Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I play real money poker on my smart-phone/mobile in the US?
A. You can, but you may have problems. Not many poker apps will allow you to play poker within the borders of the US. Some apps will use geo-location techniques or your router's ip address in order to pin-point your current geographical location. If you are within the US, then they will not allow you to play.
Some states do allow you to play at regulated poker rooms. At the time of writing, the states that allow you to do this are New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. You will probably need to download a specific app from a poker room in order to play while physically located in an approved jurisdiction.
Some poker rooms do very definitely allow you to play real money poker via your smart-phone or tablet even if you are a US-based player. The leaders in this field are Carbon Poker and Bovada Poker, but you might also like to check out Americas Cardroom, Full Flush Poker and Lock Poker.
Q. Is online poker legal in the US?
A. Online poker in the United States is one hundred percent legal. Unfortunately, using a US-based financial institution to fund your poker room account is illegal – although the onus is on the financial institution not to allow you to transfer funds to your poker room account, and not on you to not do it. I f you can find a way of depositing and withdrawing funds from your casino account without involving a US-based financial institution, then you are all set.
Q. What is the difference between web apps and native poker apps?
A. Web apps involve a temporary download that runs as a program within your web browser. A native poker app is one you have to download and install to your device. Many native poker apps are simply stripped-down web browsers themselves. The better native apps are dedicated poker-playing applications. Web apps are usually written with Adobe Flash (which causes issues for iOS and Android owners) or more commonly, HTML5. Such is the suitability of HTML5 for creating poker-playing apps, more and more poker rooms are using browser-based HTML5 apps as opposed to native poker apps. This is actually the more convenient option for the mobile poker player, as it doesn't involve a permanent download.
Q. Can I compete in poker tournaments from smartphones and tablets?
A. That depends upon the poker room you choose to register with. ALL mobile poker rooms will offer Texas Hold'em ring games. The number of poker rooms that have begun to offer at least Sit & Go's via their mobile apps have really increased over recent years, and many as well will allow you to take part in scheduled tournaments.
If you are going to play in a Sit & Go or scheduled tournament via a mobile device, make sure you have the time to fully complete the event, and that your connection is pretty stable. There's nothing worse than leading a tournament with an impressive chip total to only then be kicked off the leader board due to connectivity issues.
Q. Are fast-fold poker games available?
A. Again, that depends upon the poker room you choose. Smartphones and tablets are ideal to use to play fast-fold poker on, as you get to play a much higher number of hands during the time you have that's available to play.
Plenty of poker rooms allow you to play fast-fold poker via your smart-phone or tablet. Some poker rooms to check out include Rush Poker from Full Tilt Poker, Zoom Poker from PokerStars, Snap Poker from 888poker, and the US-friendly Zone Poker from Bovada/Bodog poker.
Q. Do any mobile poker sites accept Bitcoin?
A. Just in case you don't know, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer crypto-currency that works just like cash. You can send Bitcoins to pay for services, and receive Bitcoins in return for services rendered. All this is done without the need for the intervention by financial organisations such as banks (US-based players take note!).
Currently, only a few mobile poker sites accept Bitcoin. These include Switch Poker, Nitrogen, BetCoin and Bovada. The latter is currently the only mobile Bitcoin poker site that accepts players from within the US.
Q. Which poker variants are available on mobile devices?
A. At the risk of sounding like a scratched CD, that depends upon the poker room you are playing at. If you simply like to play Texas Hold'em poker, then congratulations – you have nothing to worry about. A few sites (such as Bovada) will offer Omaha, but as the table display with Omaha can get a little fussy, very few mobile poker clients bother with it. If you want to play Draw, Stud, Razz, Badugi or HORSE via your smart-phone or tablet, then you are more than likely to be completely out of luck.
Q. Is multi-tabling possible on iPhone or Android?
A. Currently, yes - but only at the biggest poker rooms. Even the best smartphones lack the processing power to cope with multi-tabling, and many poker rooms are not willing to invest in the coding expertise needed to develop a workable app that's capable of multi-tabling.
If you want to multi-table, then you will need to take your pick from the mobile poker apps offered by PokerStars, 888poker or Party Poker.
Q. Can I just play for fun also?
A. You should be able to and with no problems. Most mobile poker apps will grant you access to both play money tables and real money tables. If you intend to mostly play for play money, then you should check out the details about a mobile poker app before you sign up for the associated poker room, and then download and install the software if you are pleased with what you discover.
Q. Why can't I find any real-money poker apps at Google Play?
A. Google made the decision to pull any gambling apps that use real money from their store in 2013, which means that any poker app for Android now has to be sourced from elsewhere, or downloaded and install via an apk (Android package) file. Please be aware that it is perfectly legal to do this.
At the same time as Google made the decision to ban real money gambling apps, Apple made the same switch but in the opposite direction. A change to their T&Cs in August 2013 saw them allow real money poker apps to be hosted at the App Store, as long as the app was provided free of charge and that it could only be used in jurisdictions in which legalised and regulated online poker playing was okay.
Q. Can I choose which table to play at?
A. You certainly can! Most apps will allow you to browse available tables and select where you want to sit (if a seat is spare). Some apps feature a 'Quick Seat' options where you can set parameters that suit your playing preferences, and the app will automatically find you a suitable seat.
Q. Which mobile poker sites have the softest competition?
A. If you are looking for poker fish to nibble, then it is always best to stick to the bigger rooms (within reason) with the most traffic. Terminal Poker, 888poker and Lucky Flop are good sites to find soft players, but you should avoid Poker Stars. If you are US-based then Americas Cardroom and BetOnline are good places for soft opposition. Any iPoker site is also good for fishing at micro limits.