Online games of poker, even the “just for fun” kind like Zynga Poker or Poker Rivals, have always been about slow-building tension and real world competition. Poker Blitz does away with such conventions, offering up a single-player experience that’s as frantic as it is fun. It’s a stark contrast to Zynga’s previous casino-themed releases.
Poker Blitz is an entry-level experience into the world of Texas Hold’Em poker that offers up a welcoming atmosphere for those new to the game. As a single-player experience, each round of poker places you in competition with a computer-controlled opponent. The object of the game is to earn as much money as you can in less than one minute. The quicker you click, the more hands you can get through.
Because time is of the essence your options will be fairly limited. You’ll be able to choose between a big bet, a small bet, or a fold. In addition to the dollar amount the game also has an experience points(XP)/levelling system, so even if you have a bad hand it can still pay off in the long run. Knowing when to fold is just as important as knowing when to bet, so the XP payout for a “smart fold” rewards smart playing.
The game also offers power-ups that can quickly change the fortunes of any hand. These run the gamut, offering financial perks like doubling the pot or letting you go “all-in,” as well as power-ups to improve your play such as swapping cards or peeking at your opponents. It may sound like a lot of craziness to be thrown at you in under a minute – and it is – but thanks to a well-balanced levelling system the experience never feels overwhelming.
As you progress through the levels you’ll unlock new venues to play at. These new venues offer higher stakes, but also greater challenges. In the tutorial venue, for example, you’ll be given a number that lets you know the probability of your hand winning. When it comes up as 93%, you don’t have to think twice before placing a big bet. Likewise, a 4% chance is an obvious reason to fold. At the next venue that probability number only shows up after you’ve wasted 5 seconds of play time, and at the third the number doesn’t show up at all. You should feel adequately prepared for whatever task the new venues throw at you when you get there, and even if you’re not, the older venues are always open for play too.
Poker Blitz may be fun, frantic, and accessible, but the excitement ends just as quickly as it starts. Players are only given three “tokens” to start with, and you’ll need to spend one of those to sit down to play a one-minute round. The tokens regenerate on their own, but only at the rate of one an hour. This means you’ll be able to sit down to three minutes of play every three hours.
You can raise the cap on how many tokens you can have by inviting more and more friends to the game, but that number isn’t going to grow by much. At most you’ll be spending 5-10 minutes in game – a far cry from the endless play of other under-a-minute games like Bejeweled Blitz or Mahjongg Dimensions. And much to our surprise you can’t even purchase more tokens in a virtual store.
Still, if the only complaint we have about Poker Blitz is that we can’t keep playing it, that has to be a pretty good sign. With its accessible gameplay and edge-of-your-seat speed, Poker Blitz gets its gambly claws into you from the first hand and won’t let go. Prepare to cash in your chips – betting on Poker Blitz is a guaranteed win.