Back in the day poker sites that catered to Mac poker players were hit and miss. So you either had to setup an emulator, dual boot or play somewhere else.
Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Most poker sites have realized that their players play on Macs, too, and have offered solutions in one form or another. Below you’ll find more information about how to play poker on your Mac, how to find the best Mac poker sites and an explanation of the differences between the two most common options for Mac poker players — the download and instant play (browser) version.
How to Play Poker on Your Mac
Playing poker on your Mac isn’t hard to do. You will have 3, if not 4 methods to choose from. From best to worst (or easiest to hardest), take your pick from…
Downloads – Mac downloads are common now for poker sites, whereas a couple of years ago they weren’t. Mac downloads will be the equivalent to the Windows version and will install (the software) to your computer. You’ll have access to the full library of games, all the software features and updates.
Instant Play Games – Instant games are also known as browser, flash or java games. This software is not installed to your computer. Instead, you play the games from your browser. Few sites will have browser poker games if they offer a Mac download, and even fewer will have them regardless.
Emulator – Another option you have is to setup an emulator on your Mac. This will give you the ability to install and play Windows software and games to your computer. This shouldn’t be necessary at most poker sites since most poker sites will have a download or browser version.
Dual Boot – A dual boot system is having two different operating systems on one computer. The benefit to dual booting is that you can choose which operating system you want to use at start up. This is a more technical setup, and probably not the ideal option for most since it does take a little know how to setup, as well as take up additional space on your hard drive.
How to Find the Best Mac Poker Sites
Finding the best Mac poker site is easy enough. In fact, you could just find the best overall poker site regardless of your operating system. Most, if not all of the largest (and best) poker sites will have Mac compatible downloads.
Another way to find the best Mac poker sites is to use our toplist above. We handpick the sites, review them and then rank them. Just read the reviews for each, see which site fits your needs (games, stakes, software, banking, etc) the best and then sign-up.
The key to finding the best Mac poker site is to make sure the site you sign-up to is safe, their games are fair and they treat their players well. Secondly, you want to make sure they have the banking options you prefer to use and games, variations and stakes you like to play. That’s really all there is to it.
Difference (Pros/Cons) Between Downloads and Instant Play Games
Since the most common options you’ll find on Mac poker sites is the download or browser based version, and there might come a time when you have to choose between the two, I thought I’d explain the pros and cons of each below.
The biggest difference is that one is a download and the other is not. With the download you’ll have full access to the poker site’s library of games and will be able to enjoy all the features, layouts and graphics, whereas instant play games are kept to the most popular and the software graphics kept to a minimum.
So at first glance the download sounds like the better option.
However, if you only play a handful of games and could care less about the (small) differences in how the graphics look and function, the full Mac download might be too much (software) for you. Why download the software if you can play it from your browser instead, and save space?!?
Furthermore, downloading the software to your computer means that you can only play poker from that computer. This is unlike browser based games where you can play from any computer, so long as the game is available, you have an account and internet access.