So many poker mobile games, so little time. The explosion of poker as a mainstream pursuit (we swear you'll soon be able to buy chip sets in Toys R Us) has led to a corresponding glut of poker games for phones. The reasoning is clear enough: practice in the privacy of your handset with virtual money before risking your savings, house and pets in a real game.
With that in mind, any new poker game has to be something really special to stand out from the crowd. Midnight Hold'em Poker is Gameloft's take on the genre, and it's got much to recommend it, including a career mode to provide a challenge, a mixture of traditional table games, and one-on-one head-to-heads – not a flavour of Hold'em that's usually covered on mobile.
There are three basic modes. Instant Play throws you into a table of five players, while Heads Up Game pitches you into one of the head-to-heads. Each takes a different perspective on the action. Regular games are viewed from overhead, much like the way online poker sites work, while Heads Up matches present you with a face-on view of your opponent, complete with facial tics and tells.
In both cases, the rules are standard No Limit Texas Hold'em, but there's instructions on how to play, so don't worry if you don't know your flops from your royal flushes. The hands are nice and quick – essential for a good mobile poker game – and the presentation is as slick as you'd expect from one of Gameloft's Midnight games (others in the series include Midnight Pool and Midnight Bowling).
The third mode, if you were wondering, is Career. This combines the other ways to play, with you starting with a small amount of moolah, then playing alternating tournaments and heads up matches, hopefully building your stash of cash as you go. It works well, keeping your wits about you better than an unchanging succession of similar tournaments would.
That's not the only thing to like about Midnight Hold'em Poker. Newbies will appreciate the three-star odds hint at the bottom right of the screen, which constantly shows you the strength of your hand, giving an indication of whether you should be betting, raising or folding. Experts can disregard it, of course.
If you're of a more nefarious bent, you'll like the option to try and sneak a look at other players' cards when you're dealing, too.
Whether you cheat or not, Midnight Hold'em Poker is a high-quality game that's had plenty of thought put into it. It doesn't matter if you're a hardened gambler or a novice shuffler, it's got a strong hand to win your affections.