Casino games have been around almost as long as home console games have been. The RCA Studio II, spawned in the mid 70's, even had a game cartridge that allowed you to play blackjack at home on your television screen. Nearly 30 years later, not all that much has changed and this lackluster effort from SEGA isn't a great example of the evolution of the genre.
Initially, you'll start off with access to five casino games from which to choose from, namely Baccarat, Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack, and Roulette. In order to unlock additional games, you'll have to earn a certain amount of money to unlock each of them as your gambling career moves along. One would assume that since you aren't gambling with "real" money that this makes the idea of losing hard earned cash less palatable. Unfortunately, it's a tedious chore to earn money in order to get access to games that would normally be available at a real casino. Furthermore, the absence of slot machines entirely leaves one scratching their heads as to what kind of casino this really is.
The touch screen and stylus is perfectly suited for this type of game and the integration between the two works beautifully. Games of chance such as Blackjack and Roulette are pretty hard to screw up and this title does a decent job with the games of chance that it emulates. The presentation of all the games is about as barebones as it gets and is reminiscent of the built in solitaire games that most PC's ship with. If you're looking for an envelope pushing graphical tour de force to show off what your DS can do, than this is the title that you most want to avoid in achieving that goal. It must be noted, however, that great graphics aren't really an important aspect to this type of game. It should also be noted that the AI, particularly in the poker games, are the one thing that could've set this apart from its competition and here is where the game fails miserably.
The computer opponents that you're playing against are about as dumb a grapefruit. If you check, they'll check. If you bet, at least one of them will bet. They'll go all in on completely terrible cards and won't bet at all (see: checking) even if they have strong hands. It's nearly impossible to lose playing against these opponents and it quickly becomes tedious and since this is the only game that isn't completely chance, it's the game that you would've been most likely to play had it been at all challenging. The idea of pursuing this to unlock additional games or higher stakes tables for any length of time just doesn't seem all that appealing. I ran into a few glitches with Texas Hold 'Em as well. For example, on one occasion between my cards and the dealer cards I had a mid-level straight. Upon the opponents calling my bets, they each had two pair (which my straight would've beaten) but all of my cards had miraculously changed to completely different cards after we displayed our hands. Puzzling, to be certain.
Sure, there is wireless capability so that you and up to four other friends can play against each other in the same room or in the same house without actually having to look at each other. Even this is limited to three different variations of games (Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack, and 7 Card Stud) and you really have to wonder why one would avoid using a real deck of cards with your buddies if they were that close to begin with.
I like SEGA and their history, but there is very little here to recommend for anyone other than someone completely desperate for some portable casino games. It's a very weak effort from a reputable company that should know better.