Developer: VIADEN ENTERPRISES (CYPRUS) LTD
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store
Winner, winner chicken dinner. Yes, that's a Black Jack term and a bad one at that, but what I’m reviewing here is the good old Texas Hold'em Poker app from Viaden Mobile. Be it the three months I lived in Las Vegas in first grade or the multiple "Vegas, baby, Vegas" trips I've taken over the years on multi-day road trips with my brother, I'm intrigued with all-things poker.
Luckily for me I've had a few good poker teachers in my life that have directly or inadvertently showed me that the ace in the hole is not always a winner and yes, you have to know when to hold them, when to walk away and when to run.
I've played my fair share of online and real life poker games, including Craps, Black Jack, Texas Hold'em and the various games aimed to give you high hopes and low returns such as the one-armed bandit also known as slots. In all my time playing, I found that the best thing about gambling, besides the casino’s lavish pools, is when there is minimum to no financial cost during the initial learning process.
Meaning, when I first started laying the money on the line, I took a lot of time to learn from people around me. It was a learning process that was very much needed. So if I bet, I could win or lose virtually and that made for a fatter wallet at the end of the day since I was less than a pro to say the least when I started.
When you launch Texas Hold'em Poker, you can use your GameCenter account or play anonymously. I like playing with my GameCenter account to keep track of leaderboards and easily connect with other users. It's social and it's fun.
After you setup your username, click the play now button and jump right in to gameplay. Another great perk that the multiplayer option offers is that it lets you play at a table with four or eight other actual, live users over Wi-Fi.
For those of you not familiar with how to play Texas Hold'em, the point of the game is to achieve the best five cards. You start with two cards in your hand, which are not visible to other players. You then bet based on how strong you feel that hand is and generally sepaking, you want a high card above a 10, a pair or at least two cards with the same suit to stay in for that bet.
After that initial bet, you're then shown three cards, which is called the flop in Texas Hold'em. Those three cards are considered community cards meaning the other players at the table get to use them in their hand as well. So if there is an ace on the table, everyone has an ace. You then bet on that hand, which you're betting on the top five cards (you're two and the three in the middle).
Then, the turn happens where one card is laid over and everyone bets on the top five out of six cards. And for the finale, the river card, which most of the time makes or breaks a lot of players’ hands is flipped and now you bet on the best five out of seven cards. Then another round of bets happen and whoever is still in shows their hand and the strongest hand wins.
As I'm writing this, I have three of a kind with queens. Everybody sees one queen, but they don't see the two in my hand. Also, there are two sixes out in the community pile so now I have a full house. I raise, they follow suit. They didn't even see it coming. I just raked in $700. Could have paid rent. Too bad it's virtual money.
Another great feature of the Texas Hold'em Poker app is the message board in the lower left corner, which allows you to send notes to everybody playing or individual players. It's a great tool to say great job or ask advice.
In conclusion, the ease of setup, good network of poker players and ability to build your own music playlist combined with unlockable bonus features makes the free Texas Hold'em app useful for the expert and novice poker player. As a novice, you can learn without the penalty of loosing. As an expert, you can school some of the newbies between hands.