How to Enjoy Online Poker Games on Linux Computers
People who use Linux are a great match with online poker. Tech savvy users have the mindset to do well at the tables. If you want to enjoy online poker on Linux devices, you have two choices. You can either use a Windows emulator such as WINE, or choose instant-play (browser) poker games instead.
This page covers what to look for to get the best from online poker from Linux-powered computers. Your main choice of site will depend on whether you are US-based or not. Here is what you will find on this page:
With no dedicated Linux poker clients to download, you’ll need a Windows emulator to get the full software package. The good news is that these are stable, and you’ll get access to the full list of cash games, tournaments and sit n goes.
Instant-play clients work in your browser window. While many work with Java or HTML5, some do still use Flash. While you’ll be able to play, the game-selection is often limited at instant-play poker sites. Sometimes you’ll only be able to play cash (including fast-fold) poker, while multi-tabling is often not possible. These games tend to be slower and are sometimes laggy.
If you are a serious player that wants to multi-table and access tournaments as well as cash games, the emulator route will allow this. If you are a recreational player happy with just 1 cash game table, the instant-play might be plenty good enough.
With almost every site available one way or another, choosing which to play at depends on the factors most important to you. Some players love big bonus deals, while others seek the easiest poker games. Some sites are small, while others are huge.
Your location – US or non-US – has a large influence on which sites are available. This is covered in my summaries of the different sites below.
Here are the ways in which Linux poker sites are different from each other:
You’ll find detailed information on all the main poker brands in the reviews section here at GambleOnline.co
If you live in the US, then you’ll find plenty of action at the offshore sites. They operate legally from Caribbean and Central American nations. The biggest of these, Bovada, is one of the world’s largest poker rooms. Here is a quick summary of what to expect at the 4 biggest US poker networks:
Bovada: This is a huge site and is unique in the way they run the games. This brand has been running a long time, they changed their name from Bodog in 2011 – and still share players with the Canadian Bodog and Ignition Poker.
Bovada have the biggest list of cash games and smaller buy-in tournaments that you will find at any US poker room. Their games are played anonymously, with no nicknames which can be tracked by 3rdparty software tools. Multi-tabling is also restricted, with 4 cash games only at once. This keeps the ratio of amateurs to pros in balance – making the Bovada games softer than you will find at other Linux poker sites.
SportsBetting Poker / BetOnline Poker:This pair of sites are part of the ‘Chico Poker Network’. This site is much smaller than Bovada, though the games are noticeably softer than at many other rooms. This is due to a large amount of cross-over traffic from the huge sportsbooks. The focus is on cash games at these sites – though the tournament schedule is starting to grow.
Winning Poker Network:This network includes sites like America’s Cardroom and Black Chip Poker. Their strength is the tournament schedule. This network has regular big prize events, including games with a $1 million guaranteed prize pools. Cash games and sit n goes tend to be tougher than at other sites. Grinders are incentivised with a number of promotions, making the ratio of experienced players to amateurs far from ideal.
InterTops Poker: This site is on the Horizon Poker Network. This is the smallest of the mainstream US poker sites and does not offer much beside lower to mid-sized cash games. You will find soft games here. This is due to cross-over traffic from their big casino and sports betting brands. This poker site is open to India players as well as those in Australia.
If you are based outside of the US, then you have a huge choice of poker brands. All offer downloads via your emulator, and many have good instant-play clients too. Here are the biggest options:
PokerStars / Full Tilt Poker: These sites share games and pool together players. They are the giant of online poker – with more games, variations and tournaments than any other site. You will find a lot of pro-grinders at the tables, even at the smallest buy-ins. Tournaments at PokerStars include the infamous ‘Sunday Million’. This site also holds the biggest online poker events.
Party Poker: This was one of the original real-money poker sites, and still ranks in the top 3 for traffic. Party have a lot of incentives for new and recreational players – making their games noticeably softer than those of their main rivals. As well as cash games, tournaments and sit n goes, you can play ‘SNG Hero’ games here. These have random prize pools, plus a bounty randomly placed on one player’s head!
888 Poker: You’ll find a good instant-play client as well as Windows download at 888. The software client is smart, and the game selection good. I find the mid-stakes games softer than at many rival sites. Micro-stakes attract a lot of ‘pro-grinders’ from lower GDP countries, making them somewhat tougher than average. Look out for the ‘Super XL-Series’ events, which feature a schedule of big buy-in tournaments.
Bet365 Poker: This site is part of the ‘iPoker Network’. You’ll find downloadable PlayTech software, and some soft poker games. iPoker is a pooled back-end, shared by many of the big UK bookmakers. This means there are always new players crossing over after making a bet. The number of events and promotions on this network has declined recently – though those easy poker games make up for this.
To get an edge at the tables, many players download poker tracking tools. These track your own stats – identifying unprofitable hands and situations. They also track hands played by opponents over multiple sessions. With knowledge of your opponent’s tendencies, you can adjust your own play to beat them.
Popular brands with ‘heads-up-displays’ and databases include Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker. Unfortunately, neither have a dedicated Linux Client, though you can download them via an emulator, and use them to improve your profits.
With Linux users being an ideal match for online poker, I’m surprised that no site has taken the initiative and created a dedicated Linux client.
All the same, with WINE or another emulator, you’ll have plenty of options. These include all the biggest poker rooms. Instant play is limited, though will suit casual players who enjoy one game at a time well.
With so many sites to choose from, you get to select the games which suit you best. For most recreational players, the sites with the easiest games are the target. If you take poker more seriously, then the ability to multi-table and use 3rdparty poker software tools might work best for you.