Zynga Launches the First Live Social Game for the iPhone: Live Poker

Zynga, one of the biggest developers of social games today, is announcing today the launch of “Live Poker” for the iPhone, thus making it the first truly live game on the iPhone platform. The game is a mobile version of the highly popular Texas Hold’Em application and has effectively turned the iPhone into an always-on social gaming device.

With Live Poker, players can compete with any of the 1.4 million daily web players at any time from anywhere with an internet connection. Finding and joining buddies or selecting tables is even easier than the Facebook version, and it’s not just limited to Facebook. Users can now connect and play with friends from Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, or Zynga’s own account system.

Table selection has also been simplified, and there are always games going on. You can easily see when your friends are playing, or join in with users of any level.

Live Poker is also the one of the first applications to make use of Facebook Connect, thus deepening the level of social integration for the iPhone platform. With Facebook Connect, Live Poker can allow social information (such as photos) to be displayed in-game.

It’s also worth mentioning that Zynga has created a 2nd app that is advertised in the free version as “buy 40,000 chips,” and costs $9.99. This upgraded version of the free rendition (and other paid versions at different prices) circumvents the lack of any virtual goods infrastructure on the iPhone, and allows users to buy more poker chips whenever they want. It also gives users access to various poker tournaments.

“We have seen the creation of the next important social gaming platform, thanks to ‘Live Poker,’” said Zynga CEO Mark Pincus in a statement. “Delivering the first social game on the iPhone is a logical extension for us. Social gaming continues to grow, and this is another giant step towards taking it to the mass market.”

Like its web predecessor, Live Poker has great design, its fun, plays well, and works impressively fast considering it is a live multiplayer game on a new mobile platforum. The game is available on any iPhone with 3G or Wi-Fi access, as well as the iPod Touch. It can be downloaded at the iTunes store here.