Online betting giant bwin has announced the launch of the first real money online poker app for the iPhone, joining Full Tilt Poker and Switch Poker as the only rooms in the mobile arena. The free Texas Hold’em app is available now in the App Stores in the U.K. and Austria, where bwin is based, with other markets in Europe expected to gain access later this year.
“Our customers can, for the first time ever, show what they’ve got in the world’s biggest poker network via the popular iPhone platform,” said Berthold Kao, Head of Mobile at bwin. “With the iPhone poker app, we continue to extend our lead in the mobile entertainment sector. Together with the bwin live app and casino for iPhone, we now offer our customers a complete portfolio.”
The new application is listed as “bwin.com Poker” in the Apple store. The app will help novice players learn as they play, as it displays the best hand automatically; this feature will also allow players to make decisions quicker. Instant hand histories are readily available and there is one-click reseating in case your game is interrupted by an incoming call.
bwin’s poker app is the first available on the iPhone and follows its sports betting application that found a home on the Apple device last year. The iPhone sports betting app allows bwin players to place bets, get the status of placed bets, and retrieve a detailed betting history from their mobile phone. Kao said the success of the company’s technology in helping launch the sports book was a contributing factor in allowing the poker app to take off.
bwin also released a trial version of a play-for-fun “Poker Clock” system in 2009 that received enough praise to convince the company that there was sufficient demand to bring real money games into their stable of mobile apps. The “Poker Clock” app was the first ever tournament clock for the iPhone and was designed to organize home games for casual and serious players alike.
Kao admitted there were a number of factors to consider before moving forward with the poker app, particularly considerations surrounding different network sizes on the iPhone and Android markets. But, due to the strength of bwin’s mobile technology and the simplicity of setting up on Apple’s device, Kao felt the journey from development to launch was relatively easy.
bwin is scheduled to merge with Party Gaming to form the world’s largest listed gambling business later this year. The new company will operate worldwide with its existing brands under the name of bwin.party Digital Entertainment plc in which current bwin shareholders will hold a 51.6% stake and current Party Gaming shareholders will hold 48.4%.
With the constant advances in smartphone technology, more online casino companies are expected to follow bwin into the mobile app arena this year. Microgaming announced on Thursday that it would be launching a mobile poker app for the rival Android system in March. Microgaming’s latest mobile poker product will be compatible with Android Version 2.2 devices such as the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy tablet.
The real money app will be available to all operators on the Microgaming Network, which currently ranks 12th in the world in cash game traffic according to PokerScout.com. Some of the sites that reside on the network include Ladbrokes, Unibet, and PokerTime.
“For years now, industry experts have speculated on the mobile market’s possibilities for gaming and every year has proven disappointing in terms of customer uptake and variety of software, particularly for poker; that is about to change,” said Lydia Melton, Head of Poker at Microgaming. “The technology is ready, the software is ready, and we believe the players are ready as well.”