Friday, April 16, 2010

Touchscreen Poker

The following is a shared article with my new poker site Enjoy!

It’s 2010. We really should be on some kind of space odyssey. Hell, we should be on the sequel. I am willing to accept that I still don’t have a flying car or a robot butler, but do I have to accept playing cards with the same dead trees we’ve had since Gutenberg? Actually, no, I don’t. There are two innovations currently on the rise that allow players to holster their decks in favor of touch-screeny goodness--the Apple iPad and the Microsoft Surface.

First, a word on the iPad. To me, the main draw is the interface. The iPhone made navigating cell phone features not just easy, but fun; the iPad does the same for laptops. There is something exciting about not using a mouse and traditional keyboard to browse the web and interact with apps. It’s new, it’s shiny, I want one. One of Apple’s first apps for the iPhone was a Texas Hold’em game, so I have no doubts that a poker game will be available for the iPad soon if they aren’t already. I am confident it will be fun, on-line enabled and, unfortunately,  “play money”. In other words, no matter how slick the design, I won’t be playing more than a couple games before returning to Full Tilt and the like.

Apple’s app store is a walled-garden as they say in the tech world. This means corporate has to approve every app before the unwashed masses gets their grubby little hands on it. Full Tilt has little incentive to make an app for the App Store because it will either be denied or lack real-money play.

So why do I even bring up the iPad? Because it is the shape of things to come. “Me-too” tablet computers with follow Apple’s lead. If history has taught us anything, these new tablets will be less elegant yet more open than Apple. Imagine Full Tilt ported to a touch-screen tablet running a Google Android or Chrome OS? Sign me up!

The Microsoft Surface’s gambling application is already apparent. The consumer electronic blog Engadget has already featured a video of the Surface running a poker table. Picture a Surface at your local casino. You place your drink on the table and it lets the bar know when you need a refill. You place your credit card on the table and the transaction provides you as many digital chips and you’d like. Your cell phone pairs with the table over bluetooth or Wi-Fi and displays your hole cards. The touch screen recognizes all the gestures you already know. Tap the table to check in poker or hit in blackjack. Swipe your cards forward to fold. Drag your chips into the pot as if they were real. Who needs a dealer?

Of course, we may want a dealer. I doubt casinos will ever run their whole operation as a Microsoft Surface farm, but it would be a great supplemental option. Expect to see them soon. The future is now.


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