When it comes to app games, I’m all about Words With Friends and DoodleJump. I consider those gems my “one-two-punch” to boredom’s annoying face. Well, more bad news for boredom! Poker Pals just boarded my Addiction Train, so now I’m enjoying a triple-punch combo!
I downloaded the free version of Poker Pals this morning, which contains unobtrusive ads. When you begin, a tutorial holds your hand throughout your first three turns, making it very simple to learn the basics of gameplay. Naturally, you have to understand the hierarchy of poker hands, but other than that, the app does an excellent job of explaining its crossword puzzle-like hook. At the start, three random cards appear on the grid-like playing surface (similar to Words With Friends). Each turn, you play cards in a single direction – either horizontally or vertically – and score points based on the strength of your hand. Things get cool when you try to make multiple poker hands in other directions, crossword-style. (In a neat touch, jokers at the corners of the board automatically turn into whatever card will score you the most points.)
To find opponents, you can use Facebook Connect, invite your Game Center contacts, choose random players, or reach out to your personal, poker-loving contacts. I lost my first game to automated “Easy Eddie,” 460-380, but I’m hoping it won’t be long before I’m winning with ease. After that, I’m sending invitations to my friends Ralph, Cheryl and Mike. They beat me at real poker all the time. Revenge will be SWEET!