Coming soon to a video game console near you: Canadian poker star Daniel Negreanu. The 2004 player of the year, famous for his wardrobe of hockey jerseys, already has a remarkably high profile via his newspaper and magazine columns and TV appearances. But the Toronto poker expert has now hooked up with MTV Games, publisher Myelin Media and Reno-based developer 5000ft, Inc. for the game Stacked With Daniel Negreanu.
The Texas Hold 'em game will be available for Xbox, PlayStation 2, PSP and the PC in the fall.
"What drew me initially to the game was, for one, it's better than all the others," Negreanu said from Las Vegas, where he had exited early this time at the World Series of Poker.
"It had more options ... but the most important aspect that makes it a cut above of the rest was the AI, the artificial intelligence. When they explained it to me, it just blew my mind. The computer will take all the data about you, and use it to exploit your weaknesses.
"And I thought 'Wow. What a great teaching tool.' So not only for those that play for money already, but those that just want to learn how to play better or practise their game. Playing against (AI) robots that will destroy the weakness seems like a really good way to do that."
Stacked offers online tournament play, although not for money. There's also an 'Ask Daniel' button with tips from Negreanu.
"Along with that, there's a whole poker school inside the game ... a lot of it's very basic but then it moves on to a very advanced strategy."
Thanks to the popularity of the sport, the poker video gaming market is getting crowded.
Also slated for release later this summer or fall are World Poker Tour (2K Sports), World Series of Poker (Activision) and Payout Poker and Casino (Namco-Hometek). Already out are Poker SuperStars (Activision), Hoyle Poker Series (Encore Games), Tournament Poker 2005 (Eagle Games) and World Championship Poker (Crave Entertainment).
Negreanu believes the sizeable investment in his game will make it stand out in the crowd, noting it had already drawn the attention of MTV's new games division. The tie-in delighted the Canadian, who pronounces himself an MTV junkie.
"I watch MTV several hours a day," he said.
MTV also plans to develop programming around the poker game.
There are six other pros in Negreanu's game, including Toronto pro Evelyn Ng.