Poker has become of the hottest pastimes in recent memory; from television tournaments to online matches against real opponents to buying a suitcase of poker chips even at your local dollar store, it’s virtually impossible to avoid the craze.

But we often don’t find the time to get together with buddies one night a week to play. And gambling on the Net isn’t for everyone, either.

So, the next best thing is to launch an offline computer game of Texas Hold ‘Em, a digital diversion you can launch at any time — even when you have 10 minutes left on your lunch break. And hey, you don’t have to worry about losing any of your hard-earned money.

So it’s no wonder why Funkitron’s fun and accessible Poker Superstars game has become a huge hit.

And guess what – the company has been working on a sequel, though they’ve been keeping their cards close to their chest. Gamezebo called their bluff to get all the juicy details for you.

Much like the original, the upcoming Poker Superstars II lets you play No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em against the stars of Fox’s Poker Superstars TV show, such as Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, Cyndy Violette, Scotty Nguyen, Antonio Esfandiari, Kathy Liebert and Carlos “The Matador” Mortensen.

Before we reveal our cards and get into what’s new with this sequel, a brief description of the rules of the game:

No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is one of the more exciting variations of poker because you can bet part or all of your chips at any time. It’s do-or-die poker at its best. After you ante into the pot, each player receives two cards face down (called “hole cards”). Now it’s time to bet on these two cards. After the round of betting (where you can call, raise or fold), three community cards are dealt face up on the table; this is referred to as “the flop.” After another round of betting, a fourth card is revealed (the “turn card”) and after the third round of betting, the last face-up card is revealed (called “the river”). The fourth and final round of betting begins; the objective is to create the best 5-card poker hand out of your two and the five community cards. Whoever has the best hand wins the entire pot.

Based on the second season of the Poker Superstars TV show (complete with familiar graphics and music), this sequel is just as easy to play as the original — if not more so, considering players can click a button to read tips at any time as well as read advice from the players, too. This doesn’t mean the 15 virtual Poker Superstars you’ll face are going to be easy to beat, however. This game enjoys smart A.I. whether you opt for a one round game, a limit poker game or the meaty tournament (season) mode.

We love the tense music during the turn card or river cards are revealed; this adds some suspense and drama to the game. After going all in on our very first tournament hand, we were feeling that tension, too. But winning $272,500 in chips subdued that anxiety…

Another fun feature is the ability to import your own photo, so now you can see your mug alongside your name. You can also see the faces of your Poker Superstar opponents, which change as they win, lose, think or make bets.

Whether or not you’ve played the original Poker Superstars, amateur and serious poker fans alike should enjoy clicking through Funkitron’s new and improved game. Sure, there is no shortage of downloadable poker games these days but Poker Superstars II looks to be a winner thanks to its clever TV show tie-in, smart A.I. and easy-to-learn interface and optional player tips.

Deal us in!