» April, 2012

Terminal Poker

Terminal Poker is doing things a little differently from the other mobile poker apps. It’s not just that its apps are browser based (no download required), the mFortune and Switch Poker for iPhone app are similar in this sense. The most important difference is that its games, which Terminal calls “Fast Poker”, follow the Rush Poker format popularised by the sleeping poker giant, Full Tilt.

Compare Terminal Poker with other mobile poker apps here.

1. Game Selection

Fast Poker is perfectly suited to the small mobile poker operator’s market – there’s no waiting around for games because places at tables are allocated and reallocated on the fly to ensure you always have a hand to play.

Other than the novel approach to seating players, Fast Poker is fundamentally no different to an ordinary poker game. Whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em ring games on your smartphone or Omaha tournaments on your iPad, the cards are the same as they are everywhere.

2. Fairness

It’s hard to find any information on the Terminal Poker licensing or auditing, which is a shame. On the plus side, since its part of the Instadeal network, which was recently granted an Alderney gaming license (see the AGCC’s list of licensees), you should feel fairly confident that you are signing up at a safe place.

3. New Player Bonus

Terminal’s mobile poker bonus is a very competitive 200% for new players – make a first deposit of €200 and you could get up to €400 free poker money to play with.

You’ll need the Terminal Poker bonus code CCGNEW to activate it. As with most poker bonuses you won’t get it all at once – you will clear it in €20 batches.

Bonus Clearing Requirements

Assuming you make a deposit of $40 using the Terminal Poker bonus code, you are entitled to receive $80 in poker bonus cash. To clear this you will need to contribute $200 to rake, which equates to a very reasonable clearing requirement of two and a half times your bonus (2.5 x).

4. Player Pool

TerminalPoker.com belongs to the Instadeal network, which means that the player pool is not as small as with other dedicated mobile poker operators. Plus, with its Fast Poker format waiting for games is not much of an issue. The question is more likely to be how competitive you judge the other players to be.

5. Mobile Banking

The deposit options available at Terminal Poker are:

  • Skrill (the new MoneyBookers brand)
  • PaySafeCard
  • CreditCards from VISA or Mastercard
  • Wire Transfer

Switch Poker

Switch Poker is focussing entirely on the mobile poker market which means it is one of the few operators that will let you sign up, play and bank all via your mobile phone. Since its software is completely independent this also means that the player pool is smaller than with poker apps for mobile developed by the major operators. However, its bespoke seating algorithm means you should not have to wait too long for a game.

Its 5% rake is pretty average for Texas Holdem games; shame there is no mobile poker first deposit bonus. Compare it with other mobile poker games here.

SwitchPoker .com is doing lots of things right: it is the first Android poker app to enable players to play multiple tables at the same time, its games are compatible with more phones than many other new poker apps out there (no Adobe Flash player required) and it is always trying to improve its games.

However, its success will ultimately depend on whether it manages to earn players’ trust.

1. Game Selection

The only tables currently available at Switch Poker are heads up and 6-seater no limit Texas Hold’em games. It claims it is also developing 9-seater and sit&go tournament poker for mobile, with other games also planned.

In the mean time for extra excitement you could try competing in one of its rake races in which the top five players contributing to rake all receive a share of 1000 euros.

Another nice feature are the hand histories, which again can be downloaded to your phone – everything about this operator’s games are designed with the smartphone poker player in mind.

2. Fairness

Switch Poker claims its software is compliant with FIPS but it does not provide any information on any third party certification. The best mobile poker apps will get their random number generator (RNG) sofware independently audited to confirm its fairness, although exactly how independent auditors can be when their salaries are basically by their clients remains to be proven.

3. New Player Bonus

After it launched, the first 250 players at Switch Poker (SP) received a $10 no deposit mobile poker bonus that could be used for real money cash play. However, this bonus has long since expired and there is no mobile poker sign up bonus currently available.

On the plus side, this means that everybody using the app is playing with their own money. It may be worth keeping an eye on the SP blog in case it decides to offer more mobile poker no deposit bonuses to increase the number of new players joining.

Instead it seems Switch Poker is hoping word-of-mouth combined with a decent friend referral bonus is the best way to attract new players at the moment. You will receive €50 for every friend that joins and contributes over €200 to rake.

Bonus Clearing Requirements

By needing to contribute €200 to rake to clear a €50 bonus this is the equivalent of setting a four times (4x) play through requirement. This is a little above the poker average.

4. Player Pool

Switch Poker has set up its own independent poker network so the pool of players is currently pretty small and the games can be tough, as they can be anywhere these days to be fair.

5. Mobile Banking

Since everything you do at Switch Poker, from sign up and depositing to game play withdrawal, will be done via your Android mobile, cell phone, iPad, iPhone of iPod Touch then the banking options available are tailored to this medium and may be unfamiliar. Currently the only three alternatives are:

  • Skrill (from Moneybookers)
  • Bitcoin (see this explanation on Wikipedia if you’re unsure what Bitcoin is)
  • Neteller

bwin Mobile Poker

bwin has staked a claim to being the first operator to launch poker for iPhone and get its product accepted by the App Store. This probably says more about the size of its operation and the influence it is able to exert in important places than anything else. Having said that, not even bwin has managed to get its Android poker app in the Marketplace…

But apps it has and they are as mobile-friendly as anybody else’s so if you have an iPhone or Android handset then the bwin mobile poker apps will be top of your list of games to try.

1. Game Selection

bwin, possibly as part of its bid to be first, has launched paired-down poker apps for smartphones. The focus is on playability of the few games it offers more than providing variety. Given that the number of players downloading mobile poker apps remains fairly small this is a smart decision – there’s no point offering Texas Hold’em mobile poker tournaments if we are going to have to wait 20 minutes for the tables to fill up only to find that we’re playing against the same people we did in the previous one.

At the time of writing, the mobile poker alternatives offered by bwin are all Texas Hold’em ring games. Choose between:

  • Heads up games (2 player tables)
  • 6-seater tables

2. Fairness

There’s no easy way to measure the fairness of a poker network (mobile or otherwise), particularly when there are many factors outside the control of poker operators themselves. However, it should be a comfort for you to see the following certificates on the bwin poker homepage:

  1. eCogra partnership – provides evidence that bwin is secure as well as offering third party dispute resolution.
  2. Responsible Gaming – bwin has an excellent section of its website dedicated to advice and support on how to gamble in a controlled way. It also displays the Gamcare logo.

3. New Player Bonus

There is no dedicated bwin mobile poker bonus to get people playing its iPhone and Android apps – apparently bwin (not unlike other operators) is relying on word-of-mouth to attract players to its product. However, if you are new to bwin poker then you will still be entitled to the normal poker starting bonus:

  • 100% free mobile poker money (with 2.8 times clearance requirement)
  • Rookie and newbie freeroll games.

Bear in mind though, that since the bwin mobile poker apps are currently limited to cash play, the only way to enroll in the freeroll tournaments is via your PC.

Bonus Clearing Requirements

We calculate the clearance requirement as the ratio of the amount you will need to contribute to the poker rake in order to clear each dollar of your bonus. At bwin this ratio is just under three so to clear a $10 bonus you will need to contribute $28 to the rake. Since the bwin rake is usually about 5% this means you will need to spend at least $560.

4. Player Pool

As part of the Ongame mobile and PC poker network, using the bwin mobile app will mean you are always up against different players. On the downside, it is worth remembering that most of these players are likely to be sitting down at the virtual tables via their PCs, which may give them an advantage if you are accessing via your phone. Having said that, tablet or iPad owners with a good internet connection and stable Wi-Fi may find that the game play is even enhanced.

5. Mobile Banking

No surprises here: bwin poker offers one of the most complete arrays of poker banking options anywhere online including eWallets like PayPal, voucher methods like Ukash and even new mobile-friendly alternatives like Skrill from Moneybookers, as well as all the major credit and debit cards.