PokerStars has announced that it has launched a free-play offering on Facebook and will compete with Zynga in the potentially lucrative free-play online poker marketplace.
Internet users on the social platform of Facebook can play for free via PokerStars.net. The product is currently in beta testing to ensure it meets the high standards demanded of the world's top online poker site. Popular features such as the fast-fold variant Zoom Poker are also available through the Facebook application.
Players who already have a PokerStars account need not open a new account through Facebook. Existing user IDs should be used on the PokerStars.net application, which will allow play chip balances to be carried over and utilized through Facebook.
Zynga Poker is currently the top dog in the play money market and has almost four times as many free-play players as PokerStars. According to PokerScout's play money rankings, Zynga enjoys a seven-day average of 116,400 players to PokerStars' total of 30,200. Those statistics are for both tournaments and ring game action. When comparing numbers for only play money ring games, the player totals get a bit closer to five times as many for Zynga at 82,408 to the 16,984 at PokerStars.
Social gaming has taken off in recent years with Zynga leading the way. The huge number of players who play for fun are seen by many in the industry as potential customers who may someday enter the realm of real-money gambling. If even a fraction of those who currently play for free can be converted to real-money players, the profits could be enormous.