When it comes to social card action, there is no doubt that poker is king. Developed in the southern regions of America, somewhere around the early 19th century, this game that usually gets played with the standard 52-card deck began to gain mainstream acceptance at the start of the 20th century. At that period, it morphed from mainly a recreational activity to one enjoyed in gambling halls or at events involving spectators. Yet, poker did not explode in popularity until 2003. It went global as a hobby and money-making pursuit following amateur player Christopher Bryan Moneymaker winning the Main Event at the 2003 World Series of Poker.
In the past decade, those in the gambling industry have continuously debated if poker is declining, slowly headed for obscurity. Such concerns may have been valid only two years ago. Today that is not the case anymore. Due to government-issued restrictions imposed on account of the global pandemic, in March and April of 2020, gambling operators saw a 50% rise in the number of consumers making deposits to play online poker. Per research firm Global Poker, the US marked a 255% increase in first-time internet card players. Thus, it seems like online poker is off life support, currently thriving, giving us ample reason to rattle off the best fun-play and real money poker apps of 2021.
World Series of Poker (WSOP)
Founded in 1970 by American betting icon Benny Binion, The World Series of Poker is a string of annual poker tournaments held in Sin City since 2004, under the sponsorship of Caesars Entertainment. The WSOP is likely the most recognizable brand in the world of card gambling, consisting of over one hundred yearly events. The app that uses the WSOP name and logo got released in 2013 by Playtika. So far, it has amassed over 50 million downloads on Google Play and is also available for iOS users, ranking just outside the top ten in the card category on the Apple Store. It lets users collect bracelets, rise through a ranking system and participate in tournaments. WSOP is a fun-play app. But, Caesars Interactive Entertainment also has money versions for residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania up on Google Play.
Zynga is a leading social gaming company with headquarters in San Francisco, whose stocks trade on the NASDAQ market. They came into prominence in the late-2000s with the release of their Facebook game FarmVille, which, at one point, had over ten million active daily users. In December of 2010, Zynga released its Texas Hold ‘Em app, one of the most established free poker games ever. It offers 60,000 free chips upon download and a chance to win a daily bonus of up to $45 million in in-game currency. There is no real money action in Zynga Poker. It is entirely an entertainment-based software that allows players to compete in leagues with millions of users from around the globe. It is a perfect training ground for those considering swimming in competitive real-money waters.
BetOnline is a Panama-based gambling site that has been active in the offshore betting industry for over two decades. They rose to fame as mainly an internet sportsbook that offered higher betting limits and more generous bonuses than their competition. However, over time, they also opened up a casino and poker section. The latter runs on proprietary software that the platform developed with the help of Connective Games. Their sister site, SportsBetting Poker, utilizes the same solution. Note that the BetOnline poker app is only available for Android users. iPhone owners can only access this platform via Safari and join in on the gambling action. BetOnline’s mobile software provides Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Hold ‘Em cash games, plus sit-and-go tournaments. Interested parties can install this app from the Commission.bz website, the operator of BetOnline.
888 Holdings is one of the behemoths of the online gambling sector, a public company whose stocks trade on the London Stock Exchange. The 888 brand is the brainchild of Israeli sets of brothers Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, and Avi and Aaron Shaked. They got their online poker operations underway in 2002 under the name Pacific Poker. After some regulatory changes, 888 Holdings left the US market in 2006, returning seven years later. Based in Gibraltar, 888 is also the sole owner of the All American Poker Network. Their poker app is a fantastic one offering some unique software features, a decent interface, cash games, and excellent promotions. 888 Poker provides Omaha Hi-Lo, Texas Hold ‘Em, SNAP, and BLAST tables. BLAST is a new 4-handed poker variant where players can win their share of up to $300,000 per game.