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Prominence Poker: The Importance of Vibe

There are a million poker games on the internet. What makes one stand out over the other? It’s all about vibe. Let’s take a look at Prominence Poker.


It’s a poker game. You play poker. You do poker-related things. And yet by giving it an adult look, and letting you create your own characters, it makes it stand out in a market of green table tops and little else.

It has an edge that has obviously worked for its fans – it’s currently sitting at Very Positive on Steam with thousands of reviews. You don’t get to that point by just being a good poker game, although I’d argue that the foundation you build upon is the most important thing. It has to be a decent poker game, else why bother?

No, to go above and beyond you have to do something to stand out. While a traditional online video poker game involves playing one vs a computer. Prominence Poker is a multiplayer poker game that involves playing against other human players in a virtual setting.

Prominence Poker gives playing poker online character. It does this by taking us into the seedy underworld of a city called Prominence – and letting us see the things that are going on.

Gambling and the world of drug trafficking, weaponry and organised crime do have a certain affinity, thanks to our love of gangster movies and the romantic view of the prohibition era. Letting you create your own avatar is the icing on the cake – it means you can put yourself into the game. The days of digital cards sitting on a sea of Gambling Green are long gone – or should be. It’s all a bit too Windows 98 for my liking.

Prominence Poker: Gaming and Vibe

And yet too many developers think this is the way to go. It’s cheaper, it’s more achievable by a single person or a small team. Those are fine problems to have and overcoming them isn’t easy. But the reality is, those that can overcome them will stand out.


We see it on bigger games as well. Take a look at something like The Last of Us or Days Gone. These are not games without flaws. And yet, the vibe carries them through. Fans love the way Sony tells their stories, they love the worlds that come through during exploration or cutscenes. And so the flaws don’t matter as much.

The vibe carries the game. Style can make up for a lack of substance, and when you have both – as every game mentioned here appears to – then you are onto something special.

When you read through the Prominence Poker reviews, very few people are specifically talking about the look and feel. You get some compliments about the rooms and characters, but mostly people are surprised by how good a poker experience it is. Especially considering it’s free.

But what a lot of them don’t realise is that the gameplay is elevated by the feel of the game itself. Without that, it’d just be another poker experience – and there are plenty of them already. It isn’t easy to do – but when it’s done well, it’ll always be worth it.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott