If the Winamax Poker App review we looked at a few weeks ago was a somewhat quirky option, then this week’s review of the mFortune Poker App is equally unusual, if only because technically the mFortune Poker App isn’t a poker app!
Unlike almost all other sites which operate their own dedicated real cash poker app or section of a website, mFortune takes a different approach.
To access the Texas Hold’em poker real money games on the site you need to download the mFortune Mobile Casino app onto your phone.
From the list of games that come up, you can then select the Texas Hold’em poker game to play and when this software loads up, rather than have to navigate to it from the casino each time, you can create a quick-link to the app using your device software.
It’s an unusual step to operate a poker room in this way and it may explain why mFortune is not one of the more commonly played poker sites on the net today, and why the poker room itself takes a bit of finding from your mobile device.
But once you have it on your device, does the app stand up well against the other mobile poker competition out there? Read on to find out.
It is fair to say that I have not seen as comprehensive a section on any website as mFortune have when it comes to listing the networks and mobile phones and tablets that their software will work on.
Certainly, this is an aspect of the site that has all the other apps I’ve reviewed beaten hands down. No matter what phone you have you can visit the mFortune supported phones page and click on the maker of phone that you have (there are 25 listed).
This then brings up information about whether your make of phone is compatible with the mFortune site, which mFortune site products will work and then lists each individual phone from each manufacturer that the software is supported on.
While other sites may simply state support for iOS 7 or Android devices, mFortune goes much further offering support for a vast range of devices that many other sites do not, such as BlackBerry, Sagem, Orange, Toshiba, LG, HTC, Huawei, Acer, Alcatel, Motorola and more.
The sheer wealth of information in this section makes it incredibly easy to check if you have a less well-known device, so you can use mFortune’s products quickly and easily.
The range of support for phones and tablets on mFortune is very impressive and certainly sets a benchmark for information about support that other sites would be wise to follow.
Downloading the mFortune Poker App is a relatively speedy process, once you have realised that the poker site is contained within the general casino app.
This isn’t made clear and the fact that many other sites choose to have separate apps for the two does tend to make me believe that as a result mFortune are missing out on a few mobile poker customers who simply don’t realise that they offer a real cash poker service.
The way the poker option is presented as simply one of the main casino options on mFortune is fair enough as that is the approach the company wants to take.
However, given that most other app manufacturers do clearly distinguish between their casino app and their poker app, it is initially disconcerting that mFortune chose to organise their products in this way.
The reason for this is when other poker sites offer a poker ‘game’ within a casino environment, it is usually a different type of game (such as a game of chance, a slot machine or similar) where poker provides the theme of the game, but the game itself is not Texas Hold’em Poker.
As such, I believe that mFortune is missing out on a fair few poker customers simply by how they choose to organise and promote their services within the overarching casino app.
That small observation apart, registration at the casino is quick and painless and the software installation is speedy too.
I would suggest poker players who don’t want to navigate through the casino every time to play set up a quick link using their phone or tablet, which can take you direct to the poker site at the touch of a button as this does speed up loading times considerably.
As you can see from the screenshot below, there are essentially two different games available on the mFortune site.
They are organised into real money games and playing for fun, although both types of games essentially offer only ring games.
When you select the play for real money option, you are taken to a sub menu, which allows you a choice of three options.
Go to Tables, which takes you to a list of all the current cash tables being played at mFortune.
Secondly, if you have friends who are on the app, you can search and play with them using the Play With Friends button.
Alternatively, if you want to set up a private game for you and some poker buddies, you can do so using the Create Private Table button.
What is nice is that your settings, icon, and credit along with the default action at the table (check/fold by default) is clearly displayed next to the list meaning it is easy to see your current status before you decide what cash table to play at.
When the list of available tables loads up, there are a choice of just three different types of table, low, medium and high.
Low stakes game have blinds of £0.10 and £0.20 and buy in levels from £2 to £8.
Medium stakes games have blinds of £0.50 and £1 and buy ins from £5 to £20.
The High stakes games have blinds of £2 and £4 and buy ins from £20 to £80.
What is clearly evidenced here is that only low to mid-level poker players will be interested in these games.
There are no options for high rollers and perhaps more worryingly in terms of mass appeal, no options for micro stakes players, which prove so popular on many other sites.
This lack of options in terms of the cash tables does mean that the app does only have limited appeal unfortunately, especially when you consider that there are no Sit & Go or MTTs available on the site either.
The list is intuitive showing the populated tables at the top and recommending a table for you to play at where there is a spare seat.
At peak times the rooms are relatively busy but the traffic does tend to dwindle quite considerably at off-peak times, which does impact which cash games are available to play.
You can opt to play at two, five and eight seater games, but unfortunately, the site does not display information such as hands per hour, average pot size or average number of players contesting the pot, which is something of a glaring omission.
The only other alternative for players other than these cash games is to play for pretend cash using the option mentioned earlier in the main menu.
Other than the usual requirements for players to be over the age of 18 in the UK, there doesn’t seem to be any other software restrictions in place, though I did not notice any support for Windows Mobile Phones.
The mFortune Poker App (part of mFortune Casino) has me torn. There are some outstanding aspects to the site, yet there are also several major issues with it that just detract from the overall experience markedly for a typical UK poker player.
The registration process is quick and easy and certainly one of the best points in mFortune’s favour is that before you even register a penny of your own cash, the site give you £5 completely free of charge to trial the site.
Better still, as soon as you make a deposit, mFortune give you a 100% matched bonus on your deposit immediately.
There is no playing real cash games the site earning points to release the bonus with mFortune: Simply deposit your cash and you will see that double the amount of cash is in your account for you to play with immediately.
This was a refreshing change to many sites that advertise hefty bonuses, only for the user to find they have to spend a great deal of their deposit, if not considerably more than it, to realise their full bonus, often within a relatively short space of time.
Indeed, as a new player, it seemed like mFortune were throwing money at me. I allowed them to post a link on my Facebook page and received another £3 credit immediately following and I received an email just a few days after joining saying that they had credited another £2 to my account.
You even receive £5 each time you refer a friend and then 50% as a bonus of what your friend deposits as their initial deposit with MFortune.
Therefore, I was in the somewhat unusual position of having a rather sizeable bankroll available for mFortune when I began the research for this article but that was precisely when I encountered my first real negative issue.
That is, as I’ve touched upon previously, there are just not enough variation in games to keep poker players who don’t like mid to lower stakes cash table games, happy.
I am a poker player who likes to mix up their play. I enjoy cash table games, but I don’t think it is my strongest suit as a poker player. I prefer heads up games, Sit & Go tournaments and the occasional MTT to supplement my playing at the cash table. I would say cash table games make up less than 10% of my poker playing.
Therefore, although I had a relatively large bankroll, I didn’t really feel that I had enough opportunity to spend it playing the poker games I liked. There’s just not enough options in terms of the type of poker offered and in terms of the cash tables that are available, there’s just not enough variation in blinds (a choice of three) to make it have a real long term appeal for me.
Once I had selected a table and loaded it up, I began to notice a few minor issues with the sensitivity of the software, certainly on the iPad that I reviewed the mFortune app on. Several times it appeared that the app had frozen when it hadn’t - it just didn’t seem to register that I was tapping the screen to make a selection.
Once the table loaded up it is fair to say that I wasn’t hugely impressed with the design. I felt that the table had been squeezed into two-thirds of the available screen and that the information shown for each player dwarfed the table and the cards and made following what was happening in the betting somewhat difficult to follow initially.
As the game progressed and I got used to how mFortune Poker presents the data on screen, I then came across another issue which was the speed of the game. It was very, very slow paced indeed and I trialled this across several tables at several different times and achieved the same result.
I think part of the problem is the way the table and betting operates. On other poker sites, a player's betting options are displayed for them to pick with one click of the button.
On mFortune Poker, you have to select the betting option first off (unless you are calling) and then select the amount you want to bet and then you have to click the bet button, sometimes twice if your first button click didn’t register the bet.
This means players are having to click three, four or five times to place a bet and the cumulative effect of that is a much slower-paced game.
If you prefer a quicker pace, then this is an issue, but many players may prefer a slower pace as it gives them more time to think. This is an issue very much down to personal choice, however the design of the poker software could have been far more intuitive and the display far better laid out as at the moment the key poker information is often lost on screen.
By the end of the review process, I had real mixed emotions about mFortune Poker. There were some outstanding aspects of it, but some which really let it down. Let’s examine both in more detail.
It is fair to say that what mFortune does well, it does exceptionally well and in some cases, I believe, better than any other poker apps available.
The aspects of the app that I felt were particularly impressive were:
The supported phones section, which gave extremely clear and detailed information about many different makes of phones and tablets that are supported by the software. The level of detail in this section will be extremely useful, especially to people who may not have one of the most commonly supported devices.
The sheer amount of bonuses a new player receives and how they receive them on mFortune is superb. New players receive a £5 no deposit bonus for registering with the site which they can use immediately at the cash tables. They also receive a 100% first deposit bonus, which is added to their balance immediately, without having to play through a certain amount of cash on the site first to release the bonus. Players can also receive £5 when they refer a friend to the site PLUS they will receive a bonus of 50% what their friend makes as a first deposit as a thankyou. Lastly, I also received a £2 bonus just days after joining plus a £3 bonus for allowing mFortune to post on my Facebook account.
The standard of play on the site was generally average and it wasn’t particularly difficult to post a relatively small profit each time I played. However, I did notice that each time I logged in at various points throughout a number of days and weeks, that the same player names were on the site. I tended to try and avoid these as I felt these were grinders, simply looking for donkeys to part from their cash. However you can do this relatively easily as you can see which players are playing at which tables before you join.
Certainly the mFortune Poker App did everything it needed to do to be enjoyable, but only up to a point. I did encounter several small issues with the app which I felt detracted from my enjoyment and these are outlined below.
The key negative points of the app for me were:
Simply not enough variation in poker games, or even the cash games offered, to offer most poker players long term appeal.
Unless you are aware that mFortune Poker is included as part of their casino package, it is very easy to miss the game when searching for mobile poker on your phone or tablet.
The app software does seem to have a few glitches that makes navigating through the app and when the tables are loaded up, somewhat slow and a tad frustrating at times.
The way the actual poker game is represented on your device is extremely cluttered and somewhat ill conceived. Having to push four buttons to make a bet slows down the gameplay at the table considerably and this does have an impact on the pace of the game. In addition, how the cards are displayed and the betting information in particular is not clearly displayed on screen, while lesser important information is.
I strongly believe, given the relatively low traffic and the high proportion of players who were on the site almost every time I logged in, that some experienced poker players use the site to harvest cash from less experienced. This is somewhat off-putting for novice players, especially when their stack is so much bigger than yours and they can pretty much call any of your bets without worrying too much about it. This means you have to alter your strategy, or risk losing your money as it ekes away.
It is worth pointing out that these minor points are generally just niggly things, rather than hugely problematic issues.
I still had a lot of fun on the mFortune site, and the welcome bonuses really sweetened the experience for me, but in terms of long term appeal, I feel the app just lacks the staying power of others available on the market.
There are some great things to admire about the mFortune Poker App, the bonus offers you can receive as a new player are certainly amongst the best in the industry at present and the support for a vast range of mobile devices is also excellent.
The app is dogged by a few technical issues that are more inconvenient than catastrophic and the pace of play at the tables, and the same names cropping up time and time again when you play, do tend to slow the process down considerably.
The key issue though with the mFortune app is longevity and long term appeal. With just three types of cash table games available in terms of blind levels, and no MTT or Sit & Go options, no speed poker, no twister poker, and no micro or high roller cash tables, this app is only going to appeal long term to cash table grinders - specifically those who want to play for mid-low stakes against relatively inexperienced opponents and I’m not sure how many modern UK poker players fit that description.
I also feel the look of their poker software, specifically how the table is laid out, how the betting information is presented and the relative sizes of the players to the cards and table, needs a serious rethink in order to make it more appealing to look at and easier to follow.
That said, there is still lots to enjoy with mFortune Poker and in terms of sites that only offer cash table games (of which there are many), mFortune poker is certainly one of the best of those currently available.
Just remember to play it, you need to download the mFortune Casino first!