Playing New Hands with Facebook Game Broadway Poker

Zynga’s Texas Hold’Em Poker has proven to be one of the more durable social games on Facebook. Most newer card games that have sought to dethrone it have also limited themselves the same style of poker play. Well, a new app by the name of Broadway Poker is changing that by offering not one, but four ways to play. The developer, notably, is the Agarwalla brothers, the folks behind early social gaming hit Scrabulous, a title that helped show the potential of social gaming before running into intellectual property issues.

In a nutshell, Hold’Em is a game where two cards are dealt to all players with five community cards placed on the table over four rounds of betting. Using basic poker rankings, the player that can make the best hand using one or two of their cards and three or four of the community cards wins. Simple enough, right? That’s why Hold’Em has always been a popular online card game.

Part of Broadway works the same. Players join a table, cards are dealt, and they call, raise, or fold as it becomes their turn. As usual, all the chips are a simple in-game currency with no monetary value. What is nice though, is that the game does have a bit of a safety net to allow users to keep playing. If you lose all your money, then you can simply go to the cashier for another 2000 credits (every three minutes).

Beyond the means to get money when you’re broke, the element of this app that makes it interesting is that it offers more than just Hold’Em poker. It actually allows three other modes of play: Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi-Lo Split, and Double Dash. As far as the play is concerned, Omaha Hi requires players to use two cards from their hand and three cards from what is called the “flop” (the second round where three community cards are set on the table), and Omaha Hi-Lo Split has players making a “hi” hand and a “lo” (ace-to-five) hand using the five community cards and their two cards.

Of all the games, however, Double Dash is the most interesting. This style of poker plays more or less like Omaha Hi, but you get two “flops” instead of just the one in the second round and players must use two of the cards from the first flop and the remaining two from the second.

If this all sounds a bit confusing, that’s because it really is until you’ve tried it (or you’re an active card player). While the prospect of offering other card games is attractive, most people who aren’t avid card players are going to struggle at first. Thankfully, the developers of Broadway Poker did provide fairly detailed help section to aid beginners, but, again, it really takes some actual play to get the hang of it.

Beyond the card games themselves, Broadway Poker is a bit on the bland side visually. Other than the Las Vegas-style female character (who looks, um, almost exactly like the character used in Zynga’s Texas Hold’Em), there really isn’t that much to look at. The tables and menus are all very clean, but overall feel a bit drab and basic. Granted, it is a card game, but at least some visual spice would be nice.

Overall, Broadway Poker is a decent poker title. It isn’t too much to look at, but it offers some nice new ways to play for poker advocates. That said, though, non-poker players may have some initial trouble understanding the Omaha and Double Dash versions of the game. Of course, seeing as the game is brand new with only a handful of monthly active users (under 1000), we will have to wait and see if it catches on or not.