A Look At Poker Apps

June 17th, 2011 Poker Systems

When Full Tilt Poker released its Android app last December, it was among the first of its kind to let users play for real money on the go. And despite a shaky start, players took to it pretty favorably, making it the top-selling poker app on the market in just a few months. But since then, there have been more and more additions to the market, catering to other mobile systems and each offering tools outside of gameplay, from bankroll management to tournament finders to practice games.

The largest selection of poker apps, interestingly, can be found on the BlackBerry platform. For basic gameplay, there’s Downtown Texas Hold’em, which can be set to different skill levels and played on practice (no stakes) and career modes. If you’re willing to splurge a little, try the $2.99 World Series of Poker Hold’em Legend, which allows single-player and multi-player modes. The World Poker Tour Hold’em app goes for the same price but gets good reviews for its graphics.

Zynga Poker is probably the fastest-growing app of its kind, partly because it caters to the two largest slices of the mobile market (iPhone and Android users) and also because of its wide range of free money games. It’s linked to your Facebook account, so you can use your existing Zynga account if you already have one. Others have complained that it doesn’t work as well on the Android OS, however.

A close competitor is Live Hold’en Poker Pro, which is fast gaining ground because of its smooth play and virtually nonexistent technical flaws. Appeak Poker is also worth a look–OnlinePoker.org says it may well be the best free app for the Android OS, even surpassing the brand-name Full Tilt Poker Rush app. The iPhone offers much fewer options, most likely because Apple is known to have strict policies against online gambling.

Outside of gameplay, other poker apps serve as tools to help improve your game. Avid players can use the PokerZig Tournament Finder to track down tournaments in their area, complete with schedules and details. For beginners and casual players, Poker Challenge is a great way to pit your abilities against virtual players with no real stakes. Poker Life Line offers a more in-depth look at your game, with a tracking feature that keeps tabs on your losses and allows you to spot patterns of weakness and strength.

Poker clearly isn’t falling behind on the “there’s an app for that” bandwagon. The use of apps has yet to be directly addressed in professional play, so it’s best to play safe and not use them when there’s real money on the line. Otherwise, it’s always good to have a little help in improving your game.

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