Live Poker First Look

Zynga, the leading publisher of games on social networks, just released Live Poker, adding another major platform to a poker community that already numbers 1.4 million players across Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and Hi5.

There are two versions of Live Poker available to download. The free version grants you 1,000 free chips to gamble with a day. If you’re a high-stakes, player you can also shell out $9.99 to buy 40,000 chips right off the bat. This is the first in-game transaction on the App Store that we’re aware of.

We messed around with Live Poker a bit, and we liked what we saw. The app links to existing Poker accounts on Facebook with ease, although you can also create a new one. From there, you can dive right into a live game populated with real rivals playing on their iPhones or computers, and start taking their money. The game automatically fashions an avatar out of your Facebook profile picture, and you can invite more friends to join to earn extra chips.

Social gaming is clearly going to be a very, very big deal on the iPhone. We wonder how many rival networks the platform can support, however. Now that Zynga’s jumped into the fray, do companies like Newtoy and socialDeck stand a chance? We’re about to find out.