Price for Building a Poker Game

Jourdan Chohan

12 Apr, 2021


15 min read

poker game

Every buyer looks to fulfill two broad important aspects – the purpose (what a product does for you) and the user experience (how that product performs). Asking which aspect comes first is akin to the chicken and egg dilemma. So, as a buyer, you usually tend to give both aspects equal importance. For example, you will want a car that is efficient, reliable, and gets you to work and back daily, but you will also want it to be a smooth (and even stylish) ride.

You’ll often look at the what and how of your purchase when you’re out shopping; from a wallet or phone right up to a car, a yacht, or a costly groundbreaking app – you will want to have the best product fulfilling its purpose, and its value, looks, and feel. However, expensive products like luxury cars and classy game applications require much more than just window shopping and casual price quotes. You need to dig deeper to understand more about what you want to purchase.

In the same breath, when you want to learn more about your desired product such as the horse power, you don’t really need to know the combustion process and other related intricacies. Similarly, if you want to build an app, you don’t need to get into the programming integrals although you will need to discuss the platforms and technologies required to build your game.

Knowing what comprises good purpose and valuable user experience of a game is of much help, just like you’d want to know how reliable your yacht’s engine is and how sleek it appears out there on those crystal blue waters.

Coming to the most intimate utilities; you can never ignore the importance of user experience, especially when it comes to handheld products, like mobile experiences. They represent a new lifestyle. Moreover, when it comes to the gaming experience, aesthetic appeal is woven into the fabric of functionality. So, there can never be any compromise when it comes to how your gaming app should look and feel. That’s the how. But there’s also the other aspect – the what. While the how and what are connected, the latter can be expansive.

To build a mobile game like Poker, there’s some extensive programming required. Amid many factors, there are several contingencies that must play out accurately in order to provide users with an exquisite poker experience. But before we get into all those factors that eventually decide the cost of your game, let’s review some numbers that point to the demand for games like poker.

  • The worldwide gaming market is projected to reach a value of $295 billion by 2026. In addition, mobile gaming, as a subcategory, is really booming as well; it is expected to reach $153 billion by the year 2027 – after all, who would not be entertained by playing online games.
  • But what really takes the cake is the news that KamaGames, the largest European social Poker operator, reported its 2020 revenue at $125.1 million, a 38 percent rise. This is the sixth consecutive year of sales growth, with an increased rate of 1.5 times the social casino market’s average of 24.4 percent and twice the 18 percent rate of growth of mobile games. So, whether or not you really like Poker enough to just want to build a mobile game, you can easily see how viable it would be to have a poker app that could help you rake in a lot of revenue.

Given the recent boost in poker app usage, it’s clear that you can capitalize on that by building an app that attracts users. With some level of certainty, you could say that they’d be looking for a seamless functionality and appealing aesthetics. But underlying that is a whole range of features that gives your poker app its skeletal structure.

A few of the most common features found in popular poker games range from real-time game history, multi-lingual communication, and a configurable betting suite, to multi-currency options, social media integration, and in-app purchases. There is indeed much more that can be added, and these features mentioned here are just to give you an idea of what can be included.

By no means are you restricted to including features you need for your poker game. You can be creative in your pursuit, but whatever you include must be acceptable for your targeted users i.e., mobile poker users. And remember, a great many of them are already familiar with using poker games. Some of them will be fans of those games, and will judge your game based on their current experiences. However, there is always immense room to win over those users.

You can make your game equally or more competitive in terms of game play, features and anything else that could work. Some of you might consider opting for an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) before completely releasing your game. This is usually recommended for a sample of a few hundred users just to test the waters, to see how your game performs with its proposed features.

The exercise can give you some idea of how your game would perform when released to the masses under a full-blown marketing strategy. Whether you want to go for an MVP or a complete poker game is a matter of your preference and confidence in what your vision is. If you have a lot of new features to include that have not been seen on other mobile poker games, an MVP might be a good idea.

Project scope

Regardless of which route you choose for building your app, in terms of the cost, all input comes down to the number of hours that will be spent building your features, as well as the cost of the platforms and tools you leverage. In other words, the wider and deeper the scope of building your game app, the higher the cost will be.

You’d most likely already know this, especially if you have some idea of software projects. You’d also know that an in-house team can perform better and even be more efficient when managed well. This is especially the case if you have hired top-notch, experienced resources.

Moreover, if you have any materials ready, such as text or designs to some extent, that can be used for your project, which could help trim down some of the effort. If you are highly involved in getting your project developed, it’s likely that you will prepare some content or designs if you have a Scope of Work prepared.


Your budget must at least account for the entirety of your development costs so that you can launch your game. You will need to set aside funds for your game’s maintenance, which is inevitable, and you need to be open to the idea of scaling. With that said, your game infrastructure must be geared toward further development when you need to or have to expand or alter things.

Timeline and Delivery

The size of your team will influence the speed at which your game is developed. To double the speed of development, you may need almost twice as many hands on deck. Some services offer you express delivery, and that means hiring a larger team to get the job done quicker. The decision is for you to take.

Up until this point, all the factors laid down here include all those that are under your control or demand, to a great extent. There are others that are beyond your control, and these are influenced by market conditions, such as the resources available for hire and the technologies you need to leverage.

A mixture of these factors account for a market pricing that varies from location to location and may change over time.

While market pricing is indeed a significant factor in itself, the size and stature of your game development partner plays a big role. Here, your development partner is the service you hire and entrust your project to. The brand name of such a partner counts because of the value it is known for. These are game developers that are renowned for their quality of service including being congruent with the promises and delivery – they say what they mean, and they mean what they say.

Consider the Type of Team You Need

While location impacts pricing since operational costs are reliant on this factor, you’ll feel tempted to work with a local team that allows communication in person. However, experience has taught us that this is not always worth the additional cost of app development – it’s better to cut your expenses and therefore, your losses, too.

As an alternative to working with a local team, businesses are getting used to the idea that working remotely is not just an increasing trend; it is a need because its merits were realized years ago. Prior to the pandemic, some companies allowed their employees to work from home for up to 2 days a week. In the post pandemic world, remote working has grown, and it’s now as they say, the new normal.

For some, this was an overnight change, and was viewed with skepticism, but out of seeming adversity there emerged new opportunities and new benefits – companies started experiencing growth through remote hiring. And one of the critical advantages that comes along with remotely located employees is overlapping time zones.

Getting the Help You Need

Hiring your own team is tough work, but partnering with or hiring the services of an experienced and knowledgeable development company has value for you. You can lower the overall cost of game development because that expertise means you will not waste time on things an inexperienced developer would. Second tier developers are usually still figuring out certain technicalities and they end up wasting time when things don’t work a certain way.

An experienced professional knows precisely what route to take and how many hours will be consumed with a certain task. Moreover, they will have a reputation that they have built, and if you do some research or belong to the software development business circles, you will be able to gauge their reputation based on the information available to you.

Like any other serious individual or company desirous of building a poker game, you will do your homework and all the research you need before reaching out to some of the leading game developers out there. That’s the best path to take.

Now, within the expertise and reputation that some of the best game developers enjoy, their charges are not just driven by their reputation; there are contributing factors that count too, such as frameworks and programming languages that usually cost you more.

Digging more deeply into the elevated costs that are associated with certain platforms, there is also the element of expert scarcity. This means that specialists for working on your type of requirement are not easily found. This automatically increases the cost of development.

Team Constituents

The team you have will define your success. This is why you need to be careful with who all you select for your project.

Freelance Developers

If you opt for a freelancer, you may have the lowest custom poker game development cost quotation, but you can consider yourself lucky if you land a reliable freelancer. There isn’t much you can do if they make a mistake, let alone detect one is made in the first place.

A Game Development Team

So, the alternative is to hire a game development company that will have the expertise to ensure that your development needs are fulfilled professionally. This is similar to outsourcing the development part of your project.

Game Development and Consulting Agencies

In addition to development, there is much more to a game development project, and it’s all the elements together that can make your game successful. Starting with the planning stage, you may initiate with your vision. You may present your vision to a development and consulting agency so that you can work with them and come up with the best solution.

On the face of it, you may already know what you need for your poker game app, but that’s not all. You need to be sure of what all that game entails. When you have a team working with you from the ground up, you have a good opportunity to make sure you nail down every possible aspect from the beginning to the end for a successful game.

Any good Game development and consulting agency will surely revisit your concept. Such an agency will take your vision and scrutinize it through a rigorous workshop, and work with you to produce a robust idea with detailed planning for your design and development strategy with a project scope, timeline, and budget.

A complex game like poker requires the services of:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2 Backend Developer
  • 3 or 4 Game Developers
  • 1 UI/UX Designer
  • 1 Graphic Artist
  • 1 Animator
  • 1 DevOps Engineer
  • 1 QA Engineer

Each member plays a key role in making the game outstanding. Here is a summary of the responsibilities that each member holds alongside their hourly cost:


Hourly Cost



Project Manager

Hourly Cost



Ensures effective communication between the client and the development team. Ensures deadlines are met and helps avoid misconduct with the client.


Backend Developer

Hourly Cost



Is responsible for the right communication between the database, server, and application. Takes care of the app’s flawless functionality


Game Developer

Hourly Cost



Writes the codes and integrates the mobile app with the data source. Is responsible for fixing bugs in the app.


UI/UX Designer

Hourly Cost



Takes care of the interface. Ensures that the app’s look and feel resonate with the brand persona. Responsible for app optimization.


Graphic Artist

Hourly Cost



Handles creation of all the graphical assets and illustrations in the game like characters, environments etc.



Hourly Cost



Handles creation of all the graphical animations within the game.


QA Engineer

Hourly Cost



Ensures that the app meets all requirements, controls design and code quality, and runs flawlessly.

Usually, before you get into any form of app or game development, you’d need to have a few questions put before the agency you’re considering (concerning your desired game) that would help to determine your cost. However, you already know the answers to the fundamental questions, such as:

Your business idea: Poker gaming

Your business model: Incentivized

Your users: Existing poker game users and new users

Beyond this, you’ll get into the meat of the problem, mainly concerning your poker game functions. This is where it will be a lot like the other games, but you will want to ensure that it gets an edge over your competitors. The good thing is that most people like to try something new, and it’s quite likely that most users of other poker games will want to try your game.

You don’t need to worry if you build something robust. But this is where you need to ensure that you have the right infrastructure, and only a solid game development partner will be able to help you achieve this. And with the infrastructure, you also need to have the details for your poker game clearly defined. There will be a lot of calculations required, and the key here is to make sure these are accurately done. This adds to the how in your game’s performance.

What functions does your game need?

You need to have the activities and game progression clear. The progression paths or storyline are most important to consider along with the need for third-party functions. There are various details and considerations such as possible hardware integration, paired applications, data sources, etc. All these add up.

What platform should you choose for the best audience traction?

You have the Android and iOS platforms, which means that you can choose to build two different versions of your poker game. However, the more common approach is to have a cross-platform solution or a mobile-optimized web app.

Most developers know that native apps give you the best performance allowing you to leverage all the available features. This allows a better performance and enhances the user experience (the how).

You can also go for the more affordable cross-platform app solution, which allows you to leverage multiple platforms.

Mobile development platform choice

As you can well imagine, selecting the best platform for building your poker game requires careful thought.

And you do have more options apart from Android and iOS. You could opt for developing a native game app for every platform for the best performance and user experience, or you could develop just one game, and use most of that code for building cross-platform.

Logically, for each of these decisions, you’d have a different costing.

If you opt for developing two different native apps, that clearly means more specialized work, which means almost double the cost if not more, because; you will need two different teams. However, there are advantages with this choice.

Cross-platform poker games can be built quicker than native ones, and are cost effective.

A key point to take note of is that Android and iOS users differ considerably in terms of their choices, preferences, in-game spending habits, and geographical distribution. If you have a fair idea of who your users are, where they are located, and the devices they use, you will be able to make a more informed choice.

Each platform has its own requirements; thus, the costs vary. Usually, designing for both, iOS and Android platforms doubles the costs. Don’t jump into both platforms, unless your target audience is active on iOS and Android devices. Below is the cost for building on each platform.





Apple iOS




The operating system for Apple products such as the iPhone or iPad


Google Android




The operating system for Android brands like Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and others


Apple iOS & Google Android




For Apple and Android brands

Choosing the Right Technologies

The what and how of your poker game will inevitably depend on the technologies you choose along with the platforms you decide on using for your poker game. While there is no rule of thumb for this selection, this is where the role of game consulting agencies adds immense value.

Even if you have had a game developed before, and you would have that experience of your game’s performance, that would still be no match for the insight an experienced game development agency can offer. A lot of the decisions in this regard would depend on details like the types of actions required in your game. This means that the game play must be thoroughly understood so that the right technologies are chosen to match the user experience (the how) you intend to deliver.

Cost estimation methods

This really is the crux of the matter. There are generally two ways you can opt from for estimating your poker game development price: you have the fixed price method, and the time and material method.

Normally, people think that the fixed price method is suitable way to set your costs, believing that the figure won’t change. However, it tends to remain truly fixed only if you have securely locked your project scope with all the features and details. In most cases, requirements may change along the way, and the price is then open to inevitable variation. But this depends the individual governing the project scope and execution.

Alternatively, when you opt for a time and material model for your pricing, the focus is instead on hourly rates. The length of time needed to build your app comes into the spotlight obviously.

If you don’t have a detailed project scope worked out yet, this model may suit you. It would suit you if you have already worked out the core features for your poker game, but you realize there are alterations required.

There are some strategic steps to taking your dream Poker game app from concept to reality. Keep in mind that creating a Poker game app–or any app for that matter–is a highly complex, usually expensive, and potentially a puzzling process.

Steps in Poker game app development

A quick rundown of the various stages in the game app development process will give you an idea of the project’s scope, and the types of developers required. These are only outlines, and they can differ with the type of game.

  • First and foremost, a game concept must be created. A visualizer can construct this based on your dream idea. It may be simple or complex.
  • The developers need to advise you regarding gameplay options, for example, 2D side-to-side all the way to interactive first or third-person.
  • The next phase is typically a storyboard being put together by a creative designer. Images in the game, as well as level scenery and other graphic elements, are produced by artistic hands.
  • Other information, such as rewards, game procedural and level details, and how the player interacts with the game, must be sorted out.
  • Following that, the game must be programmed, designed, and tested repeatedly; elements such as music and other embellishments are added. The finished product is ready after this time-consuming procedure is completed.

It will take a team of developers who are highly qualified in the related technologies and have a passion for game creation and design–this will not be a simple job. But do not worry; the advice provided below will walk you through the process of successfully recruiting a Poker game app development team for a reasonable price.

Technology options

You must have a basic understanding of the different technology types that a Poker game can be built on, as well as the platform on which it will operate. These criteria will assist you in deciding how to align the game development company’s technological skills with your Poker game idea.

Game engines, also known as game frameworks, are used to create gaming apps; your Poker game will also be created on one. Unity and Unreal are the most widely used game engines, so you will probably have to choose between the two. Another consideration is whether you want your software to be React Native (iOS or Android), web-based, or hybrid. A further option for gaming apps is whether to use augmented reality or virtual reality technology. You should also be aware of the mobile game development trends of 2021.

It is typically a good idea to confer about your idea with potential game development companies so that they can educate you on the different options available, taking into account the technicalities listed above. On your game app development path, formulating a plan of action based on applicable technology options and available technological skills would be extremely beneficial.

Essential skills to look for in the game app developer team

  • Mastery of at least two game engines, ideally Unity and Unreal
  • Expertise in programming languages such as C++, C#, JavaScript, Python, Swift (for iOS), and Kotlin (for Android)
  • Games with a strong mix of rendering performance, creativity, and innovation in their repertoire; Poker games are a must-have for this list. This will give you a clear idea of their abilities
  • Practical experience with cutting-edge gaming technologies such as virtual reality
  • Graphic design, 2D and 3D modeling skills
  • UI/UX, graphic arts, animation, and audio experts on board
  • Experience with APIs and the ability to publish applications on the appropriate app store
  • Cognizance of KISS and SOLID standards in software designing
  • Have extensive testing and debugging capability
  • Be able to deliver a one-stop solution for the whole Poker game development exercise

Now, the big question: Will it cost an arm and a leg?

Normally, developing a game app is an expensive and time-consuming process, but how much would it cost to create a Poker game app?

This question, regrettably, does not have a simple answer. To fully determine the total cost of developing a Poker game app (or any app for that matter), you must first analyze the various components. However, to provide an idea of what type of price you could end up with for a top-notch game, it’s worth looking at the costs of building some well-known apps.

Ballpark costs for game development

Smartphone apps that offer a complex user interface or require significant backend, are priced somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000.

Uber, the ride-sharing giant, started with initial an funding of $1.5 Million. And a marketplace app, like nTrust or Task Rabbit can cost you anywhere between $100,000 and $250,000. It’s only fair to assume that a poker game involves more complexities than Uber, nTrust or Task Rabbit. That being said, only when there is a complete breakdown of your requirements and choices of technicalities will you be able to obtain an estimated cost.

It could take a minimum of 1000 hours to create a game that includes basic functionalities and graphics but also depends on several factors. The costs could also vary depending on where the developers are located, and cross-platform poker game prices can vary tremendously depending on the agency you look to partner with, often starting from $300,000 to higher. That’s a huge figure, but it guarantees an impeccable experience.

An experienced game developer will always know what to do to reach the end goal of a project, such as developing a poker game. Based on the scope, a development agency will delve into the details of each task to calculate the precise input required and the number of hours consumed for each. Next, the sum of these hours is presented. Finally, an hourly rate is calculated with these hours, and that is your development cost.

Remember, the cost they charge per hour reflects their value. Much like the cost of manufacturing a car of your choice, which accounts for the cost of the material and making each part, the manufacturer’s brand name plays a huge part in the hourly cost. Its value influences this in terms of expertise, which includes efficiency, meeting deadlines, the workable solutions it is known to deliver, etc. And it is this expertise that delivers that exceptional what and how you and your game users may look for in your poker game.


Jourdan Chohan

Jourdan Chohan is the Vice President of Product Strategy and Client Engagement at Cubix. He oversees various teams at Cubix with his focus on improving processes to enhance the client on-boarding and engagement process. He also helps to formulate strategies to help with new partnerships, affiliations, business development, and product development. Part of his role also focuses on implementing new tools, technologies, strategies, and processes to constantly optimize the development side of things to ensure a successful launch for all internal and consumer products.

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