Texas HoldEm Poker is the flagship game by Zynga Game Network, and it’s little wonder this game is successful. The combination of simple flash animation, any easy interface, a vibrant community, and an already-addictive game make Texas HoldEm an unsurprising hit.
Developers should pay attention to the plethora of options that Texas HoldEm provides the player. The digital chips used for placing bets can be bought using real cash, won in the game, or earned in a number of ways. Players can earn chips by signing up for an offer at one of the many Zynga partners or installing another application that has integrated support for Texas HoldEm. If that isn’t your thing, inviting your friends is another quick way to get chips and perpetuate the game. Once inside, you and your friends can set up a private table.
Texas HoldEm has a distinct advantage over other games by because so many people are already familiar with the game (and often play it with people they don’t know). But Zynga smartly invested in some decent Flash animation and a few bells and whistles to make the experience more than just a card game. In order to prevent the game from stalling due to indecision or idleness, each player is given a timer to call, raise, or fold. This helps prevent a game’s arrest at the hands of someone who left their desktop to go make a sandwich.
You can play anyone in the world – not just your friends – just simply click “play” and you’re at the table with several other players from all over the world. There is a ranking system that is kept up to date so players know how they stand in the larger million plus community. One can also achieve a star status that corresponds to an ability level (Shark, Playa, Poker Pro, etc). During the game, a side-scrolling text window shows the last few moves of the table and a chat window allows players to communicate with one another. There are also digital “drinks” players can pass each other to further lend to the atmosphere. Each player can add their own icon (your poker face, if you will) to enhance the interactive experience.
Beyond the game itself, the supporting features are quite staggering. In addition to the ranking system, there are player profiles, leader boards, an active forum, and a help tab for players who are new to the game. I had to refresh my memory on some of the rules and the help tab was largely informative, though it skips on some of the more obtuse rules.
Overall, Texas HoldEm is the definitive poker app on Facebook. The developers do everything in their power to make the game as interactive and personal as possible. The game is able to survive not only because of partnerships and not only because of its invites = chips economy, but because the game is just really, really fun.
Developer’s rating: 9/10
Likelihood you’ll be caught at work playing this game: 9/10