Between the millions of tablets, smartphones and other devices that have hit the market in recent years, mobile poker sites were smart to adapt and make their services available to poker players on the go. Long gone are the days where playing poker meant having to chain yourself to the computer desk all day. If you don’t have a laptop but would like to hit the tables wherever you go, mobile poker is for you.
I did a good deal of research for this topic and noticed there is a lot of bad information about which poker sites actually have mobile functionality. There are a good number of “information” websites with flat out wrong information. They seem happy to send you to poker sites even if they don’t have mobile apps.
So, I did the firsthand research and verified that these are all truly mobile poker sites. You can visit any of these on your smartphone or tablet to either play the games on a mobile-friendly version of the website or download the app from your device’s app store. All you have to do is sign up for an account and get the app.
How Does Mobile Poker Work?
The best mobile poker sites take one of two approaches to deliver the games to your device. One method is to send you to a specially formatted section of their website that requires no download. All you do is sign in with your existing account and you’re ready to go.
Some sites in regulated markets even have apps in the official app store. If you go this route, you can save the app to your phone and then play as normal. Out of the two options, I found the actual apps to be more functional and easier to use. If you have a choice between the two, it’s best to just download the app.
You’ll notice from the beginning that everything is designed to make maximum use of the limited screen real estate found on mobile devices. Superfluous graphics are dropped in favor of larger card graphics and bigger buttons that are easier to tap. Some apps even support multi-tabling, but you probably won’t be able to manage as many tables at a time due to screen space limitations.
Most mobile apps are geared mostly towards cash games with support for tournaments lagging. Generally, it’s easier for people to come and go in cash games and that fits with the idea of using mobile apps to hit the games for a few minutes between errands. If you need to sit down and spend a few hours in a tournament, it’s best to just wait until you have access to your desktop computer.
Data and Security Concerns
It’s always best to use a WiFi connection whenever possible so you can minimize the risk of overextended your carrier’s data plan. If you do plan to play on your data plan, make sure you download the software first at home. The mobile app is always going to account for the largest percentage of your data usage.
Once you have the app on your phone, mobile poker doesn’t eat up data at too fast a rate. The graphics should be stored on your phone and the only information that needs to be exchanged is data related to which cards you have and the decisions being made by your opponents.
Also, it’s worth taking additional precautions if you plan on playing over a public WiFi hotspot such as what you find in airports and coffee shops. What I’ve always done is gotten a subscription to WiTopia to act as a secure tunnel between my mobile device and the public network. You can get a subscription to WiTopia for $5.99 per month with no contract or for $49.99 for a year.
The first mobile poker sites were so limited in functionality that it was impossible to manage your account or even make deposits. That has improved in recent years and now most apps give you full access to your account. You can initiate deposits and withdrawals through the mobile interface just as if you were on your computer.
It’s also possible to sign up for an account through the mobile interface. However, you’ll probably find it easier to visit the poker site on your desktop first and sign up for an account there. This makes it a little easier to type in your information, verify your e-mail address and everything else that goes into getting started.