Playing poker on the go has now become one of the major growth markets in the industry over the past three years. In line with global usage trends moving towards portable platforms (the mobile gaming industry is projected to be worth $40 billion by 2017), the poker community has seen some of the game’s biggest operators move towards portable platforms in recent years and for good reason. As it stands today, the best gaming Android devices are the most important devices for internet usage among 18-30-year-olds.
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According to a study by Ofcom in 2014, 22% of internet users cite Smartphones as most important device for internet access, while an additional 30% use their tablets. This 52% combined usage for mobile devices compares favorably to the 36% for computer systems (29% for laptop and 17% for desktop).
Mobiles for Entertainment, Desktops for Work
With mobiles now seen as the default device for internet usage, online gaming providers have seized an opportunity to develop native apps and this seems to have prompted a boom in leisure activity on mobile devices. The latest trends show that consumers still favor their desktops for ecommerce and online purchases, but when it comes to entertainment, mobiles come out top. Comscore rates 30.8% of purchases in the Europe take place via mobile and tablets, compared to 68.1% on PC.
These numbers are backed up by further research which shows that 43% of the spent time on mobile platforms involves gaming, including casino games and poker, plus a further 10% for entertainment. It has long been predicted that mobiles would overtake desktop devices for internet usage, but quite how was never clear. The stats now suggest that the mobiles are now the dominant force in mobile gaming, while desktops and laptops are still the go to medium for work and ecommerce.
Another stat that backs up this cultural shift is Comscore’s findings that most weekday tablet usage occurs between 8pm and 9pm. In contrast, PC usage dominates during the day, which suggests desktops are for work and tablets are for leisure time.
Why Mobile Gaming Works
So why are gaming platforms so popular with modern gamers? Poker apps are among the best Android gaming options, so let’s use these platforms’ attributes as an example:
Rewards – Android poker sites represent a great way to make more money simply because there’s more free cash on offer. Because operators want players to download their mobile software, many of them have created Android-only poker bonuses that reward players who create an account and play a certain amount of hands via a dedicated app. Thus, if you’re considering playing poker on your Android, make sure you choose a site with the best welcome rewards.
Accessibility – Online Android poker apps are extremely efficient simply because they allow people to access their accounts from their palmtop device. Because these apps allow users to access their favorite games at any time, it means players can actually make more money by anteing up via an Android poker app simply because you can take advantage of every slice of value that comes their way.
Weak Players – In general mobile poker, players will find that that their opponents are less skilled then desktop grinders. Although there is no scientific reason for this, it’s generally the case that when people play poker on their Android they are a lot looser than normal. Because mobile devices give players the freedom to play at any time, they often take a more recreational approach to their gaming which often means it’s easier to make money.
Dual Security – The other area in which Android poker apps thrive, moreover any app where financial transactions take place, is security. Through a combination of SSL encryption via the operator’s own software and Google’s overarching protection, users can feel safe in the knowledge that their money is protected at all time.
An Award Winning Example
Given the recent shift towards mobile usage for entertainment and gaming, poker operators have jumped on the bandwagon and stolen the show in terms of innovation and engagement. Leading the pack in recent years is PokerStars and its native Android app. Named “poker app of the year” by industry authority, eGR, PokerStars is now acknowledged as the benchmark among players and poker insiders.
Commenting on the 2014 award, the Rational Group’s (PokerStars’ parent company) Head of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser explained the company’s happiness at being recognized as an industry leader.
“We’re very proud to be acknowledged by eGR and the expert judging panel for our success as the leading online poker operator online and on mobile,” said Eric Hollreiser.
One of the main reasons PokerStars has become the go-to platform for players is the operator’s decision to adopt a “mobile first” policy. Now working from a mobile base and then expanding out into the desktop world, PokerStars’ app has worked to create a “seamless crossover” between its two mediums.
PokerStars Android Breakdown
How has PokerStars managed to do this and maintain the values of mobile gaming?
Real Money Matters – In addition to offering virtual currency (play chips), PokerStars is able to offer real money gaming thanks to an integrated cashier page. It used to be the case that PokerStars wasn’t able to offer deposits and withdrawals through its app. However, recent innovations have made this possible through a combination of direct and indirect security and ID verification, helped in part by Google.
Quick Seating – Because mobile users now expect the most efficient experience possible, PokerStars has created a “play now” feature into its app. By inputting various parameters, players can be taken directly to an open table and thrust into the action within seconds.
Swipe and Play – In line with this feature, players can also navigate through a range of tables by using swipe technology. Touch screen technology means it’s possible for users to bet, scroll and make moves with a few swipes of their screen which is seen as a more efficient way of gaming than using a mouse.
Chat – PokerStars’ app is also seen as more as engaging thanks to its chat facility. Players can communicate with each other, celebrate when they win and moan win they lose through the inbuilt chat box.
Responsible Gaming – Another important feature of PokerStars app and one that’s helped it become a leader in its field is its responsible gaming features. Players can limit the amount of money they’re able to deposit and restrict the stakes they can play in an effort to curb any financial problems. On top of that, the operator’s security team can also monitor a player’s gaming patterns and a flag up any potentially damaging situations as they occur.
A New Gaming Model
Overall, mobile internet usage has clearly overtaken traditional desktops and laptops in terms of entertainment. Although everyday tasks such as work and shopping are still the reserve of PCs and Macs, it’s now the case that mobile devices are the leaders in terms of entertainment and leisure. Gaming is a major part of the app market and PokerStars has established itself as a leader on this front. Through a combination of innovation, efficiency and security, Android users can ante-up and enjoy a more engaging experience than ever before.