Market Opening in Browser Based Poker Games

Online poker is a very popular game. It’s also a huge industry, due to the fact that poker is played for real money and poker rooms can take a provision from the players, much in the same way as a derivatives trading exchange.

However, poker has not taken the same position within the free browser games segment, which is a bit surprising and should entice programmers looking for new niches.

Of course many people are reluctant to invest real money in a poker game with a bunch of strangers, to say the least. But playing for fun in the realm of a friendly online gaming site should definitely appeal to people, and poker is a really good game.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the challenges awaiting him or her who wants to step into a browser poker game effort.

Design

Obviously, the design should appeal to the target group – people who don’t necessarily like to gamble with large sums of money. Maybe something friendly, something with a happy feeling about it. Online flash game style.

Players will probably want to design their avatar, or at least pick it from a list, the longer the better. And the display of money needs to be very clear, so that it’s easy to see how much is in the pot and how much money the opponents have in their stacks. Even if it’s a fun money game, this will be important.

Playability

For a browser poker game to gain popularity, it definitely needs to achieve a high degree of playability. Just as with any other game, players will run away if they have to spend energy figuring out how to work the game controls.

Also, if the poker game is to be multiplayer, player interaction needs to be made really easy and smooth. Any glitches and freezes in the game flow would risk mass defection, not to speak of outright errors in counting the money owed between players.

Stability

Online poker rooms spent the first years of the poker boom struggling to build game server software with really good stability, rather than perfecting the look and feel of the poker clients (which at the time was almost exclusively a download poker game.)

They knew that players would leave really fast if they got the impression that games couldn’t be trusted. Of course, in fun money games the problem isn’t quite as acute, but stability is important.

Game lobby with waiting list feature

When setting up online games for multiple players, you have to come up with a solution to the problem of starting and joining games. Online poker rooms and backgammon sites often feature pretty advanced game lobbies, with active games being listed and sorted in various categories.

Enabling players to join waiting lists for games that are full is very useful, even when the player is currently seated in another game – or several.

It saves a lot of manual reloading in the chase of an open seat. It also reduces the risk of failure when several players try to join a game simultaneously.

A good game lobby prevents a lot of frustration among players and works as a lubricant for the game machine.

Wish there was more?

I'm considering writing an ebook - click here.

.

As an editor for PokerJunkie.com, Clement Henry works for a high quality online poker guide featuring poker room reviews, online poker bonuses, an active poker forum and much more.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 misc
  • playpoker

    Online poker games has become very popular world wide and players enjoy it when they win money and quit the game if they are on losing side. When setting up play poker for multiple players, we have to come up with a solution to the problem of starting and joining games.

  • Facebook has a poker application it's nice and I like it very much. But it is still far more different to play in actual poker because playing online, you're playing with play money also, so when you have a lot of money you just keep on calling it.

  • Josh

    You are forgetting a few things:
    - gambling might be illegal / need licence in some parts of the world
    - there are special taxes and regulations regarding gambling in most countries
    - higher promotion costs since most of the decent ad netwroks do not accept gambling ads

  • I think you are missing the titanically huge Texas Hold'Em poker app on Facebook by Zinga. It has some ridiculous number of installs, over 10 million.

    It doesn't have the avatar customization but I think it has everything else on your list of suggested features.

blog comments powered by Disqus

About

Building Browsergames is a blog about browsergames(also known as PBBG's). It's geared towards the beginner to intermediate developer who has an interest in building their own browsergame.

Sponsors

Got Something to Say?

Send an e-mail to luke@buildingbrowsergames.com, or get in touch through Twitter at http://twitter.com/bbrowsergames