24-Feb-2011

The World of Online Texas Holdem

I wanted to see what the online Texas Holdem gaming world was all about. I have been approached on Facebook with the Zynga Texas Holdem offering through my Facebook friends as well as Zynga advertising on Facebook but declined those invitations due to:

  1. I did not want to get addicted to playing Texas Holdem online. I know the issue. I have addictively indulged in other gaming experiences in the past.
  2. I do not like the tactics used by Zynga on social media networking platforms to peddle their offerings nor their business model. The general Zynga model is to cause its users to spam[1] their Facebook friends' walls with invitations to join the Zynga game. Getting friends to join earns you points which you can then use to play more Zynga; the other option is to buy points using real money.

A search of "online texas holdem" on Google revealed more than I need to discover the available sites offering Texas Holdem. Furthermore, I have seen Texas Holdem advertising on television and the world's largest online poker room from PokerStars was on the top of my list to try out. PokerStars.net offers a free to play version on play money tables while PokerStars.com offers real money tables to play online.

There is another reason for my interest to try online Texas Holdem. I was exploring what I could do with my Texas Holdem Windows program. I thought about improving the user interface to make it competitive with the online Texas Holdem experience (see this PokerStars table for an example). I could offer my "learning and practice" program for a small charge of a couple of dollars per copy. However, after my experience with the PokerStars Texas Holdem gaming room, I have concluded that it is not a feasible venture for various reasons:

  • Learning and practice can be achieved using various free online Texas Holdem sites, although it is with real players in real-time. If you want a private "learn and practice at your own pace" option prior to visiting the online sites, then try my free Texas Holdem Windows program.
  • The investment of time, effort and money to enhance the "learning and practice" program is possible, however, there is no business case for doing so.
  • To build a competing online gaming site beyond a "learning and practice" niche is not feasible as that would take tremendous resources to play catch-up to PokerStars which has been in operation for 10 years with a large investment of development and marketing resources in its history.

See my experience with the:

PokerStars Texas Holdem poker room

Zynga Texas Holdem Poker Room

[1] If you receive direct offers from Zynga, that would be considered spamming. If you receive "invitations to join" from your Facebook friends, that is accepted and possibly not perceived as spamming. I understand the principle of sharing (which can go viral) in social networking but it is the degree to which Zynga employs such tactics that makes it hopelessly unacceptable to me.

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