There's an old saying that if you want something, you can have it fast, cheap, or good - pick two. You never get all three at once. That's applicable to poker on the PSP, which always seems to come with some compromise. For Stacked, it's cheap and good - but it ain't fast.
The oft-delayed Texas Hold 'em simulator definitely looks sharp; its crisp player models and smooth player animations hold up well compared to its PS2 counterpart. And while poker games usually suffer from lousy voice acting, these tablemates sound realistic enough for you to enjoy their chatter. Both of those elements are just perks sitting atop Stacked's greatest asset: its AI. Players aren't braindead; they play reasonably well, taking risks no more than any given human player, and they'll make you pay for stupid play. It's good training for the real world.
But the pokey PSP processor can only think so quickly. Between loading times and the CPU mulling over betting rounds, Stacked seems to creep even when you've cranked the game speed. For %26ldquo;poker on the go,%26rdquo; shouldn't it, you know, go?
We're not thrilled with the limited character creation options and we don't understand why every time we opt for an AdHoc or Wi-Fi game, the game forces a full system reset. We do like being able to swap our saved games with the PS2 edition, though, and for $20, Stacked's style and clever AI makes it worth buying...but only if you really need your poker fix on PSP.