Casino card games on Facebook are not unfamiliar to most users. Unfortunately, most of them never really see much traffic — usually due to poor quality or lack of anything new to offer. But for those that do make it, these games (specifically Zynga Poker) have become extraordinarily popular applications.
If you’ve played any of the older Texas Hold’Em apps, or the real thing, for that matter, then you’ve played this game. Essentially, and as far as game play goes, it really just boils down to a newer, fresher feel to the game. And the app pulls it off. The game feels very crisp and clean, with a very serious mood to it. Frankly, it doesn’t even feel much like a typical social game, but that is sort of the point.
WPT is trying to fill the a niche for “advanced” Texas Hold’Em players — users that are there to play the game itself, and not so much post updates and decorate rooms. Right as you launch the app and set up your character, there are dozens of tables ready to join with play speeds ranging from normal to fast and stakes as low as two to four chips and as high as 2000 – 5000. Advanced users can go straight to the table that’s fitting for their level and beginners to theirs. Once seated, standard Texas Hold’Em rules apply as avatar icons of all nine players highlight and the player folds or bets.
Despite the focus of the game, WPT also uses the strengths of Facebook. As such, the game has all of your typical social elements including friend invites, gifting, achievements, game play statistics, and a customizable avatar – all of which, sans your friends, can be viewed by anyone that clicks your avatar at a card table.
As a matter of fact, this avatar has a surprising level of detail to it, granting users the ability to customize commonplace items such as hair and skin tone, and minor accessories such as rings and belts. In fact, as users play and gain more card playing experience – thus unlocking new levels – they can even buy dogs, cars, planes, and a number of other absurdities that we only wish we could actually afford.
This is were your chips come into play. Obviously, these are used for betting at the tables, but they’re also used to purchase all of the avatar items. This means that if you’re not careful, you can quickly become very broke. Hmm, just like Vegas. Of course, that’s sort of the idea, as this is the primary monetization factor for WPT: Selling more chips. There is no actual gambling, per US law and Facebook’s platform rules.
Frankly, chips are pretty cheap, and if you so desire, you could buy 3.5 million for $100. If you are not quite such a high roller, then you can still buy chips for about $5 or complete a number of offers in order to earn them.
Perhaps you are wondering at this point: Why is WPT Texas Hold’Em worth playing over other poker apps? One reason may be because of the fact that it is an official World Poker Tour game — perhaps it will do tie-ins with the real tour at some point? Meanwhile, there are prizes, although not based on your success in the app.
Fans of the Facebook app — you need to become a fan of its Page — can enter to win everything from the simple to the very extravagant. An example of the former would be official WPT tournament poker chip sets. The latter, most recently, was two seats on a 7-Night VIP poker trip on the WPT Boot Camp Battle@Sea Cruise on the Mexican Riviera. Oh yeah, while there, you would get to play in four tournaments with a prize pool of up to $200,000.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say when the next major prize will become available, so WPT also set up their official hostess, Alison Waite with a Facebook page that provides not only updates for these prizes (which is also on the app’s Page), but often provides tips and videos on how to become a better poker player.
Overall, WPT Texas Hold’Em Poker is nothing significantly new as far as poker games go. It’s more of a different flavor of poker game; one that focuses more on the diehard poker fans, and not so much the standard social gamers themselves. That doesn’t mean the app is devoid of social elements, but rather, just that these are more for enhancement purposes and not intended, in our view, for the typical social gamer. Evidentially, this strategy is starting to work as well, for the past four days or so have seen big growth for the application and it has currently reached just shy of 90,000 monthly active users.