I’ve spent several hours using the new poker app, and so far it’s been superb. It reminds me of the PokerStars mobile app, which, as anyone who has used it before will know, is high praise. The interface is clean and no-nonsense, both in the lobby and on the felt. It’s worth noting, however, that the lobby interface is very similar to the desktop client’s and is not as optimised for mobiles as some other apps. This isn’t a problem for me, as I’ve grown very accustomed to the “list and tabs” lobby format and wouldn’t change it for anything else. The in-game interface, on the other hand, feels extremely well-optimised for mobile. Everything is easily legible (including stack sizes, which is something I’ve had problems with on other apps) and the buttons are easy to press. There aren’t any distracting avatars, tacky backgrounds or zany animations. In other words, it’s the polar opposite of Zynga. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide. I, for one, couldn’t be more grateful.
It’s hard to tell if BetOnline Poker for mobile will attract players from other poker rooms. I can’t see it converting anyone from outside the US, as it will be competing against PokerStars and other big names. There’s nothing stopping it from catching on in the US though. It has everything you’d want in a poker app and not much in the way of competition. Now that the app has launched, all that’s left for BetOnline to do is to get the word out. Beyond that, its out of their hands: the murky legal status of online poker in the US means they can only be so successful. With any luck, though, Congress will have forgotten all about Black Friday in a few years time and we can all go back to enjoying online poker no matter what state we live in.