The lines are becoming ever more blurred, at least they are for gaming companies, as to what constitutes real money poker and social poker. The amount of social poker sites available now is astounding, and let’s face it, they are all very similar, I mean what more can they offer besides a game of poker and either free cash or prizes, and the sill little trinkets that get thrown your way? The main difference is of course is that most social poker sites will ask you to sign up, you get free action for a while, or continuing free action for small prizes, then you pay to ‘upgrade’. That upgrade usually consists of a payment for a monthly amount of chips and access to bigger tourneys with better prizes etc, but isn’t that just the same as signing up to a real money poker site and playing freerolls, then at some stage depositing to get into bigger, better tourneys? Yes it is, it’s exactly the same.
The big sell for social poker sites is that it’s ‘legal’ and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word, however as we all know, you’re hardly about to get into any trouble for playing real money online poker in the states, so I am dismissing that argument. Let’s look at a typical example of a new social poker site...
Pure Play Casino gives you the chance to play poker for free and win real cash...for a limited time. Pure Play Poker is a social poker site that offers cash games and tournaments and offers a free trial, however after that trial it will cost you $24.99 per month. Upon signup and registering an account, which is a very simple process, you’ll be given a certain amount of free chips to take to the tournaments and cash games, however to signup and get the free trial your credit card details are required...like many social sites. That immediately puts people off, why do I have to give my card details for something that is free? I just don’t want to do that. The usual fodder is on offer and of course it’s all Texas Hold’em (what else is there in the social world) but wouldn’t anyone rather simply play freerolls at a quality US online poker site that offers much better software and a whole better experience?
We can also dismiss most sites that offer you the chance to learn poker for free, as I am sure we all know that you can learn the rules for free, but you can’t learn how to play the game with free or play money. Social gaming exploded in 2012 and although slowed down a little in 2013, quite possibly due to the fact that the market was so congested, with even companies like Zynga, the social gaming king fairing terribly, those days behind us as far as poker is concerned. With real money poker sites giving players the chance to play for free, regulated poker now available in 3 states and the offshore sites such as Bovada and Carbon still doing well, maybe the social poker sites days are gone.