The game opens with a poker game against who is essentially the kingpin of Prominence. the first game serves as a tutorial. It’s scripted and narrated by your opponent, which gives it a very cinematic noir vibe. It also makes good use of your limited customization at the beginning. Your avatar’s hair style and color can be changed from the start with more options available via unlockables upon leveling up and earning in-game currency. You can change your avatar’s clothes, emotes, and even your nickname at the table. Your default outfit is a Hawaiian shirt and your default moniker is The Tourist. Since you have to start with the Hawaiian shirt and the nickname Tourist, the narration refers to you as The Tourist for “obvious reasons”. It’s a nice touch that helps sell that this poker game actually has somewhat of a story. It runs you through betting, raising, calling, and even taunting your opponent. Upon completing the tutorial, your opponent informs you that if you want a rematch then you’ll have to level your rep high enough by beating enough opponents.
Once you begin the actual campaign, there’s a quick reference guide that helps newer poker players better understand which hands are better than others. Performing certain actions increase your reputation such as winning hands, knowing when to hold’em, fold’em, and walk away. Doing these actions in succession gives you a further bonus to reputation, and leveling up this reputation meter gains you access to more cosmetic items.
There are two types of currency in Prominence Poker. One is used as gambling fodder, the other is used to purchase in game cosmetic items. This system means you can play as much as you want or spend as much as you want without one affecting the other. Your avatar’s hair style and color can be changed from the start with more options available via unlockables upon leveling up and earning in-game currency. You can change your avatar’s clothes, emotes, and even your nickname when you are at the table.
You’re given a regular stipend of money to play with. Play well, and you won’t have to wait much, but gamble it all away and you’ll be stuck waiting for your next ticket into a low stakes game to try and work your way up. Of course, like in most games built around in-game currency, Prominence Poker is loaded with micro transactions. Should you not want to wait for more money, you can always buy more in-game money with you’re actual real world money. For most games, I would consider this an annoying gimmick by the developers to rake in more money, and it might be… But this is poker, you knew what you were signing up for. In fact, the fact that playing poorly has the real life consequence of having to wait to play again, makes it an even more authentic experience.
Pipeworks Studios’ Prominence Poker is a surprisingly well put together poker video game. It combines interesting RPG mechanics, a fun narrative, and the fun tension of poker into a truly fun experience for the casual poker player. Prominence Poker’s biggest weakness is that its primary audience isn’t the casual poker community, it’s the gamer community, and typically those two audiences don’t share much overlap in what they spend their money on.