Here in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” I can’t play online poker because, well, reasons. I mean, I could if I REALLY wanted to, but whatever, I have Overwatch and Slay the Spire and what-not to keep me entertained. It must be pretty great, though, to be able to whip out a cell phone and play a quick game while you’re waiting for your kid to finish gymnastics practice. I’m a bit jealous. And whenever I read about mobile software updates like the one partypoker rolled out Tuesday, I must say, I really want to give mobile poker a spin.

Play fastforward with your thumb

The major update to partypoker’s mobile poker offering is the implementation of portrait mode for fastforward cash games on both the iOS and Android platforms. It may sound like a minor thing – even kind of odd, since we are used to playing online poker on a landscape-oriented monitor – but it can really help make it easier to play.

When playing in traditional landscape mode, you need to use two hands. With portrait mode, as anyone who has used a smartphone can envision, it is possible to play with one hand. Everything on the screen is reachable with just a thumb.

First world problems, to be sure, but think about how much easier it is to read with a Kindle than it is with an actual book. One-handed versus two-handed.

This now puts fastforward games in line with SPINS games, which saw their tables start using portrait orientation in November 2019. This also means that fastforward and SPINS games can be multi-tabled together. Because fastforward games (and others) were previously only playable in landscape mode, making them incompatible with a multi-tabling layout with SPINS games.

Jamie Staples, a member of partypoker’s Team Online, shouted the update’s praise on the partypoker blog, saying:

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! It’s by far the best poker app I have played on my phone. So simple to use and fun!

Diamonds galore

And, as was the case with the November update of the SPINS tables, partypoker’s social currency, Diamonds, is now at the fastforward tables. Players earn Diamonds for every hand played; those Diamonds can then be used to purchase silly in-game items like animations to throw at the other players. On the blog, a screenshot shows emojis being tossed around.

Yes, it’s goofy and ultimately meaningless, but for people who just want to have fun playing poker, being able to mess around at the table can make the experience more enjoyable. Serious players might want to stay away, but it doesn’t hurt anybody, so why not?

“Mobile poker tech has been archaic, and this makes you really say WOW when you play it,” said Team Online member Jeff Gross. “Refreshing and fun, the biggest shake-up in poker I have seen in a long time!”

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