You are up against it, out stacked and swinging low. With only 10 big blinds left you stare down at your hand and staring back at you is a desperate looking Q-5. Your heart is beating faster, palms that little sweatier, whilst you try to figure out your next move. However there is one small catch: You can only go all-in or fold.
Welcome to the watery world of Jawfish Poker, an IOS release from Jawfish Games, the latest brain child of CEO and poker pro Phil Gordon.
In a market saturated with poker games struggling for differentiation, Jawfish is a refreshing new twist to the popular Texas Hold’em format. The concept is very simple, you can either go all-in or fold. Although this is nothing that we haven’t seen before, 888’s real money ‘Push or Fold’ springs to mind, however the execution of Jawfish Poker has to be applauded.
When you start up the free app, you are presented with a clear, crisp menu. On the left hand side you have two game types to choose from: Tournaments or King of the Hil (see Game Types). Depending on what option you select, the right hand of the screen displays information in relation to your chosen Game type. The bottom bar displays your username, gold and diamond count, Jawfish Poker’s in-game currency.
Gold and Diamonds
Gold is the essential currency within Jawfish, it is your chip count when playing King of the Hill and the prize money in Tournament play. Diamonds are used to rebuy into tournaments that you get knocked out from. These are vital lifelines and are very helpful for tournaments. Both gold and diamonds can be purchased in game from as little as 99p, however, there is enough free gold and diamonds floating around to keep everyone satisfied.
Tournaments: The Ronseal of the two games types, ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’, tournament play. A series of head-to-head match ups until the last man standing is declared the winner. With three tournament entry levels, using the in-game gold, there are games for all balances. The higher the buy-in the higher the prize pots are. Players battle it out to finish ‘in the money’ and can re-buy if knocked out using there diamonds.
King of the Hill: This is where the huge jackpots are up for grabs. Similar to tournaments, King of the Hill takes on a ‘cash game’ format, where the player can choose how much gold they wish to take to the table. You can cash out at any time, however the person who finishes top of the leader board in the designated time period will win a huge jackpot. During my go at King of the Hill, the Jackpot was over 300k, which I can safely say I did not win!
Quite simply the gameplay is excellent on Jawfish Poker. The action is set at hyper speeds and the layout in game is nicely presented. Little features such as percentages of winning, outs shown and even the dreaded ‘drawing dead’ message (when your hand has no chance of winning) are nice little touches. The right hand gauge presents tournament information and King of the Hill leaderboards.
The decision to go all-in is fun and I ended up sticking to the system of any ace will do. Frustrating moments are when you go for 10 or so hands with no callers, quite simply because it is a drain on your stack with the blinds so high. Likewise when you are being dealt consistently poor hands can be a tough spot to recover from. Although I did not find this as much as a problem as people not calling for extended periods.
There is a worry of the game play becoming repetitive, though I found myself eager to jump into the next game and never found the action dull or boring after extended lengths of play. Maybe I will just never tire of beating A-K suited with my 7-2 off suite! Though there are plenty of achievments to unlock, aside from the usual gold digging, which will keep players on their toes with plenty to do.
The adrenaline fuelled Jawfish Poker traps you within its unforgivable fishy jaws and doesn’t let go from the moment you are dealt the first hand. With leadboards, unlockable achievements and the never ending quest for gold, Jawfish will have plenty to keep you going back for more, aside from its addictive gameplay.
User freindly with no real learning curve, Jawfish Poker features fast action for all poker adrenaline junkies, a game that you can simply jump straight into no matter what level of player you are. Although it might not be every poker pros cup of tea (or fish in the sea), experienced players will find a lot of fun here.
Time will tell if the gameplay will become a little repetative, though for now I am certainly pushing all-in with Jawfish Poker!