If it’s not obvious by now, well, it should be — mobile is huge. Year over year the mobile market is growing, and is poised to overtake desktop usage by 2014. So you need to hop on the wagon if you haven’t already.
But what about playing poker online?
That’s no problem now. More and more poker operators are having mobile versions of their software created. So it’s now possible to play online poker from your Android and iOS (Apple) phone and tablet, and in some (rarer) cases your Blackberry and Windows devices, too.
Below are our top picks for where to play on your mobile device. And further below you can read up on some facts about playing poker from your mobile device.
7 Facts About Mobile Poker Sites
1. No US Mobile Poker Sites Exist
Unfortunately, there aren’t any poker sites that accept both US players and offer a mobile version of their software.
If I had to guess why that is, it’d be that most sites that cater to the US market just aren’t big enough to justify having a mobile app, much less the cost to create and maintain it.
However, I don’t expect US players to go without forever. The Merge Network is certainly big enough to have an app. And there will be online poker in the US in the near future, at least on an intrastate level, if not eventually on a national (federal) level.
2. Mobile Poker is Safe
Playing poker from your phone is safe. In fact, many poker sites go to extra trouble to make sure their players’ information is kept confidential. PokerStars, for example, doesn’t let you handle your banking from the main app, nor do they let you create an account from your phone. The banking needs to be done via a separate web app or from a desktop. Creating an account needs to be done via a desktop, too. PokerStars doesn’t allow players to save their passwords to their phone either.
Keep in mind that’s on top of the poker sites using secured, encrypted, connections.
Once you do your part you should only further secure your connection. What can you do? Well, you can place a lock on your phone so that your apps cannot be accessed. You can also use a RSA token — a device that generates new numbers that you need to input as a secondary (required) password. You should also be playing on secure connections only, too.
3. Real Money Apps Should Be Free
Poker sites make their money by charging rake — a small fee per (every) hand or tournament played. There’s no reason for them to charge as much as $5 for an app that is (likely) going to make them more money. I mention this so that if you see an app for sale (that is for real money poker), that you pass on it, and find a poker room that is not going to nickel and dime you.
4. Fake Money Apps Are Not
However, that doesn’t apply to fake money apps — not all of them at least.
I don’t have exact numbers, but I’d say that about half the apps you come across in your brand’s marketplace will be paid apps. You’ll need to pay .99-4.99 for the app. With these apps you can play poker against the computer, against players around the world and keep track of your poker prowess through leaderboards and the like. Many of the paid apps are ad-free, too, with the exception of the occasional ad for a new game or version.
Now the other half of apps (or more) will be free. Keep in mind, however, that free apps from the marketplace will usually be infested with ads since the developer of the app isn’t making money up front by selling it.
5. Playing Mobile Poker Can Cost You
Despite the free app (for real money poker), playing on your mobile phone or tablet can cost you money.
One way is through data charges. If you’re not playing on a free Wi-Fi connections than you’re playing on a 3 or 4G connection. That costs you money. So that’s something you’ll want to be aware and keep track of so you’re not getting any surprise bills the next month. I (obviously) suggest sticking to free (and secured) Wi-Fi connections whenever possible.
Another way that mobile poker can cost you is through simple mistakes. Playing on your mobile is much different than playing on your desktop or laptop computer. The buttons are smaller and harder to press (accurately), so it can be very easy to press the wrong button if you have sausage fingers. So you’ll want to be very careful — maybe even practice on free money games before making the plunge to real money poker.
6. Getting Started is Easy
It’s very easy to get started playing poker on your phone or tablet.
What you need to do is this:
- Visit the poker site. Then go to their mobile page.
- Find their download button. This will either download the app, or take you to the marketplace to download the app.
Some poker sites will ask you to enter your phone number, brand of phone, location, etc and then they will send their download to your phone. Either way, it should only take a few minutes to get started, assuming you already have an account created.
7. Mobile Poker is Different Than Desktop Poker
I mentioned this above, but I wanted to make it very clear. Mobile poker is different than playing from your desktop. Everything is much smaller, so buttons are hard to press, text is hard to read and so on. You’ll want to be careful in pressing buttons and making bets to ensure that you don’t fold good hands and go all in with bad ones.