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How Will 5G Affect Mobile Poker?

Poker Chips



As we’ve discussed regarding application areas for 5G, entertainment and gaming are going to be affected as networks expand. The use of modern 5G is set to help us immerse ourselves in virtual dimensions in ways we never could have before –– and it could sell leading to new standards in gaming.

When we imagine these improvements, we tend to think of big and bold games: graphically ambitious adventures, virtual reality experiences, and the like. But it’s also worth thinking about how 5G might affect some games that, while simpler on the surface, are enjoyed by millions. And in this category, it’s hard not to wonder about the impact on mobile poker. With popular apps like Texas Hold’em Poker: Pokerist, Zynga Poker, and WSOP boasting tens of millions of downloads each by Android users alone, it’s clear that this is still an extremely busy category. So, how will 5G change things for all these poker gamers?

Lower Latency & Less Congestion

Among the main benefits of 5G as it relates to Wi-Fi is that it will –– once networks have expanded –– “eliminate latency and lower congestion” on mobile networks. Functionally, this will simply mean that people running apps will have fewer experiences with dragging or interrupted performance. This will be beneficial for poker players in that it will keep animations running smoothly (no stuttering visuals as cards are dealt, for instance), and it will ensure that multiplayer competition is truly occurring in real-time.

Better Graphics On Top Apps

When you look at the top poker apps available, most of them are valued for realistic gameplay and/or specific features –– rather than visuals. The aforementioned Zynga Poker app for instance has a Facebook connection that makes it easy for players to play with friends; PlayWPT is known for helping to train new players as they play. The WSOP app is valued for its connection to the World Series of Poker and for being the “biggest operator” of real-money poker games; GGPoker is known for interactive features like player emojis, and partnerships with professional players like Jason Koon and Fedor Holz.

These are all valuable attributes, but as 5G comes to impact mobile gaming, more of these apps might add console-quality graphics to the mix as well. Simply because data transfer in 5G occurs at between 1 and 50 GB per second (vastly outstripping 4G performance), better graphics will be more feasible. We could thus see some of these same apps building on their existing appeal with more striking visuals akin to those poker games people play on consoles or PCs (such as Poker Club or HD Poker: Texas Hold’em).

More Potential In AR & VR

Already as of the time of this writing, there are some strong virtual reality poker games out there. However, there’s also a sense that these games could be better. Case in point, one positive game review for the PokerStars VR game concludes that “there isn’t a better social experience and game inside of VR.” But it also states that the game “clearly has the potential to be even more than it is right now.”

This is a common sentiment with respect to VR gaming. The best examples are quite good –– but we can always envision them being better. And 5G (and eventually 6G) is likely to bring about the improvement. These networks’ ability to handle more data at higher speeds simply makes it possible for wireless VR and AR to handle larger games, better graphics, and more complexity. Ultimately, this should result in stunningly realistic virtual poker.

Higher Priority From Developers

This final point is more hypothetical. But it’s certainly worth considering that given the improvements outlined above, mobile poker enthusiasts may see the category prioritized even more by developers moving forward. That is to say, if 5G brings about smoother performance, better graphics, and new virtual experiences –– and these improvements make mobile poker even more popular –– it stands to reason there will be further investment in poker apps.

In time, it’s likely that most of the mobile gaming world will be affected by 5G expansion. In these ways, however, the poker category could see specific benefits.