The World Poker Tour (WPT) announced Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with Zynga “to bring the WPT experience into Zynga Poker,” which means the launch of WPT-themed tournaments to Zynga Poker later in 2018.
“We’re incredibly proud to bring the World Poker Tour to Zynga Poker,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, in a press release. “Zynga has built the largest social poker game, and we are confident their millions of players will enjoy their experience even more with the introduction of WPT-themed tournaments in Zynga Poker.”
Zynga does not offer real-money online poker, but when it comes to play money poker, it is easily the largest operator in the world. According to PokerScout, Zynga Poker has a seven-day average of 38,500 cash game players, dwarfing every real-money site out there. For comparison, PokerStars has an average of 11,000 players. In the past, Zynga’s number has been in the six-figure range.
As Pliska said, Zynga Poker is a “social” poker game in that Zynga encourages players to share their results and progress with their friends on social media. Games are available with an Android or iOS app as well as on Facebook.
Zynga Poker is not for the serious poker player. Don’t get me wrong, the games are legit as far as play money games go, but the whole thing, really, is just a mess. While it is play money, players can purchase chips with real money if they would like. The app bombards the user with opportunities to buy chips; I just logged into the Facebook app and had to close three or four windows with chip deals before being able to see the lobby. Really, nearly everything you click on opens a window for some sort of special chip purchase.
Like most mobile games, Zynga Poker is designed to incentive players to “level up.” Players gain experience points for playing poker – I earned XP buy winning hands and even folding hands. Leveling up gives access to various cosmetic goodies that players can purchase and place at their virtual seat. These objects serve zero purpose aside from decoration. Completing various challenges can also earn a player XP (I won three hands and completed a challenge).
As much as my head spins when navigating the lobby and looking at the tables, there are countless numbers of players who love Zynga Poker (well, I guess considering I gave a number early, “countless” would be the incorrect word here). And while most readers wouldn’t really get the point of playing poker for fake money, I suppose I can understand the appeal. I play a different mobile game on my phone and there really isn’t much reward in it aside from the satisfaction of doing well and the enjoyment I might get from acquiring the “next thing” as a reward for progressing and leveling up. Most of these mobile and social games are just ways for us to grind until the next level, to satisfy our need to collect things. Zynga Poker isn’t much different and you get to play poker at the same time.