Zynga’s Poker Blitz – The Best Poker Game You’ll Play Today

Poker BlitzGambling card games are easily one of the oldest forms of social games on Facebook, or on the internet in general. They’re easy to make, not very complex, and many people who would be interested in the first place already know the rules. It’s no wonder that Zynga’s TexasHold’Em Poker (now Zynga Poker) was one of the top social games for so long.

However, Zynga Poker is a bit dated and not everyone likes to play synchronously against others (especially when they are learning how to play), and so, the social developer has released Poker Blitz, a Facebook game that adds a little bit of that Las Vegas flare to an old genre.

We took a quick look when we spotted it live last night. Now, here’s our full review.

There are two key difference between Poker Blitz and the older title: The game doesn’t have all human players sitting around a table; and, it isn’t quite the same game format as the many Hold’Em games circulating various social networks. Essentially, players get two cards and the House gets two cards. If you make a bet, you get five more, and if you like the hand you have, make a second (or fold if your cards are bad). After the second bet, the game announces who won, the player or the House, and its on to the next hand.

Each round consists of 60 seconds to earn as many chips as possible; hence the name “Blitz.” However, it is all done so in this highly satirized collection of levels that represent Las Vegas, Jersey Beach, and even, well, Antarctica. Each level, however, is gated based on the user’s level, so the more you play, the more stages become available.

Tutorial PokerOf course, unlocking new places to play is for more than just aesthetics, as each stage has its own set of rules. For example, in the earlier areas, players have a tutorial help element that displays the percent chance to win and what sort of hand they hold, while later ones do not. In addition to less hand holding, the later, unlocked stages, also tend to have higher stakes per hand, and a few even remove cards from the deck.

As one can imagine, it gets very difficult to play at these later points, and thus harder to earn chips. Currently, however, the individual earning of chips doesn’t seem to mean much. You get to customize an avatar (and eventually a house, that is “coming soon”), but none of it costs anything yet. Nonetheless, your earnings do count towards your Team’s total value.

In addition to leaderboards made up of Facebook friends that play, there’s a weekly challenge. By adding people to your team, the game tallies how many chips everyone has cummulatively. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% clear what the challenge is — the game has been out less than a week — but the current challenge appears to be reaching a tally of 1 million chips, between all your teammates. Certainly, this is a daunting challenge, as you can only bet up to 500 chips at a time at the ealier levels (higher level stages allow for bigger bets, though we haven’t unlocked them yet).

Of course, there wouldn’t be much incentive if it was just a random number. Teams that reach the 1 million mark will become eligible to win an iPod Touch, but they only have five more days to do so after winning. Of course, this number becomes increasingly difficult to attain as players can only play so many rounds until they are out of “tokens” – which basically acts like energy in Mafia Wars – and have to wait an hour or so for them to recharge.