BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag, two poker sites on the Chico Poker Network that serve Americans and players from the rest of the world, have just launched a new mobile poker interface. The poker room is now accessible from iPad 3+, iPhone 5+ and devices running Android OS 6+. The iOS client is a responsive web app that’s accessible through mobile web browsers and thus requires no download or setup process. The program for Android machines, however, must be downloaded and installed on the user’s phone or tablet.
To access the poker games from a compatible device, go to the mobile website and log in. Then you’ll see “poker” clearly listed near the top of the screen along with “casino,” “sports,” and the other products available. Once you choose poker, you’ll be asked to “Play Now” if you’re using iOS or to “Download Now” if you’re running an Android operating system.
You can’t play mobile poker with a tablet or phone in portrait mode, so put your screen into landscape mode to proceed. Once you’re successfully logged into the poker app, you’ll see the poker lobby. It contains tabs for the three main formats of poker: cash games, tournaments and sit-n-gos. No Limit Hold’em ring games are listed from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $5/$10, which account for all the stakes available on the network. Even the special Bad Beat Jackpot and anonymous heads-up games are present in the mobile client. PLO is available from $0.01/$0.02 through $4/$8, which means that the top level is absent. PLO8 is offered between $0.05/$0.10 and $1.50/$3.00, excluding the $2/$4 level that you can join in the mainstream poker client.
There are no fixed limit tables present, so LHE, LO8, and 7CS fans are out of luck, but these variants hardly ever run anyway. In any case, the lobby has a filter for “Fixed Limit,” so there’s a chance that developers will add these formats later on. Regarding the two non-standard games contained in the desktop version, NL 32 Card Draw and NL Americana, they are absent from the mobile lobby, a sensible omission because nobody ever plays them anyway. Every SNG and MTT seems to be accessible from tablets and phones.
The leftmost section of the lobby allows you to choose what game, betting structure, table size, and stakes you wish to view. For any of these filters, you can select “All” if that particular variable doesn’t matter to you. The right portion of the display contains a listing of the games that meet your criteria. Some of the table information given in the desktop poker solution has to be shown here in a terse form to fit on smaller screens, but it’s all there except for the screennames of those playing. You can sort the games by stake/buyin and a couple of other metrics.
To join a cash game, simply tap on it once. It will then open up. In the case of sit-n-goes and tournaments, this action will make the lobby appear. Select an open seat to take it or press the “Register” button depending on what type of poker you’re participating in. To access settings, go to the menu in the top left of the lobby. Here you’ll find many options that you can use to customize the appearance, sounds and other elements of your mobile poker experience. One thing that’s missing, though, is four-color deck.
Once you’re at a table, you’ll see a pretty Spartan layout that contains just what you need and not a whole lot more. When it’s your turn to act, large action buttons pop up near the bottom of the screen. There are three ways to select your bet sizes: by choosing from among certain preset values, like ½ pot and ¾ pot, on the right of the display, by dragging the bet slider on the left, or by adjusting the bet size next to the slider and entering the numbers in through a calculator-like interface. Pre-action buttons keep the game flowing smoothly because people can fold hands they don’t like in advance rather than having to stop and think when it’s their turn.
Chatting is possible, but you have to open up the chatbox by tapping on it. You’ll then be able to input your message, and you can even use emoticons if you want to. The previous hand number is shown above the chatbox, and by selecting it, you’ll open up a graphic hand replayer. Auto muck, sit out next, and sit out next BB can be toggled on or off via an icon in the bottom-right that looks like a checkmark and a gear.
Surprisingly, multi-tabling is supported by the BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag mobile poker platform. You can only view only a single entire table at a time, but every table you have open will be represented by a small graphic on a bar in the upper portion of the screen. Whenever you have active cards on any table, you’ll see them in miniature atop the appropriate image, and you can switch between games merely by touching the one you want to go to. When it’s your turn to act on any table you’re seated at, you’ll see a yellow exclamation mark atop the representation of the table in question.
Through a symbol resembles a “play” button, which is near the top of the window, you can sit out at all tables and perform other useful multi-tabling functions. To close the table you have in the forefront, use the “X” at the top-right just like you would at a normal poker table. To go the lobby and find more tables to play without leaving your current one, press the image of a page with a left arrow near the top-left corner of the table.
The capabilities of this app are pretty robust especially for a first public release. It’s typical for designers to start out small with a limited roster of games and then add more as time goes on. This isn’t what was done in this case at all; almost all the games that are played frequently at the card room can now be enjoyed from mobile systems. The action at the tables moves briskly, and the lobby contains a remarkable amount of information given the small amount of space it has to work with. The ability to multi-table and review past hands in graphical form are nice touches that other sites generally don’t get around to implementing in their mobile offerings until much later – that is, if they bother with them at all.
Sportsbetting.ag and BetOnline already have poker software for download to Windows and Mac computers, and this latest addition to their product suite enhances their appeal even further. The Chico Poker Network, which houses both sites, is the third-largest poker room open to those from the United States, and the deployment of this mobile poker product will only cause it to grow more in the coming months. Take a look at our reviews of BetOnline or Sportsbetting.ag now, and then sign up to try out the mobile ring games, tourneys, and sit-and-goes for yourself.