BamPoker stars Pamela Anderson and…does nothing much else.
I had a strange dream the other night about Pamela Anderson that was probably brought on by eating nachos too soon before nodding off on the couch while an old episode of Baywatch was on. Then I realized it wasn’t a dream: Anderson really has her own free poker game on Facebook called BamPoker. Alas, Pam’s star power and visual appeal aren’t quite enough to make this game especially noteworthy. What a nightmare.
Certainly, when it comes to some free Texas Hold ‘Em, you could do worse than BamPoker. The game starts you out with a six-figure bankroll, and the interface makes it easy to find a table with your desired stakes and take an empty seat. It’s all fake money of course (for now – cue evil laugh), and anyone who has played any online poker should feel quite comfortable joining a game.
At the table, each player is represented by his or her Facebook profile picture – sorry, no custom avatars here. Your cards are dealt right next to your name and picture, and a green bar slowly fades away clockwise around them when its your turn, giving you an obvious visual cue about how much time you have to act.
Action buttons to check, call, raise or fold are at the bottom of the screen. A slider makes it easy to size bets, though an option to type in specific amounts would also have been nice. Dealer chat runs down the play of each hand on the bottom-left, while player chat is on the bottom-right. Sadly, there isn’t a way to close the player chat altogether and doesn’t appear to be a way to block specific players, so if people are bothering you, there’s not much you can do except ignore them. But hey, the player chat does have emoticons, so there’s that.
Like numerous other Facebook poker games, you can buy virtual drinks and other trinkets for yourself or other players to display at the table. Achievements for winning with certain hands are almost mandatory at this point, and they’re in here too. Other social widgets include a global leaderboard and the ability to add other Facebook friends to a Buddy List so you can track their ups and downs at the tables.
You also level up with experience points earned from each hand you play, but other than giving you more chips, it’s not really clear what good comes from attaining a high level. That’s because other than virtual cash games, there simply isn’t that much to do at the current time. Tournaments are scarce, and though the lobby promises Sit & Go games, this reviewer hasn’t actually seen any yet. That leaves you playing Hold ‘Em (and only Hold ‘Em) against live people online with no real standout features and nothing much at stake, and there are plenty of other places to do that.
I suppose you could just enjoy the busty, animated Pamela Andersons that show up in the lobby and deal the cards. Then again, your mileage may vary. I like brains and sass, so if it was BamPoker featuring, say, Alexia Tsotsis, I might be more inclined to come back later to see if the developers beefed this game up. But maybe that’s just me. The rest of the visual and audio aspects are fine, save for the occasional hand where the cards dealt to you don’t show up properly.
In any case, BamPoker does a very perfunctory job of giving players a way to play poker against live opponents on Facebook. It also has Pamela Anderson’s name and likeness attached, just in case you didn’t catch onto that by now. Whether that’s an enticement to hit the felt or her site…that’s entirely up to you.