Jawfish Poker is an iOS release from Jawfish Games. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
There are a ton of poker games on the market, and few manage to stand out. For every successful poker app, there’s a handful that follow the same formula and fail to pick up any momentum. The lack of diversity found in poker games creates an opening for games that are able to follow the basic concept of poker, but add its own spin. Jawfish Poker is a wonderful example of taking a popular idea, making a tiny change, and feeling a major impact.
Jawfish Poker is based around Texas Hold’em. Players are each given two cards, five cards are placed in the middle, and whoever can make the best five-card poker hand will win the round. Jawfish Poker takes that popular idea, and makes a change to one of the biggest parts of the game — betting. Real poker features a level of competitive betting every time new hands are dealt and new cards are shown. Jawfish Poker removes the deep level of strategy that comes from large groups and frequent betting. Instead, the system is based around one-on-one matchups where players get two choices: fold or go all-in. Serious poker enthusiasts may find this setup to be odd or downright childish, but casual fans who crave fast-paced gameplay may find exactly what their looking for.
There are two main modes to Jawfish Poker: Tournaments and King of the Hill. Tournaments are a series of head-to-head hands where players bet all or nothing and the last remaining competitor wins. There are three entry fee levels for tournaments, using in-game gold. The more gold players pay up front, the larger the prize pool is. Players who want to fight for the largest possible prize will be more interested in King of the Hill. This mode works similar to tournaments, but players can enter with various amounts of gold. The goal in King of the Hill is to continuously earn gold and battle to the top of the leaderboard in order to win the jackpot once the timer runs out. Competition is fierce in King of the Hill and users with large amounts of gold have a distinct advantage, but wisely playing the odds gives everyone a fair shot.
Jawfish Poker’s monetization comes through two forms of in-game currency: gold and diamonds. Gold is used to enter tournaments and can be won from placing high in tournaments. Diamonds are generally used alongside gold to enter King of the Hill matches and re-enter tournaments after elimination. Diamonds are useful for players who frequently enter King of the Hill, while gold is almost a necessity. Gold is so important that Jawfish Poker will occasionally give players 1,000 gold when they’re running low. Players who want more gold and diamonds can buy some for as little as $0.99. Players who wish to re-enter tournaments but lack gold or diamonds will have the option to purchase re-entry for about $1.99. The in-game currency is very reasonably priced, but there’s enough free gold given out to keep non-monetizing players happy.
Jawfish Poker may not appeal to serious poker fans. The all or nothing style relies heavily on weighing the initial odds and hoping luck is on your side for the rest. That said, the fast pace tournaments will appeal to a variety of casual poker fans and those who simply want to learn about the basic ideas to poker.
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Jawfish Poker takes the basics of Hold’em Poker and implements a fun high-risk, high-reward system.