Encore has done quite well at ensuring that virtually any game one could find in Vegas is included in Hoyle Casino 2010. From blackjack to craps to baccarat, each game has been faithfully recreated with all the rules matching identical to that of a real casino. While the vast majority of games have been designed quite well, we'll examine three types of games: 2D table, 3D table, and slots.
2D Table Games
2D table games, such as craps, provide a mediocre experience when compared to the amount of detail that Encore definitely put on creating the 3D games. For example, the graphics in the craps game are clearly too narrow and the betting system is highly awkward. You can place a bet anywhere on the table, so if you bet on the pass line, you're not restricted to placing your bet straight in front of you. Instead, you can place your bet in front of a computer player or anywhere else you'd like. Unfortunately, the computer players love to place their bets anywhere on the table, as you can see from the image to the right (if you look closely there are two bets to the left of mine). This naturally leads to many "is that my bet?" scenarios where you'll have to hover over people's bets to see which ones are the computer's and which are your's. Roulette is a semi-3D game (the table is portrayed to be 3D, but the perspective fixation makes it look very 2D) and it suffers from many of the same problems. It's clear that Encore didn't put much thought into making the bigger table games as pleasant as the 3D ones.
3D Table Games
While the 2D games aren't particularly good, the 3D ones are absolutely astounding. Everything about these games feels completely realistic, from the way the cards are dealt to the rules themselves, Encore has created an experience that is unrivaled by all other casino games. With the player chatter turned on, there are many times when it feels very much like I'm sitting at a real blackjack table. All the players place their bets and then the dealer is actually animated to be dealing the cards, as can be seen by the image on the left. To provide a good example of the attention paid to the 3D games, consider the betting limit sign. In previous versions of the game, you'd select a table limit that you wanted - be it $5, $10, etc. However, in this version of Hoyle Casino, you can simply click on the sign to adjust the betting limits which are then displayed as they'd be in a real casino. This is a little detail, but its certainly one that adds to the realism.
I've always been a little disappointed that Hoyle could never get licenses from the different slot companies to offer more faithful recreations of some of our casino favorites (Double Diamond, anyone?). Hoyle Casino 2010 is no exception to this. Still, it's clear that the developers have put a lot of time and effort into making the ficitious slots look and play their best. They're rendered in 3D, and there are an incredibly high variety to choose from, including standard 3-reel, 3-reel with 5 paylines, the more wacky game slots, and so on. Virtually any kind of slot, video poker, or video blackjack has been included in this version of the game.
For those who haven't played Hoyle Casino before, it's also worth mentioning that the slot machines do not have adjustable payouts. So, much like a real casino, when you go to a slot you don't know what its payout percentage will be. The help manual in Hoyle gives payout ranges as high as 97% and as low as 85%, so I suspect the computer just randomly chooses a percentage between these two.
All in all, the selection of games is quite high. Although some games aren't designed perfectly, it becomes very clear, very quickly that there's something that everyone will like in Hoyle Casino. Given the scarcity of gambling games on the market, I'm inclined to say that the positives vastly outweigh the negatives here and give this section a four out of five.