The App Store opened for business 11 years ago this week and to mark the anniversary of its app marketplace, Apple is reviving its old iOS poker game. The redesigned Texas Hold ’em app has a new lease on life with more characters, sharper graphics and gameplay that should prove a bit more of a challenge. It’s also now free to play.
Apple actually released Texas Hold’em back in 2006 — before the App Store even existed. It was initially available for iPod before iPhone card sharks were able to get their hands on it in 2008. Apple pulled the game from the App Store in 2011.
Now, it’s back under the same app listing, which says Texas Hold’em has returned to “celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the App Store” instead of the 11th anniversary, for some reason. In any case, the decade-long gap between version histories in the patch notes just has to be a record.
Texas Hold ’em 2.0 includes 10 poker venues, and winning at one means you’ll move onto the next. It works offline, though you can pit your wits against up to eight friends in multiplayer. You’ll have the option between first-person and top-down gameplay, while you can call up hints, stats and player ratings. If you look closely enough at your opponents, you might even pick up on tells when they have a particularly strong or abysmal hand. All those updates mean the app will take up a sizable 1.5 GB of space on your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad.
Apple, of course, is placing a bigger focus on gaming with its Apple Arcade subscription service arriving soon. It also worked on Warren Buffett’s Paper Wizard game a couple of months back — the first time it had developed a game since Texas Hold ’em. Maybe Apple’s been bitten by the game dev bug again, which might please some of the folks who reviewed its “sick” poker game back in the day.