Zynga just launched their newest title, Poker Blitz for Facebook, and from our early looks it seems to be Texas Hold ‘Em meets Farmville. The game is a simplified version of texas hold’ em poker with cutesy graphics and powerups that affect gameplay. The game seems to be inviting new demographics to enjoy the game of poker, and my first impressions say that they’ve succeeded.
The game starts with a great tutorial, and as you play you gain levels which allow you to participate in more elements of the game. For the early levels, you can only bet $1, and your only real power-up is the ‘swap cards’ powerup which allows you to swap out your two cards for two random cards. There are options to review your hands and also see how strong your current hand is, with a percentage that alerts you to your hand strength. This game is a great learning tool for people that wanted to get to know poker a little better, and it’s very easy to get sucked in to play “just one more hand”, just like in real poker.
As you level up, you gain the ability to do things like double down your bet, or modify your betting sizes, and the game slowly turns into a regular version of Texas Hold ‘Em poker, as far as I can tell. At level 3, you gain the ability to join groups, where your net winnings earns you opportunities for tournaments and more. We’ll have a more detailed review of the gameplay and growth patterns as the game iterates over the next few weeks.
One surprising element of this game is that it forces you to subscribe to their email feed to even play the game. Leave it to Zynga to always push the boundaries on what’s allowable within these games, as every user who plays the game must now receive email notifications about new improvements in the game.