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Four months and apparently a fair share of difficulties later, the mobile app was ported to Android.
At launch, the WSOP / 888 Android app was by far the more robust of the two major poker apps in the NJ market. But since, Party / Borgata‘s offering has received several notable enhancements, whereas the WSOP / 888 app has remained virtually unchanged.
It looks like the network’s passive approach to mobile is finally beginning to catch up with them.
|WSOP / 888 Android||C+||C+||B+||C||C+|
|Party / Borgata Android||B||B-||B||B||B|
Players will notice right away that the Android app features all three major playing formats:
Free and play-money contests are offered, although I have yet to be seated at a free-money cash game where I wasn’t the only player at the table.
The only real-money games available from the application are of the No Limit Hold’em variety. While I wasn’t entirely expecting lesser played games such as 7-Stud to be a part of the mobile app, more diversification in the form of Omaha and Fixed Limit games would have been nice.
Furthermore, stakes are restricted to between $.05 / $.10 and $2 / $4, whereas on the desktop client they run the gamut from $.01 / $.02 to $10 / $20. Not a huge deal, but certainly enough to turn off recreational players who’d rather only risk a dollar or two.
Finding a cash game that suits a player’s fancy is a relatively easy experience, thanks to the app’s multiple search sliders. Problem is, during off-peak hours it’s not uncommon to be seated at a table with no other players.
This is because the app does not permit table selection. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the desktop client didn’t allow for it either. As is, it creates a disconnect between the two products.
The Sit & Go filters are a bit more effective, if only because after choosing a preferred stake, table size and speed, players are brought to a tournament lobby. From there, they can see how many players are already registered, their names and pertinent information regarding the blinds and prize distributions.
But perhaps the most well-conceived lobby is the tournament lobby.
Tournaments are listed in the order in which they start, and players can filter MTTs by both speed (regular, turbo, and super turbo) and buy-in ($0 – $1, $1 – $5 and $5+).
By clicking on a tournament, players can view plenty of information regarding the tournament, including the prize structure, the number of registered players and their handles, starting stack sizes and blind increases.
A few minor gripes:
That said, the tournament lobby is still the most informative and intuitive of the lot.
Playing on WSOP / 888’s Android app is a decidedly mixed experience.
Betting is handled via one of three mechanics:
On smartphones, I found the bet slider to be lacking precision, preferring instead to use the +/- buttons. The slider worked slightly better on tablets, but is still difficult to recommend for any scenario outside of all-ins.
Also off putting are the slow loading times. There tends to be a significant time lapse between registering for a game and being seated.
Additionally, there are instances when the server would “hang up” as I was being dealt my cards. Again, these are minor gripes, but I’d be curious to know how they impact players utilizing older Android devices.
As often the case on mobile gambling products, game customization options are rather limited. They include:
There is no ability to multi-table, although oddly, the software does permit you to enter into multiple, simultaneous events.
On a brighter note, the integrated hand replayer is top notch, allowing players to visually review their previous hands starting on any street.
Another nice feature of the replayer is the indicator in the top right corner which displays your current hand.
Unfortunately, while the mobile app provides direct links to most ancillary functions, the actual management of these options is handled in an outside browser – banking and registration functionality being the notable exceptions.
Perhaps the strongest facet of WSOP / 888’s mobile software is its cashier. Unlike other quality of life functions, the cashier has been fully optimized for mobile.
The cashiering interface is visual and intuitive, with access to all major functions a tap or two away.
Generally speaking, I found it easier to perform basic cashiering functions on mobile then I did on the desktop client, although for those who prefer the latter, the mobile cashier provides a link to the desktop version.
All of the same depositing methods present on the desktop client are available on the app. They are:
Withdrawal options too, are the same on mobile as they are on a PC, although it should be noted that WSOP / 888 restricts players to withdrawing via Neteller, ACH, bank draft (check) and cash at the cage.
In addition, players can verify their ID and reverse withdrawals from the dedicated app browser, although if you elect to review your cashiering history, you’ll be redirected to the full cashier.
But that’s a minor complaint, if one at all.
My experience playing on mobile was hampered by the occasional geo-location failure, but they only occurred when I was connected via 4G LTE.
Therefore, I recommend logging in via WiFi (ensure that location services are turned on) whenever possible, as the connection is not only more reliable, but more fluid.
Compounding matters, the app is riddled with minor software glitches. Individually, they’re only mildly frustrating, but taken together, they’re borderline game changing.
For instance, there were times when I exited and reentered the app only to find that half the screen was blacked out. Additionally, the cash game players slider features two instances of “6” players, yet the second directs players to a stake ($.15 / $.30) that does not exist. Odd.
Again, these are not major errors, but there’s enough of them that the overall game playing experience feels greatly diminished.
Based on my experience communicating with New Jersey online poker players, it appears that most do not take advantage of the mobile apps.
This compels me to speculate that WSOP / 888 have purposely diverted their attention elsewhere, which from a revenue generating perspective, makes sense.
But it also leads me to wonder if players would gravitate toward the mobile app if pertinent features such as multi-tabling and table selection were introduced, or at the very least, if the software and geo glitches were rectified.
As is, the WSOP / 888 Android app is beginning to show its age. It’s still serviceable, but if Party / Borgata continue to enhance their mobile offering, I’d expect the WSOP / 888 iteration to be lost in the shuffle.