There have never been more ways to play poker and this week’s Positively Nerd Street takes a look at three new ways to get your fix.
Feel free to give us suggestions for future nerdy pieces in the comments.
In today’s Positively Nerd Street we’re going to review three separate poker video games that represent a shift from the traditional online poker model popularized by the likes of PokerStars and PartyPoker.
We’ve got one of the first reviews of the official World Series of Poker app by EA games (one of the first reviews of the newly launched game), Zynga Poker-competitor Pokerist and finally the casual-style Full House Poker on Xbox 360.
For: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Facebook
Pokerist is another rather standard social media-based online poker game that’s free to play but extras will cost you.
It’s very similar to industry leader Zynga Poker but a little more streamlined.
You’ll find all the barebone features of online poker games with your basic check, bet, raise, fold buttons as well as a few extras like a visual lobby and a multi-table mode.
The interface is much less cluttered than the Zynga Poker one, which some players will no doubt prefer.
Surprisingly Pokerist is the second most popular Facebook poker game next to Zynga Poker with 100,000 active monthly users. Zynga does have a vast lead, however, with 260,000 active monthly users.
There are also some differences between the Desktop and Facebook-based clients with the Facebook one seemingly getting more updates, including model Carmen Electra as the dealer.
In our experience this client is actually superior than Zynga Poker in several ways and worth checking out as a free-to-play online poker game.
- Carmen Electra
- Decent tutorial
- Sit & Goes
- Boring interface
- Only Hold’em
Full House Poker
For: Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Full House Poker on Xbox 360 has a devoted following on Xbox live and it’s easy to see why.
The game takes the right approach to free poker games and puts the emphasis on fun with stylish art, an XP-based leveling system and a great tutorial to get you started.
Unlike numerous poker games on the market, Full House Poker has a personality and while it’s nothing like an actual brick-and-morter casino, it’s a welcome vacation from the boring bare-bones poker clients on the Internet.
One of the highlights of Full House Poker is the Texas Heat events. These scheduled 30-minute affairs essentially act like rake races in traditional online poker and you can win massive bonuses for generating the most XP. About four Texas Heat events are scheduled every day.
The XP system is very well-crafted and works a little bit like Frequent Player Point programs on actual online poker sites. You gain XP for every hand you play, including the ones you lose (albeit not as much), so it helps pump the action too.
Setting up is a breeze as the game imports your avatar from Xbox live so you’ll instantly have a customized poker player who represents you.
Full House Poker isn’t perfect and it can be slow if everyone is taking a long time to act. Fortunately there is a 30-second time limit on each decision, which helps tremendously.
The other flaw is that Full House Poker costs $10. Most online poker games are free or in the $1-$2 range so it’s quite a step up.
We’d argue the production value in Full House Poker is enough to justify a purchase.
- Ability to show one card is awesome
- Tournaments and cash games
- Online and offline play
- Can be slow
- Costs $10
World Series of Poker by Electronic Arts
For: iOS, Android
Released: May, 2012
Publisher: Electronic Arts
EA picked up the rights to the World Series of Poker brand last year and their first game to carry the WSOP brand is pretty damn sweet.
Very similar to Zynga Poker the game is based on a freemium model. It costs nothing but getting extras, such as VIP status or more chips, will set you back at least $.99.
The game has an extensive store where you can buy avatars and clothes to customize your playing experience.
Overall it’s not a bad playing experience. The game client is quite simple for the most part and you won’t find any advanced features, although Pot-Limit Omaha is a nice addition.
It’s worth noting that World Series of Poker takes place completely online and there isn’t a single-player tutorial.
There are some minor quibbles. For instance the fold button is on the wrong side, compared to traditional online poker and the raise button can be finicky at best.
In addition it appears they are still building a player base for the game as it's common to click the Play Now button and be put on a table with zero players.
If nothing else it’s a massive improvement over the dreadful World Series of Poker Holdem by GLU, which was riddled with bugs from the very beginning.
The game will get much more interesting if it starts offering actual freerolls into WSOP events.
Bottom line, it’s one of the better free poker games for the iPhone and Android phones.
- Offers No-Limit Hold’em AND Pot-Limit Omaha
- Gameplay is simple but effective
- Average graphics
- No single player
- Difficult finding players
- Betting wheel is too sensitive