partypoker released an update to its mobile client this week, the first stage in a major makeover that will last into the early months of 2020. The update currently affects only SPINS games and features a new portrait orientation and social poker additions.

One-handed multi-tabling

We are all used to seeing online poker screens oriented in landscape. Our desktop monitors and laptops are all naturally oriented that way, and mobile poker apps rotate the screen appropriately. It works fine. It’s the norm.

But partypoker decided to implement a new portrait orientation mode not to stand out from the pack, but seemingly to make it easier to play online poker. In landscape, you generally have to hold the phone with two hands. In portrait, you can hold your phone (or tablet, I suppose, if you have enormous hands) with one hand and do all the tapping and bet slider…um…sliding with your thumb.

Jaime Staples, a member of partypoker Team Online, is naturally going to sing the site’s praises, especially when he’s quoted in a press release, but you can see the point he is making here:

This app brings poker on your phone into the modern age. The experience of just being able to play with one finger is something I have never had the chance to experience before. It’s so simple and intuitive!

partypoker has managed to make portrait orientation useable for multi-tabling, as well. Players can open a new table while at their current one by pressing the one of the plus-signs at the top of the screen. The window then goes into tiled mode and the player can choose where the new table goes.

Everybody do the mess around

And then there are the new social features. “Social” poker is nothing new to partypoker. The poker room jumped onboard that train a long time ago, even revamping its website to look more like a social network/blog and less like a poker site. But this takes it further, adding a mobile gaming/social feel to regular online poker.

Players can earn a new “social currency” called Diamonds by playing poker like they always do. Diamonds will also at some point be earned through accomplishing certain tasks, possibly something like making a straight or winning with a high card. Who knows? It sounds very similar to “achievements” in online games.

Right now, Diamonds are not particularly useful, but expect their utility to increase as the software update rolls out to games other than SPINS in the coming months. One thing they can be used for is to “pay” to rabbit hunt.

The other thing is something we have seen more in virtual reality poker. Players can spend diamonds for objects at the table that can be used to – wait for it – throw at each other. Yes, it sounds extraordinarily dumb, but there’s nothing wrong with a little dumb fun while you’re trying to take each other’s money. So if you want to call someone a fish, just buy a fish with Diamonds and chuck it at them.

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