out of place. Everybody swings their arms about in herky-jerky manners when they win, or makes melodramatic "sad" faces when they lose. It's all so cartoonish and weird, and it just doesn't belong in a licensed product like this one. Not to mention that the game has just about the worst card-flopping animation in history. Fortunately, the basic interface that shows you your cards and the deal is quite good, and it even displays your folded hand over the rest of the hand so you can see what you might have had, as well as those fun little percentage markers that denote how much of a shot you have at winning during an all-in hand. Plus, you can skip quickly through cutscenes of players sitting there, thinking about their hands if you like (except, for some reason, during Omaha games.)
Insert Rounders quote here.
Official WSOP commentator Lon McEachern lends his voice to the proceedings, but his usual sidekick, Norman Chad, is nowhere to be found. As grating as Chad is during the TV broadcasts, his brand of painful self-denigrating humor would be vastly more welcome than the schlub who replaces him here. McEachern himself is bad enough; he's only got around a dozen or so canned comments, none of which provide any real insight. The rest of the audio doesn't consist of much more than the flips of cards, clatters of chips, and what have you. Fortunately, the Xbox version does have custom soundtrack support.
If you're a big fan of poker, and you really want an online console version of the game, World Series of Poker makes a suitable choice. It gets the poker itself right, and the online play is seamless and enjoyable. Unfortunately, for those looking for something that even comes close to associating itself properly with the World Series of Poker, this game simply fails to deliver. The lackluster presentation, lousy use of the pro players, and lack of real differentiation between the circuit events and the main event rob the game of any real legitimacy toward its license. It's solid poker, and nothing more. If that's enough for you, then go for it. If not, then leave this one on the shelf.