Like Texas Hold ‘Em? Give These Games a Try

One of my personal guilty pleasure games is Texas Hold ‘Em. While I consider myself a pretty big fan of mobile and casual titles, there’s something about a great poker game that really connects with me and helps pass the time, be it when I’m on the go or trying to fall asleep.

I’ve played my fair share of Hold ‘Em matches online, and I have nothing against multiplayer. Like the multiplayer aspect of any other game with online capabilities, there’s something uniquely satisfying about taking someone else’s money from them with the use of a good bluff. But strangely, I prefer a poker game against AI opponents when given the choice. Why? There’s a bit less stress involved when playing against the computer, and it’s a great way to brush up on your skills without the added pressure of live opponents. Unfortunately, there’s about a million online poker games to one good AI-based game, be they browser-based or iOS apps. But after a long, tedious process of weeding out the bad from the good, these are my three favorite poker games with worthy computer opponents:

1) Dogs Playing Poker

It’s weird, it’s quirky, and it’s strangely fun. Dogs Playing Poker is an iOS game based on the famous painting depicting dogs of various breeds sitting at a poker table that you see at state fairs and in your grandpa’s garage. With a well-designed interface, decent AI, and lots of tricks and hints, the game is great for both beginners and experienced players alike. Each round ends with a statistic rundown that shows you how well you did, and character animations express their “tells” to give you a boost in strategy. It’s not without its flaws, and it might take a bit to get used to, but given the chance, you’ll find Dogs Playing Poker to be a fair Hold ‘Em app well worth your casual gaming time.


2) Poker Night at the Inventory

This is one I only recently got turned on to. It’s a PC-based game with a crew second only to the aforementioned Dogs Playing Poker in quirkiness. You play against four opponents in Homestar Runner’s Strong Bad, Team Fortress’ Heavy, Sam & Max’s Max, and Penny Arcade’s Tycho. Gameplay is great, the interface is well-designed and easy-to-use, and the game has more than its fair share of awesome one-liners from the characters. It’s just as entertaining as it is strategic, and it’s one of my personal go-to’s for a good round of Texas Hold ‘Em.


3) Glu Games’ Poker: Hold ‘Em Championship

Of the plethora of Hold ‘Em games on the App Store, this one is hands down one of the best AI-based poker games on the marketplace. The interface is similar to and has the same polish as any of the big multiplayer-only Hold ‘Em games, only human opponents have been replaced by a well-designed computer ones capable of bluffing and betting against you with the best of them. It has optional hints, an intuitive and easy-to-use betting system, and the overall feel of the game is totally satisfying. Some of the characters might be a bit campy, but the gameplay is fantastic nonethless, making this Hold ‘Em app a must-download.