Zynga's Texas Holdem vs. PlayFish Poker Rivals

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Poker RivalsThe battle of the 2 largest social online gaming companies continues in poker. PlayFish had recently dropped a white napkin to Zynga with the new game called Poker Rivals. Zynga's Texas Holdem is undoubtedly the biggest online poker room in the World with millions of daily users. Their competitors (Playdom’s Poker Palace, Poker World, Pokerbuddies, PlanetPoker etc.) are tens of times smaller, but are still much bigger than the real money poker rooms. Real money poker has more than 100 brands in the market while play money social gaming poker rooms can be counted on the fingers of two arms. Social gaming companies know that and try to grab a piece of the market by selling their play chips (main source of income).

Zynga and PlayFish are the biggest players in the social online gaming market (let’s not forget Playdom with their no. 2 poker application PokerPalace) always competing and creating similar games. Here's an example:

  • Food management games – Zynga’s Café World vs. Playfish Restaurant City
  • Farm management games – Zynga’s FarmVille vs. Playfish Country Story

The most popular PlayFish game is Pet Society. Zynga still does not have anything like it. Zynga’s most popular game was Texas Holdem, but it had now dropped in popularity after the rise of FarmVille. Just a month ago Playfish still didn't have any similar poker game to compete with, but now they've launched Poker Rivals, and the situation has changed.

The 3 biggest competitors (Zynga, Playfish and Playdom) now all have social online poker applications. So let’s take a look at the Facebook numbers:

Zynga’s Texas Holdem – 19 million daily users

Playdom’s PokerPalace – 1.4 million daily users

Playfish Poker Rivals – 0.14 million daily users

Now why should Zynga worry about the Poker Rivals? The social online poker game features are the same in all the games:

  • Gift poker chips or other gifts
  • Earning poker chips by reaching some achievements for actions, wins, losses and collecting money.
  • Earning achievement points to spend them on some gifts or additional chips
  • Buying chips for real money
  • Inviting one's friends
  • Playing poker at the selected tables

All 3 rooms have the listed features, but Poker Rivals has something more.

The biggest Poker Rivals' advantage is the flash application with the fancy design. It is really pleasant to look at in comparison to the rough Texas Holdem and Poker Palace interface.

Poker Palace and Texas Holdem use the social network’s profile data while PokerRivals allow profile customization for chips, so the player does not need to show their real face, but can customize their character themselves. Of course, that costs some chips, but it's worth it.

The action at the tables is also very important. Texas Holdem has busy chats, whereas Poker Rivals allow players to change their seating pose and make some exclamations like “OMG!” and “Nice Hand”.

One absolutely unique feature in the entire market of online poker applications is the imitation of observing the hands by picking only a part of them and then leaving them closed. This helps the player to focus, because they must memorize the cards or click the button to open them again. This is a very interesting simulation of a real game with cartoon characters.

PokerRivals do not have poker Tournaments yet, but this is just the beginning, so the tournament lobby holds the “coming soon” badge. Hopefully “Soon” does not mean “1 year or more”.

In general this poker room could become very popular if its marketing team will do their best. So far the application cannot be found using the Facebook Search and is accessible only by the unofficial Group link. This issue has a huge impact on the popularity of this brand new game.

So far it is too little to compete with Zynga’s Texas Holdem earnings, but let’s see what happens in a year or so. The present day trends show that people are tired of gambling and would rather feed some fish in the aquarium instead of a chilling poker game.