Mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and iPads are fast taking over from PCs and Laptops as the way we access the web. This has also started to be true for online poker games, with a significant number of players using mobile devices to enjoy the games. There are two main ways you can access poker from your mobile, via an app which you download – or through an in-browser game. Both have their pros and cons, and your location plus the device you use will both impact the poker sites which are available for you to play on.
You will find a list of devices below, with a short summary of the mobile poker apps available for them and a link to a page with more detailed information. Below this you will find an overview of the pros and cons of using apps or non-download games.
Android Phones and Tablets: These are the most popular mobile devices by a long way, with some 80% of the total market worldwide (less in the US where Apple is more popular). Most of the major poker sites have a downloadable app for Android devices, offering tournaments, Sit N Goes and Fast-Fold poker in addition to the real money cash games. US players do not currently have any sites offering a dedicated Android app, though can still use Android smartphones to access the games at US-friendly Carbon Poker. See our dedicated Poker for Android page for more detailed information.
iPhones and iPads: These very popular devices have a similar issue to for US players. While many of the global poker sites have dedicated apps, the offshore sites servicing the US at the moment do not – leaving you only with an in-browser cash game-only offering from Carbon Poker or the browser games of Bovada for players with the larger screen iPad. Worldwide players get to choose between some great looking apps from the likes of PokerStars or 888 Poker. For more information on the choices available see our iPhone And iPad Poker Sites page.
Windows Phones: A minority percentage-wise, though still used by 10’s of millions of people worldwide –Windows Mobile has yet to generate enough interest from the poker room operators to get its own downloadable app. Support for both Flash and HTML5 mean that you do have a wide choice from the instant-play poker games around, this includes the US-friendly Carbon Poker. For more detailed information on this device see our Windows Mobile Poker article.
BlackBerry: This may have had some bad press recently, but you will still find Blackberry devices are very popular – and often among a wealthier and more business-minded demographic. While it is possible to find play money and social poker apps for these devices, there are no download real money poker apps yet. Once again this leaves the flash and HTML5 non-download games to enjoy. You can find out which ones are available for Blackberry users in this dedicated Poker For Blackberry page.
Dedicated apps sound appealing; however these do tie you into a single poker site. Browser games have compatibility issues, especially with Apple mobile devices, and need a stronger and steadier internet link to run the games. You also need to take into account the time spent downloading the initial app and keeping this up to date with constant upgrades. While browser poker fans can just log right in and be playing the latest games within a minute or so.
As you can see the debate about whether apps or browser games are best has no clear answer. In my experience individual players prefer one or the other and tailor their arguments to suit! My advice here is to try both types of play and see which one suits you best – you might even find that different games and different times call for switching from app to browser or vice versa.
PokerStars: For me, the giants of the poker world – PokerStars.com – have outdone everyone when it comes to their app. You can multi-table, choose from a massive range of cash games or tournaments and also access the super-fast Zoom Poker tables though this app. It looks great, is very smooth and stable and is available for both IOs and Android devices.
888 Poker: This is close runner up, with a very smart look and feel and those extra soft games which 888 Poker are famous for. In addition to their apps, 888 also have a browser version of their client – so this site enables you to compare and contrast the two different styles. This non-US site also offers their new players $8 free in tournament tokens and cash game buy-ins to check out the games
Mobile devices are getting more powerful and the internet connections which they use are getting stronger and more stable all the time. As we move forward I fully expect to see new generations of mobile poker games, hopefully including some brand new ideas and innovations.