Mobile Poker for US Players

Even if you’re not heavily involved with poker, mobile poker or mobile anything, I think you’d have to be blind not to see how much mobile devices has grown over the last couple of years. They have changed the way we communicate, shop, perform tasks, work and play games.

Mobile gaming has grown right with it. To put this into perspective, there are 100+ million (mobile) gamers in the US. That accounts for nearly 1/3 of the population here in the states. The mobile gaming industry as a whole is expected to reach $54 billion by 2015. [1]

Crazy stats, right?! (There are lots more where those came from.). You can bet that poker sites have taken notice, too. And, as a result, have started to created apps for their poker software. It’s now starting to become a common option to download software to your computer or laptop, play from your browser or download an app to your phone or tablet. Within the next couple of years I would expect the majority of online poker, casino and sportsbetting sites to offer some form of mobile software.

With that in mind, what we wanted to do here is educate you a little bit on what’s out there now, what platforms that apps are being developed for, what games you can play and some other need to know details about playing poker from your mobile phone or tablet. We hope it helps.

Mobile Poker Apps by Device

Mobile Poker Platforms & Operating Systems

Here are the most common platforms and operating systems that poker rooms are developing mobile apps for. Each one links to a more in-depth page where we cover your options in more detail, show you where to play and explain how to get started.

Apple / iOS / iPad / iPhone – Known as the device that could (at one time) take down gaming giant Nintendo, the iPad and the iPhone are one of the most common devices that native poker apps are being developed for. iPad users will be able to enjoy real money holdem games on their near 10-inch screen, while new iphone 5 users can play on their lighter phone with a bigger screen (compared to the last gen iphone). Our guide will show you how.

Android – Along with the iOS, the Android is the most common operating system that poker sites develop native apps for. My guess is that is because Android is still the reigning king in the smartphone market, despite iOS usage increasing my 3.5 percent. [2] Our guide will show you how to play poker on your Android phone or tablet, as well as which sites are the best for mobile poker gaming.

Blackberry – Although not as common, it’s still possible to find poker apps and compatible sites for your Blackberry. Our Blackberry mobile poker guide will show you which poker sites are compatible with your blackberry phone or playbook tablet. That way you don’t feel left out in the cold like when you did when all your friends left you for iphones. Ohhh… burn!

Windows -  Like the Blackberry, you’re going to come across fewer sites that have native Windows apps. You might even have to resort to playing on your mobile device using an instant play casino, which plays from your browser using Flash, Java or HTML5. Either way, we’ll show you which poker sites are the best and give you a step-by-step guide to getting started.

Poker Games You Can Play on Your Phone and Tablets

One thing you’ll notice when playing online is that there are fewer options for what games you can play. So here’s a little insight into what’s out there.

  • Real Money Mobile Games? – This is hit or miss, and it all depends on the poker site and where they’re at in the development of their app. For example, Carbon Poker just released their mobile app a couple of months ago, and at least according to their website is only for play money. However, sites like PokerStars and Party Poker have real money (mobile) games.
  • Holdem is King – Most apps offer holdem only. Not omaha, stud or mixed games. Whether this changes in the future or not I would guess depends on the users and their requests. Cash games are the most common option, although you will find tournaments available, too.
  • Zoom / Rush Poker – I realize that Americans cannot play on PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker, but with PokerStars aggressive attempts to get into a legal US market, it’s possible that you will be able to soon. That means having access to Zoom / Rush Poker games. Right now you can only play them for free, assuming they let Americans download the app(s) to begin with.
  • Play Money Games – You should be able to find play money mobile games pretty much anywhere, so long as the poker site lets you download them.

The challenge right now is that mobile gambling is still in it’s infancy. So you’re not going to find nearly as many options as you would online from the poker sites’ downloadable software. That said, I believe that these additional options and features are on their way. Take Party Poker, for example – they still have features like quick seating, real/play money games, multiple languages, FastForward Poker and support for both phones and tablets. So I think it’s only a matter of time that US players will be able to enjoy these same features.

Mobile Gaming on the Rise, Despite Flaws

There are flaws to mobile gaming. Some are flaws that are just a consequence of where mobile is at currently in gaming, and others are flaws that are a byproduct of mobile in general.

In despite of that, mobile still continues to rise. Just look at these stats:

  • There are 211+ million mobile/social gamers in the USA.
  • One of the top games includes Zynga and Facebook Texas holdem poker. Both companies have been in the news in recent months/years regarding their interest in real money gambling. [3]
  • Mobile phone gaming stomps all other options, including PC/laptops, game consoles, tablets and hand-held devices at 33%. The closest is PC/laptops at 32%, while the others are in the teens.
  • Mobile internet usage is poised to overtake desktop usage by 2014. [4]
  • 61% of mobile phone owners use their devices for games.

So I have no doubt that mobile poker will continue to grow. And that’s in despite of the following flaws, of which I feel are the biggest thorns in our sides when compared to their desktop counterparts.

  • You can’t use additional software like odds calculators and hand trackers (like Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker).
  • You have fewer game options, although I expect this to change as time goes on.
  • Many sites aren’t developing native apps, but instead are using HTML5. While HTML5 works, it’s not ideal. [5]
  • You can’t multi-table.

Mobile poker is really for enthusiasts; people that want to play for fun, and have no concern for hourly rates or ROI. And if that’s you, then you can enjoy playing poker on the go, no matter where you are, regardless if you’re an American or not. And I would only expect mobile poker and your options to get better as time goes on.