Poker with a Twist: Smappsoft's Steve Pogatch Talks About New Pokertini App
When it comes to apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Smappsoft’s 13 Card Chinese Poker is one of the most popular among poker pros. Last week, Smappsoft looked to expand its brand with the release of Pokertini: Video Poker With A Twist, which, according to the press release, “brings the classic casino favorite to a whole new level with a detailed and exciting strategic overlay.”
In the new game, which is available for free, “players simultaneously play three independent video poker hands, and arrange their simulated bets to maximize payoffs on favored hands. In addition, they use strategic twists to manipulate their cards to improve their hands and odds of winning. Along the way, they earn badges and unlock new twists, keeping the game challenging and exciting.”
“Video poker is classic game played in every casino,” said Mark Rubin, chief engineer at Smappsoft. “With Pokertini: Video Poker With A Twist, we have taken the game in an exciting new direction that should make it both fun for new players, and challenging for experts.”
Rubin was recently at Macworld 2012 and demonstrated how Pokertini works to AppAdivce:
Here are some of the features you will find on Pokertini:
- Free download from the iTunes App Store
- Strategically arrange your bet across three independent video poker hands
- Dynamic simulated betting system — bet anywhere from three coins to 15,000 coins on one hand!
- Adrenaline pumping bonus rounds
- Many Twists or to unlock and Badges to earn
- Mind blowing lounge music and sharp, eye-popping graphics
- GameCenter enabled with many achievements and leader boards
PokerNews recently talked with Steve Pogatch of Smappsoft about the new app:
How did the idea for Pokertini come about?
We were having lunch in the food court of a local mall one day late last fall, brainstorming about what to build for our next app. We had just finished writing an educational app for kids, so were itching to get back to something poker oriented, and at the same time, we had recently released the major Version 2.0 update to Chinese 13 Card Poker, so that was very much on our minds.
This got us thinking about playing three simultaneous hands and the various trade offs necessary to build your three best hands in Chinese 13 Card Poker. In that game, each of the three hands is weighted equally for scoring purposes, and (except for bonus hands like royalties and naturals) there's no added advantage to make a particular hand stronger once it is good enough to win its street.
We started thinking that it would be cool to design a game that took the strategy one step further, where you could really fine tune your hand setup by carefully accounting for the relative strength of each hand. Then someone came up with the idea of adding the ability to draw cards. At that point, we suddenly realized that what we were talking about was basically video poker where the hands can interact with each other. As we thought more, we decided that the strategy became even more interesting if we defined certain types of interactions like swapping cards and blocking other cards. So the key idea of the “twists” was born, although that name didn't come up until a few weeks later when we came up with the whole Pokertini cocktail lounge theme.
What inspired you to give away this app for free?
This was a bit of an experiment for us. The industry is clearly moving in this direction, and "Freemium" apps are becoming more and more popular in the App Store. The basic idea is that, by giving away the app for free, you give players the opportunity to try out the game without any kind of risk. Some people will like the game and others won't, and the ones who don't will stop playing. But that's true whether the game was free or not, and since many more people are trying it when it's free, you actually end up with a lot more people playing the game than you would otherwise, and because those people are really into the game, they will usually make an in app purchase of coins, etc. at some point (although it is absolutely not required to do so). So it's definitely a win-win situation where people get to try the game for free and only pay if they like it, and we as developers get happy, enthusiastic customers.
To your knowledge, have any poker pros played Pokertini yet?
Since the app is so new (it's only been out a couple of days), we haven't heard of any pros playing yet. But we'd love to hear from any who are!
Are players able to compete against one another like they are on the 13 Card Chinese Poker?
At this point, it's a single-player game that we think very much has the feel of an actual casino video poker experience. We are thinking about adding some type of head-to-head mode, or maybe tournament, but haven't fully defined the concept yet. A lot will depend on what kind of feedback we get from players, too, so if there's something in particular people would like to see, they should drop us a line and we'll do our best to include it.
Does Smappsoft have any plans for other poker-related apps? If so, can you provide us with some details?
Definitely yes, although not in the next couple of months since we're working on a couple of other things in the puzzle and music game categories. We've got some plans for additions to Chinese 13 Card Poker that we are targeting for around the time of the WSOP this summer, and another multiplayer poker game that we don't want to say too much about right now!
Will Pokertini be available on any other devices other than “I” products?
Probably yes, but not immediately. We're still very focused on the iOS platform, especially with the new tablets and phones expected to come in the next few months, but ultimately it is very likely that we will look at porting Pokertini to Android and Windows 8.
Do you imagine Pokertini ever being played for real money, perhaps as a machine in a casino?
Absolutely, yes. We think the game would be fantastic in a real casino setting and are already thinking down these lines!
Pokertini: Video Poker With A Twist is available for free in the iTunes App Store, which you can find simply by clicking here.