Over 21 million people in this world own an iPhone. If just 1% of those people play poker, that's over 210,000 people who should read this blog.
The original "quick guide" to poker on the iPhone went over some of the best and worst iPhone poker apps available in the app store. At the time I had ranked Zynga as the best poker app available, while Imagine Poker was the absolute worst.
In all seriousness, Imagine Poker really is the worst poker iPhone app I've ever used. Who decided that playing poker against the Mona Lisa or Napoleon is something anyone would be interested in?
Just thinking about having paid for that app tilts the living shit out of me.
But I digress. After a bit more digging around, here are three more poker apps worth talking about.
Texas Hold'em by Apple ($4.99)
One-Word Rating: Scrumptious
This app was excluded from the first article, simply because Apple doesn't need any more free press than it already gets. After a couple of updates and some more time logged using the app, I'm here to say that it's truly a four-star app.
The game itself has two ways to play: against the computer or against other local iPhone players. This multiplayer feature is sort of useless since if you have a bunch of friends in the same room wanting to play poker, why not just grab a deck of cards?
The single player mode has a pseudo storyline, where you build up your roll by beating small-stakes games on your quest to reach the top of the poker world.
Actually playing the game is what makes Apple's app so slick. In landscape mode the game functions much like other Hold'em apps. And as you'd expect from Apple, the controls are easy to use and free of any glitches or annoyances.
You can tap to skip computer game play and speed up the amount of time it takes to play, and you can fold your cards with a flick.
If you turn the iPhone into portrait mode, you get a mix of animated table, chips and cards - even actually a video of a dealer and players. You get to watch your players make their bets, giving you a pseudo-immersive experience completely unique to this brand.
The only major downfall of the app comes from having no ability to play with other real people online. You're either playing against silicone or friends in the same room.
Considering the price ($5) and the lack of online play, the app isn't perfect. But it's still worth a four-star rating.
Texas Wuggle (99¢)
One-Word Rating: Putrescence
This app seemed promising: arcade "puzzle style" game play consisting of franticly moving cards around to make poker hands.
I typically like games which require you to race a timer, and especially if you get to bet on your ability to complete the level at hand.
The app made me excited and I even watched a video trailer for the game. I paid for it, started it up and played my first match. It took me 3 or 4 rounds to get used to the controls and figure out some sort of strategy.
The strategy was simple: Bet all in every round.
In less than five minutes I had turned the starting $50 into $1.6 billion. Yeah, you read that correctly. $1.6 BILLION. So as far as I was concerned, the main game mode had been wrapped in less than 5 min.
Still, no worries, there's a survival mode. I figured I'd give that a shot.
You might think I'm exaggerating when I make this next claim, but let me tell you this: I am being 100% honest. I even had two people in the office watching me in disbelief.
I literally played until the game sped up to inhuman speeds to force the end. In that game I made a club flush every single hand. I either was dealt a club flush, or was one card out and hit on my first draw every time.
No really, I made a club flush EVERY SINGLE HAND. Two of them were straight flushes, the rest just a regular old club flush.
Ten minutes of game play and I had high scores to the point where you just don't care anymore.
It's like when you start playing Tetris on Facebook. You're rocking along, you get really good and start posting some really sick high scores. You're rocking 250k points in marathon mode and are feeling pretty good about it.
Then you look at the leader boards and see that the best people have over 968k. At the very top of your game, you're still only one-quarter of the way to the best score.
At that point, it just doesn't seem like fun to play anymore.
Texas Wuggle gets a resounding zero stars. Unless you're three years old, where anything moving or shiny will entertain you, this app is pretty garbage.
World Poker Tour Texas Hold'em ($3.99)
One-Word Rating: Acceptable
Anytime I start up a game that has a super flashy, obviously high-budget opening video sequence, I start to worry.
Only two things are possible at this point:
- They have a huge overall budget for the game, allowing them to put full resources and effort behind all features and aspects.
- The game sucks, and to make it look legit they spent all of the development money on a fancy video rather than working on making it enjoyable.
It seems this game is mostly the result of the former rather than the latter. The game is actually pretty tight. The controls are simple and accurate and the game play is what you would expect.
This game offers play almost identical to the landscape version of Apple's Texas Hold'em, but WPT also allows players to create a profile and play with real players online. For this reason, WPT might actually be the better choice between the two titles.
One of my biggest complaints though is what WPT likely thinks is its biggest asset: Professional poker player likenesses at the table.
I hate sitting next to a computer version of Jesus Ferguson only to watch the half-assed AI have him overcall for his tournament life with A5 offsuit. It's just embarrassing to watch the computer make a player as talented as him look like a complete jerk off.
So while it won't give you fancy-playing video opponents, it will let you play against other people for your hard-earned play money balance. It's also cheaper than Apple's product, so might be your best choice.
I give WPT a three-and-a-half star rating. It probably should get four, but in typical WPT fashion, the app was busy trying to be far too flashy and exciting. I just want to play poker.
WPT is not as strong of an overall app as Apple's, but it has online play. If you don't fancy you'll be playing online, the Apple app might be the one for you. Otherwise, this is your obvious choice.