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In February of 2014, the New Jersey partnership of Party Poker and the Borgata became the first online poker provider in the US regulated market to release native applications for Android smartphone and tablet devices.
Given the technological shortcomings and narrow scope of the launch products, some might argue that they should have held off.
Since, the nearly identical nj.partypoker.com and BorgataPoker.com Android apps have been reworked and expanded, to great effect.
They’re still not without its flaws, but at least now the apps serve as a worthy compliment to their respective desktop clients – something that couldn’t be said last year.
|WSOP / 888 Android||C+||C+||B+||C||C+|
|Party / Borgata Android||B||B-||B||B||B|
Thanks to two critical updates, the Party / Borgata Android app now features all three major game formats:
Players are welcome to participate in either real-money or play-money contests, and can easily switch between the two from the application’s intro page.
The vast majority of games available on the desktop client have found a home on the application, with the notable exceptions being Omaha and Stud game variants. It is unknown if or when these will be integrated.
Each lobby features a variety of filters, which for the most part, make finding a suitable game a relatively pain-free task. For instance, cash game filters are divided into table size (Heads-up, 3-6 players, and full ring), stake (low, med and, high), and type (no limit, pot limit and fixed limit).
Additionally, players can sort within a filter by buy-in (ascending or descending), table name and number of registrants/players. They also possess the ability to view a rather impressive array of game information, similar to the amount present on the full version of the software.
These minor gripes hardly detract from what is overall a fluid game selection experience.
The actual playing experience on Party / Borgata’s Android applications can best be described as serviceable.
Betting is handled via one of two methods:
While it’s nice to have more than one means by which to place a bet, the static bet buttons are too limited to really be of much use to the serious player. This issue could have been easily addressed by allowing players to customize buttons to their preferred sizing.
That being said, the bet slider works surprisingly well on both tablets and larger phones.
Another slight annoyance is that players are not given the option to automatically post their blinds from the game interface, instead having to navigate through their settings.
Speaking of settings, players should be aware that there are only a handful of ways in which they can customize their playing experience.
Available options include:
And that’s about it. Other game-oriented features include the ability to rebuy, view a very limited hand history, and automatically use tournament dollars instead of cash, when applicable.
The ability to multi-table from the Android application is decidedly absent.
The vast majority of banking options available from the desktop client have made their way to the Android app.
Deposit methods include:
In fact, the only deposit method not available from the mobile application is Skrill.
As for withdrawal methods, players who rely on either Skrill or receiving checks by mail will be displeased to know that these payout methods are absent from the application. Every other method, however, is fair game.
A word of advice before launching the mobile app: ensure that your location services are turned on. Otherwise, you’ll be hit with the dreaded “We can’t verify your location” error.
Otherwise, I experienced few geo-location errors when logging in via WiFi or 4G LTE. Admittedly, my connection was a bit more fluid when utilizing WiFi, but 4G will do in a pinch.
With regards to installation, the process is straightforward and seamless, with one exception.
Navigating to BorgataPoker.com form a mobile device leads to a message stating “Your phone model is not supported yet,” yet when you access the site via theBorgata.com, there is a direct download link to the Android application.
Also, note that Google Play does not allow services that facilitate online gambling, and therefore the application is only available for download via either the Party Poker or Borgata web portals.
It’s been a long road, but after 13 months, Party / Borgata’s Android application is finally up to snuff.
While the interface and customization options still have a bit to be desired, especially when stacked up against international providers such as PokerStars, the app is more robust than that offered by its direct competitor, WSOP / 888.
Now if only the network would release regular and impactful updates for its desktop client.