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BallShooter Poker Jam 1.0

John Ottini | Handheld PC Reviews
June 20, 2005

If you switch on the television and perform a bit of channel surfing on any night of the week you will inevitably encounter a bunch of steely-eyed competitors playing for obscene amounts of money, in yet another round of the World Poker Challenge. When did everyone become Poker crazy? I've never been much of a high stakes Poker player, but I don't mind losing a few quarters (dollars) at the Poker machines in Reno or Vegas. After sitting at these machines for a few minutes or perhaps hours (one loses track of time!), I can see how playing this game can become quite addictive and costly.

Fortunately, thanks to the folks at Ballshooter, I can play my favorite games of Poker right on my Handheld PC without worrying about losing money, that (perhaps) I can't afford to lose.

Poker Jam 1.0 by Ballshooter contains 3 of the most popular versions of casino quality Poker - Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and Deuces - all are easy to learn and (as you will discover) fun to play.

Jacks or Better with 'Jeans' Background Pattern

Game Play - Place Your Bets!

Initial, game play begins with $100 worth of credit allotted to you, the player. The credit value can be reset (back to $100) at anytime during game play - before or after you lose the total amount (snicker!). The maximum bet per hand is $5, but you can set your bet to any amount ranging between $1 and $5. Once you are dealt the initial hand of 5 cards (face up) you must decide which cards to hold or discard as you attempt to match one of the various money winning hands. One of the great things about computer or machine Poker is that once the second hand is dealt, the software automatically lets you know whether you have won or lost and then adds or subtracts from your credit, accordingly. This software comes with a scrolling message board, which gives you words of encouragement when you win and can be just plain irritating when you lose.

Joker Poker with 'Maple' Background Pattern

Your Options Are?

Beside winning or losing, Ballshooter has included a number of nice options you can control when playing with this software. As mentioned previously, the software includes 3 versions of Poker and just in case you get bored of losing while starring at the same background screen, also includes 3 user selectable background patterns: Maple, Jeans, Mahogany.

You can toggle on or off the sound effects, although I find leaving the sound effects 'on' adds to the enjoyment of playing the game. You can also set the confirmation boxes on or off and there is even an option to set the graphics to grayscale, for older gray screen Handhelds or if you own a newer Handheld and simply find grayscale, more to your liking.

Example of the game play motion

Everyone is a critic!

I believe that the folks at Ballshooter did a pretty decent job of capturing the essence of casino style Poker machines. The graphics are nicely done and the game play is fairly challenging to say the least! It's quite unfortunate that the Ballshooter haven't elected to make dynamic use of the screen space. By not expanding the graphic interface to fill the entire H/PC screen, thereby leaving 1/3 of the right hand side of the screen uncovered users of most H/PC devices may feel a little cramped. There was a reason for this; that was to cater for older and uncommon 480x240 screen devices but as a 640x240 user it's a bit disappointing and quite unnecessary. Fortunately, it doesn't affect the quality of game play, so I guess I have to be ok with it, even though it seems a bit incomplete.

Another thing that I found lacking, is that I believe that the maximum bet of $5 (in my opinion) is too low. I would prefer that the maximum bet be set to somewhere around $25 and that the starting Credit allotted be increased to $500. This would make game play a little more dynamic and realistic, by give the player more flexibility over his/her betting options.

Download A Winner

Poker Jam, just like all other Ballshooter developed games, is shareware and comes in a trial version which can download free at www.ballshooter.com or www.handango.com . The price of a registered version is $14.95 but Ballshooter loves to run software specials, so please check their website for the current sale price.

Win or lose? You can't go wrong playing Ballshooter's - Poker jam


System Requirements

Windows CE 2.00 and above
SH3, SH4, StrongArm, MIPS

More information on BallShooter Poker Jam 1.0 can be found at


Cost: 3- Star Rating
Usability: 5- Star Rating
Built-in Help: 4- Star Rating
Customer Service: 5- Star Rating
Overall: 4- Star Rating

Further Discussion

Let us know what you thought of this review and the BallShooter Poker Jam 1.0 in the Community Forums!