All I wanted to do was play some cards…

Over the weekend, I really wanted to play poker. That sounded like a great way to spend time and unwind. There used to be great poker games for the iPad, so I started there.

When that failed, I tried for the desktop. Surely, poker games for the desktop are popular? Sadly not.

It seems card games, word games, and “casual games” in general are now browser games. That’s not horrible, except they’re riddled with ads.

I found a few sites with stand alone games, but AdGuard counted up like a video game with all their ads and trackers.

I miss the days of single player games. Everything has turned into a “With Friends” variant. You don’t play, you “compete” against real players.

It may sound silly, but I want to play the game of poker, not “gamble.” I don’t want to play against other people, or spend real money. Nor am I interested in being competitive. I want to enjoy the pastime of playing cards. And I want a computer as my opponent.

If you want to play cards, you have to settle for solitaire. Solitaire can be great, but it’s not the same as “playing cards.”

When computers hit the market, poker and blackjack were the first games for any new platform. They were games you could play for hours against the “AI.” They were called computer players back then.

Companies like Hoyle and Bicycle put out bundle CDs that were big sellers. With each new platform the graphics and gameplay got better. You also got dozens of rule variants for each card game.

Even Microsoft got in on the action and published the Bicycle Casino CD. I still have an old copy. I wonder if I could get it to load?

That was a $20 bundle you could play for months on end. There were so many games to choose from and rules you’ve never heard of.

When the iPad hit the streets, the cycle repeated. All those great games were polished and put up for sale. They were fantastic renditions of the classic. They also had custom rule settings you could turn on for something different.

Apple kicked things off with their poker game. It’s dated now, but it showed off the graphics, the controls, and was a pretty decent game. Lots of studios followed suit, especially for Texas Hold ‘Em.

Today we’ve got even better graphics and more powerful processors. Real AI play would be amazing. You could have casual, sloppy, and hardcore opponents with everything in-between. Who doesn’t want to play against, “noob, drunk, best friend?” But, that last part never materialized.

EA released Yahtzee Adventures for the original iPad and it was a great game. You “traveled” to different locations to play against different players. It looked good and had nice sound. That game was removed and replaced by a friends version with in-app purchases. You can’t even download the original anymore.

Monopoly was another great iPad release. You could jump into a game with multiple computer opponents and try your hand at making property deals. That game is also gone, replaced with a friends version and in-app purchases.

Finally, the classic Scrabble came to the iPad. It looked just like the board game, but has since disappeared, also replaced “with friends.” It’s also flooded with “power-up” purchases. When did Scrabble need power-ups?

Regardless of the game, playing against the computer isn’t an option anymore. You have to play against real people. All those exciting single player games that just needed an update for OS changes have fallen to the wayside. Scrabbled made for the iPad Pro would look amazing.

What if you don’t have time to finish the game? What if the other players leave? What if no one is around?

We’ve got so much processing power. There are so many platforms. There are multiple digital stores. We’ve got the ability to make powerful AI. You would think a quality “casino bundle” from decades ago would be easy to find.

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