The social poker and casino games arena is becoming crowded, but if you're one of millions of players who haven't yet taken the plunge and joined up, you'll welcome the news that new operators are ensuring there is plenty of competition.
The latest to start up operations are PokerTribe, who are handling the release of their social gambling games in stages.
PokerTribe join Chumba Casino and Pure-play - two other operators that get a lot of interest here on winmoney101 - to form a 4-way contest with CelebrityWorld for who will take the prize for the best social casino games solution.
Here we'll review what Poker Tribe is all about, the stages that they intend to release games, and just how you'll be able to win money with them. No poker tribe review will be complete without understanding the basics. So that's where we'll start......
Pokertribe has been formed by the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma in partnership with Universal Entertainment Group. The duo's target is a wide reaching one - to form a highly regarded social gaming network, offering free to play and cash prize bingo, casino games and online poker.
Just another operator jumping on the social gaming bandwagon you may think.
Well, the twist in this particular tale is that Pokertribe are also one of the players in a plan to deliver in flight real money casino gaming to what is potentially a captive audience - plane travelers.
They plan to release different types of gaming in stages, with free play poker being the first to make an appearance on the Pokertribe.com website.
Who Can Play
As with most social games websites, the restrictions you might see in real money gaming don't apply at the same levels. The free to play Pokertribe poker gaming is available to most US residents (with the notable exception of Oklahoma), along with a number of other international countries.
I was probably the first to register from the UK on the day of opening, at one point being one of only two players on the platform.
What Are The Launch Phases?
We've already mentioned that poker was the first game to go live. Casino games will make an appearance in phase 2, with bingo unclear at present. Phase 2 will also see the introduction of real money prizes.
Further down the line we'll see phase 3 and the in flight games (and maybe even an appearance on cruise ships).
There are countdown clocks on the home page indicating introduction of phase 2 on August 1 2016 and phase 3 on January 9 2017.
Where To Play
To get a taste of what's to come in later phases, you can register to play the free poker version at Pokertribe.com or the Universal Entertainment site at UEGPoker.com.
I found the registration process to be quick and easy. You just hit the home page, scroll down and on the right hand side you're presented with the registration form. Fill in the fields and you'll get sent an authorisation mail. 16 fields to complete but all basic stuff and takes less than a minute.
The site states that each new registrant will get $50k in poker chips. I actually got a couple of hundred dollars more! Of course it's not real, but gives you a good pile of cash to try out the free games.
Playing The Games
We can only talk about poker for now, so my experience so far....
The interface isn't one I'd call high tech, and seems to have some fairly basic graphics.
It played well though, with the usual waits for other players slowing some hands down. That's the same on pretty much all sites though except for the 'fast poker' variants.
If you're a beginner the software offers the same prompts you'll see on other sites. No problem with knowing when it's your turn or what you can do or bet.
All in all a perfectly adequate look and feel.
I did notice that there are boxes where you can enter any problems you're having. That's a great idea on a new platform and will enable the operators to iron out any glitches.
Is It Legal?
Pokertribe is regulated by the Oklahoma Business Committee and Gaming Commission. The deal to provide games was signed off by Oklahoma Governor Mary Failin and supplemented by a US federal judge.
Free gaming is of course legal. We'll need to see how the real money operation works when it's released. Chances are it will work on the same basis as the free casino sweeps on Chumba.
Aside from the obvious ability to invite and play with friends (it is a social gaming site after all), and fill in stuff like personal profiles and add photos, there are some useful features.
For player protection there are options to set a time limit on how long you play, and set a spending limit too. Although the latter is not much use in free play (you'll get extra free chips if you run out) it can have some value when the real cash games come out.
For anyone new to poker there is a useful 'how to play' page, but it's basic and if you really want to learn how to play well then it'll pay to read some more in depth info on poker strategy.
In Flight Gaming
Now this is where it all gets interesting. The in-flight market has seen projections which places its value in the region of up to $150 million.
InSkycasino is the place to go to find out more, but essentially travelers on specific international flights and cruises will be able up play once a flight of two hours or more is into its journey and has reached cruising altitude.
On the flight - if you're of legal age - you'll be offered complimentary Wi-Fi in return for a minimum $25 deposit which opens up the opportunity for real money games.
Your $25 gets you access to the full games list which can be played via your own device - smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
It's easy to see the scale of the market here. 2016 alone is expected to see over 3.5 billion passengers take to the skies, with the majority of those travellers outside the US.
Pokertribe and InSkyCasino will be getting access to 180 million of those international flight passengers and look sure to cash in on the opportunity.
Outside of the US there will be many people that haven't heard of the Iowa Tribe. That's likely to change in a big way, with the tribe's HQ in Perkins, Oklahoma ready to stake its claim to a prime position on the social casino gaming map.
Free casino games and poker with real money prize option, plus an inflight casino games solution that could while away those tedious hours in the air.