Zynga Poker

I joined Zynga Poker when the game underwent the transition from native iOS to Unity. I’ve learned great amount of workflow optimization and took on features big or small from conception to completion. There were features that was primarily driven by Product Managers and a few features that was driven by Designers. Here’s a few highlights.


Poker is a social game at its core.

Zynga Poker player has always been a social game. There was a company wide initiative to “embed” social features into in every game portfolio. Our squad was assigned to this initiative to expand on Poker’s current social aspect.

Through user insights, we understood player’s primary way of chatting is through the temporal table chat. Player expressed their wish to continue a chat session outside of the table play. Hence, we came up with this idea called “Social Hub” – a destination where players can connect.


Competition drives engagement and excitement. Scarcity, Exclusivity and Prestigious creates competition.

A League system was introduced to Poker to promote higher user engagement. We measured user engagement by the number of hands played and that usually painted an accurate picture of how well player engages with the game. Naturally, competitive players are driven to climb to the top because of exclusivity and the prestige status one could get by reaching the top. The higher the league, the more fierce the competition becomes and players who are highly engaged are much more likely to spend to remain in the competition.

Usually features begin with a simple question: As a user, what would I like to experience?

The product owner of Leagues used this approach to shape the parameters of the feature. Designers, product, PM and engineers gathered in a room and brainstormed on the stories and the corresponding design requirements.

I then study the design requirements and map out the keywords into columns, in attempt to group similar things together. By doing so, we effectively organized the feature into categories and framework that the user will interface with. These categories eventually became screens with elements derived from the columns.


Activate User Retentions through Goals & Rewards

Every game needs an objective. Without objectives, players will not be motivated to progress. Poker Challenges are designed to retain users by providing precisely tuned objectives (Challenges) for players to complete. Upon completion, players are rewarded for their efforts and are provided with a next set of Challenges.


Exclusive Status for the top payers!

Every casino has an exclusive VIP club. It’s an essential experience to be invited into the VIP club because of the contribution you made. The VIP Program in Zynga Poker provides additional purchasing perks and personalized customer support for Poker VIPs.


As the final step of the core loop, players can redeem their tickets they earned from Challenges into these “Gacha” machines – Bronze, Silver or Gold vaults. Each tier of vaults gives you chances of winning varying amount of chips or gold coins and other special items.


This feature is an peripheral feature to communicate with the players on our current events. The goal is to drive players to where the new things are and act as an information center.


A new brand partnership with WPT got us thinking to create this Tournament space as a destination. This destination houses WPT tournament game modes such as Spin & Win and Sit & Go. This feature provides variety for players who are looking for gameplay different than Hold’em.


The portal to our paycheck! The buypage demanded a much needed refresh to modern day. There were several complains that the images were too small to differentiate between packages. The buypage is a very sensitive screen to overhaul and many experiments were set up to test every aspect of the UI to drive conversion. 


Without visual guides, Zynga Poker would be visually inconsistent. Our team had made many efforts in unifying our visual language.