Zynga is the largest social poker site in the world for ring game players. It averages 38,500 players at ring game tables any given time, according to stats compiled by PokerScout. This is more than the combined PokerStars.com real money and social player pool.
Online poker is not regulated in 47 states. This makes Zynga Poker a popular choice for players that do not have regulated real money poker available.
Zynga rolled out a massive software update last month that was years in the making. It was scheduled to launch in March. The company waited until September to release it after evaluating feedback from its beta testers.
The new update looks more like a real money poker site than its social gaming competitors. Gone are cartoons and clunky functionalities. The table now feel like a real poker experience, as do the sounds. The speed of the game is much faster.
The lobby resembles real money poker apps. Players can move the slider to choose the specific limits for cash games and sit and gos. There are five-handed and full ring games. The functions at the table, including the bet slider, are also like that of a real money poker site. Advanced action buttons help with the flow of the game. This keeps users interested in the action.
Players can even choose a turbo table where the timer expires after five seconds, though it pauses while a player moves the bet slider. A stats feature tracks the number of hands a player has been dealt over the life of his account. It also shows the win percentage, level, and best hand ever made.
What Zynga is Missing Compared to Regulated Sites
Zynga is still missing major features that players at most regulated sites demand. There are no notes available at Zynga. Players can no longer choose the table they want to sit at as Zynga automatically seats users after the limit and game is selected.
A new Zynga algorithm helps match players with opponents on a comparable skill level. This is a great idea for a social atmosphere, but would be a complete failure if attempted at a real money site.
The only game available at Zynga Poker is No Limit Texas Hold’em. Players that want to play fixed limit games or games other than Texas Hold’em are out of luck.
Zynga Poker does not spread traditional multi table tournaments. The only ones available are called Freezeouts. These are more like step sit and gos. There are also traditional sit and gos and cash games.
Regulation forces licensed sites to go through a procedure to verify players. This includes verifying a player’s birth date and Social Security Number at the time the account is created. Zynga Poker does not have any minimum age or verification process for players.
Technology must locate real money players in regulated states. Zynga Poker falls under social gaming. It has no location requirements.
Getting Closer to Real Money Style Platform
While Zynga has publicly stated that it has no interest in entering the real money poker industry at this time, the app is becoming comparable to regulated sites, and maybe even better than some that already exist. The Zynga Poker platform is just a few steps away from offering real money customers exactly what they want in a poker app should the company ever change its position.
(Updated Oct 22: Zynga is the social ring game leader. PokerScout does not count tournament players.)