It’s not easy for a poker game to stand out on the App Store anymore. Stellar, fully-featured titles like World Series of Poker Hold’em Legend are already out there, as are lots of niche titles like Sword & Poker 2 and the ever-inappropriate Sexy Poker 2009.
Dogs Playing Poker tackles this problem with ease. In this game, as the title suggests, you play as a dog trying to outwit, outbet, and outplay all sorts of other dogs in a series of games of Texas hold ’em. The dogs bark, growl, smirk, and pant as they play. Between rounds you can pet them by rubbing your finger on them, and they’ll sigh happily.
The basset hound’s bluffing.
But underneath the adorable presentation is a solid poker game, too. There’s a thorough tutorial that shows you how to play, illustrates some of the game’s strategy, and shows you how to use the interface. It’s all pretty basic: the game has the usual poker game conveniences, from a hand strength meter to let beginners know how likely they are to win a hand, to the ability to fast forward through the other dogs’ bets.
The game features several different backdrops for the pups that show dogs and other animals doing things that humans do, which is patently adorable. The music fits the tone of the game, but you can access your iPod music if you’d rather listen to something else.
Wily as a fox.
The only thing missing is multiplayer. Poker against the computer is fun and all, but we’d like to see at least local multiplayer in any poker game we download.
If you haven’t picked up a Texas hold ’em game yet and don’t mind playing by yourself, this game is a solid download. There’s even a Lite version to try if you’re on the fence. However, if multiplayer is important to you, grab World Series of Poker Hold’em Legend instead. It has everything you could want in a poker game except, of course, the lovable dogs.