Grand Poker is a Facebook-based casino poker game from Playality. The game has been available since September of 2010, but has been showing steady growth in user numbers since. At the time of writing, the game is showing up as the No. 12 top gainer by MAU in the last week.
Grand Poker provides a fairly conventional implementation of casino-style Texas hold ’em poker. The game gives players the opportunity to play on several servers and join one of a number of different rooms within that server, each of which has its own minimum and maximum buy-ins as well as a set stake.
Once the player has chosen a table, they can then simply observe the other participants if they wish or, if there is a virtual seat available, set themselves down and buy in to the game. Here is where one of Grand Poker’s most curious decisions becomes particularly inconvenient — for some reason, Playality decided that making the amounts of money involved in the game regularly extend into the billions would be a good idea. When buying in to a poker game, the player must type in how much of their banked amount they wish to use, and since the numbers involved are so large it is sometimes difficult to judge exactly how much one is setting aside. Given that most stakes involve multiples of thousands of dollars, it seems bizarre that Playality would choose not to simply divide everything by a few thousand to get rid of a few extraneous zeroes and make the numbers more immediately understandable to players.
The peculiar nature of the huge stakes becomes even more apparent when it comes to the in-game store, where players may use their winnings to purchase various brand-name trappings of the rich and famous including fashion items, yachts, properties and cars. Purchased items contribute to the player’s daily bonus of chips, with each increasing it by a particular percentage.
The poker gameplay itself is relatively solid and straightforward, with up to nine players able to participate at a single table, and a real-time chat facility allows for conversation or trash talk as appropriate. Fast-paced turn timers keep play snappy and ensure that no player holds up the game, and a hand is resolved fairly quickly.
There’s just too much wrong with Grand Poker to make it particularly easy to recommend however. Everything — from the ridiculous amounts of virtual money involved to the cluttered, ugly and busy interface — makes it a hard game to enjoy for all but the most dedicated poker enthusiast. There are considerably better poker games available on Facebook for fans to enjoy, too — the only particularly noteworthy thing that Grand Poker brings to the table is the use of brand-name partnerships in the in-game store, and this is of little benefit to players.
The game also seems to have a habit of posting to the player’s Activity Feed and “challenging” friends without permission — despite dismissing the “invite friends” dialog box upon starting the game, it still posted a message to my activity feed informing anyone viewing my profile that I had supposedly challenged someone to a game, and presumably sending a request to the person in question too.
Ultimately, Grand Poker is not really worth bothering with. Although it has been running for around two years and showing steady growth over that time, many of its numerous rivals provide a significantly superior, more user-friendly experience, making this a title which can be safely passed by in favor of more well-established offerings.
Grand Poker currently has 1,100,000 MAU, 580,000 WAU and 170,000 DAU. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
While the core poker gameplay is competent (if unremarkable), Grand Poker has too many issues to make it a title particularly worthy of note.