Pure Hold'em

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Pure Hold'em Game Poster Image
Realistic poker simulator brings casino feel to your home.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Simulated gambling doesn't have positive or negative messages; merely recreates the experience of the game.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as yourself against other poker players; role modeling doesn't enter into play.

Ease of Play

Though controls are simple, playing poker requires skill, strategy.


Players can use real-world money to buy in-game funds. But players can't convert in-game funds into real-world money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pure Hold'em is a realistic downloadable poker video game. After learning the rules of Texas Hold'em, you sit at a photo-realistic table and start playing poker, either against the computer or fellow online cardsharps. Players can even use real money to buy more in-game funds, though you don't have to because there's a freebie table where you can win game money. You also can't trade your in-game winnings for real money. Wannabe gamblers can communicate via voice chat with people they're playing with, which results in unmoderated communication.

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What's it about?

Since PURE HOLD'EM is a poker simulator, it doesn't have a story. There are no colorful characters, no James Bond-like villains, and no loan sharks threatening bodily or property damage. You simply pick which table you want to play at (based on how skillful you think you are and how much money you'd like to bet), and start playing Texas Hold'em. Though there are in-game characters you can play against in the offline mode, they don't have personalities, and you don't talk to them.

Is it any good?

For those who don't live somewhere gambling is legal or would rather not lose their kids' college funds to a straight flush, this poker simulation is a fine placebo. Not only do the photo-realistic graphics make you feel like you're sitting at a casino's poker table, but it follows the real rules of Texas Hold'em, right down to how much you need to bet and at what points. You can play against other people online or set up a private game with your friends.

That said, Pure Hold'em's realism and attention to detail make it feel like a serious game. Which means that if you're not a serious player, you should probably take your action somewhere else (there are plenty of other poker games available that let you play with a range of crazy characters). Also, if you play offline, your virtual opponents aren't the brightest bunch, so don't expect much of a challenge. All that aside, if you're looking for a strong game of poker, Pure Hold'em should deal mature players a fun hand time after time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gambling. Why do people like to gamble? What kind of trouble can it get you into? Do you understand why you should never gamble unless you're prepared to lose?

  • Talk about being financially responsible. Though playing poker can be fun, why is it important to be smart about how much you wager and to know when to walk away and cut your losses?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Ripstone Games
  • Release date: August 20, 2015
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: T for Simulating gambling
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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