Online Poker For Macs
Online Mac Poker Playing Options
I remember when a poker site with a software download for Macs was a rarity. These days, the options for Mac owners are varied. You can download software from most major poker brands. You can also enjoy instant-play poker via your web browser.
Just because there are a lot of options does not mean they are all good. This page covers not only the practical ways of accessing online poker from a Mac, the pros and cons of different sites are also discussed. Here is what you will find on this page:
- 3 Poker Software Options:Downloads, instant-play and apps are covered here.
- Mac Poker Options for US Players:The major offshore poker rooms are covered, with the Mac options for each and a summary of the pros and cons.
- International Poker Brands Mac Options:The giants of the online poker industry have multiple options for Mac users.
- Poker Software Tools for Macs:If you want a Heads-up-Display or odds calculator, you will find options here.
- What to Look For:How to tell if a poker site has soft games, great bonuses and a wide choice of poker formats.
- Trusted Brands:Which Mac sites can you trust, and what are the different payment options.
List of the Top Rated Mac Poker Sites
3 Ways to Access Mac Poker Sites
Here are the primary options for accessing online poker games:
- Software Downloads:If you want access to all the game formats including tournaments, then a software download is the way to go. Most sites offer these packages, which include a full cashier and all the graphics. The games are smoother, multi-tabling is possible and you won’t miss out on games not offered via instant play.
- Instant-Play:This uses in-browser code to let you access the games. Most work using HTML5, though some sites still use Flash. In case of compatibility issues, you can use the Chrome browser instead of Safari. Multi-tabling is more difficult via instant-play. You might also find your choices restricted. Some sites only have cash games or fast-fold poker formats via your browser.
- Apps:Primarily for iPhones and iPads, apps range from fully featured (PokerStars, www.Bet365.com) to very basic. Some of the advantages of full software downloads repeat here – with the graphics held locally you will not need to wait for games to initialize for long. Again, many sites have only a subset of their poker formats available.
It is also possible to use a windows emulator and download the regular Windows software. I’ll mention this as an aside, as there are plenty of excellent Mac poker options without going through the trouble of partitioning your hard drive.
Mac Poker Options for US Players
There are 3 major US poker networks – and a number of smaller sites. Here are the Mac options for each:
Bovada: This is the biggest US site by a long way. They combine players with Ignition Poker, and the Canadian online poker site, Bodog. You’ll find a ‘recreational player model’ in use. This keeps a great balance between recreational and pro players – making Bovada one of the easiest poker sites online.
There are two options for accessing Bovada on your Mac. I recommend the full download. This gives you access to all the games – and allows multi-tabling. While the software is dark and ‘flat’ it is fast and easy to get around. There are features including rabbit hunting (seeing what cards would have hit after you folded).
Your other option is the limited instant-play client. Here you can access cash games and ‘Zone Poker’ (a fast-fold variant), though not tournaments.
Pros and Cons of Bovada for Macs:
- Biggest US site by a huge margin
- Recreational player model keeps the games profitable
- Easy to clear bonuses
- Software is plain (though fully functional)
- Anonymous play is not for everyone
- Instant play client has a limited game selection
Chico Poker Network – SportsBetting Poker and BetOnline: I’ll take the two big Chico network sites together, since they share both owners and players. These sites are primarily sports betting brands. This means a lot of players you meet at the tables cross over after making a bet – keeping the games soft. Again, the poker software is basic. There is a downloadable Mac client. This site does feature an instant-play option though this is both limited and buggy with poor player feedback.
Pros and Cons of the Chico Poker Network for Macs:
- Easy games, thanks to lots of sports betting traffic
- Bad beat jackpot, plus regular promotions
- Novel poker formats including ‘Windfall Poker’ (lottery Sit N Goes)
- Very basic instant-play client
- Limited tournament selection, especially on weekdays
- Retro feel to the downloadable Mac software client
Winning Poker Network – America’s Cardroom and Black Chip Poker:The final big US network is pushing their tournament selection hard. This is the only place you can find regular $1 million guaranteed events. America’s Cardroom debuted a Mac download at the end of 2015. It took a while for the bugs to be ironed out, though is now stable. While this is not the softest poker network, there are plenty of options and leader board contests for high-volume players.
Pros and Cons of the Winning Poker Network for Macs:
- Biggest tournament schedule of any US friendly site
- Progressive leader board promos for both cash games and Sit n Goes
- Online Super Series poker events
- Encourages multi-tabling, making the games somewhat tougher
- Poor instant-play client
- Lack of major action outside of the smallest stakes
Mac Poker Options for International Players
When it comes to the big brands serving players around the world, the number of Mac options expands. Many of these sites have apps, instant-play and Mac downloads. Your choice of which to play at will be less about the access options – and more about where to find the most profitable games.
Check the reviews here at GambleOnline.co for the latest views on where you will find the best poker bonuses – and biggest sources of profit.
While the big brands all have fully Mac compatible downloads and Instant play games, there are some which go one step further, producing dedicated iOS apps too. For the best app gaming, I recommend you check out the three giant sites below:
- 888 Poker
- Bet365 Poker
Poker Software Tools for Macs
There are many 3rdparty software tools which give serious players an edge in poker games. The most popular are ‘Head Up Display’ tools. They combine keeping track of your own hands with collecting and displaying stats on opponents.
Of the two most popular HUDs only ‘Poker Tracker’ is Mac compatible. Their main rival, Holdem Manager only works with Windows computers. With the functionality close between the two, Poker Tracker is the HUD of choice for those using Macs.
Odds calculators that you use when analysing sessions (not while playing) are also popular. You can choose from web-based calculators – or download mac-compatible tools including Poker Co-Pilot or Poker Cruncher.
If you are looking for an ICM calculator to help with prize pool equity decisions in tournaments (including Sit N Goes), then you’ll find the best available took works online. This is ICMIZER, which gets around compatibility issues by being 100% browser-based.
What to Look for in a Mac Poker Room?
In the past, with fewer choices, it was a matter of which poker rooms supported Mac users. These days most poker sites have options. This means that your final choice should be based on reasons other than the availability of software.
Here is a selection of key things to think about before you make your final choice:
- Soft / Easy Poker Games:Some sites attract a lot of ‘pro grinders’. These players multi-table, making the ratio of winning players to amateurs difficult to profit from. Choosing sites with a lot of cross-over traffic from sports betting or casino games will help you find profitable games. Sites which encourage multi-tabling should be avoided where possible. You can find out more on this important topic in this guide to the Easiest Poker Sites.
- Choice of Games:There are a lot of different poker formats to enjoy these days. Most sites offer cash games and tournaments. If you want to experience fast-fold poker, lottery Sit N Goes, different poker formats like draw and stud, or have the biggest selection of tournament variations (rebuys, turbos and bounties), then you need to compare the poker rooms before you jump in.
- Bonuses and Incentives:Big headline bonus offers sometimes hide terms and conditions which make these hard to benefit from. Make sure you find a fair and fast bonus deal which works for the size of your bankroll. Even more important are the ongoing promotions and loyalty rewards. Your welcome bonus will be gone quickly, those ongoing rewards (if you choose wisely) could be propping up your bankroll for many years to come.
Trusted Mac Poker Sites
However good the game selection and bonus offers are – they are worthless without trust that you can get paid. Good poker sites protect their reputation by treating players fairly and offering the fastest cash outs.
I like to see 5+ years of service, and a lack of major scandals before I deposit at any poker room. If your site is licensed, their deal tested, and they display a detailed responsible gambling policy, those are also good signs.
Wrap Up: Mac Poker has Come a Long Way
Since the first Mac Poker sites more than a decade ago, the options for Apple devices have become mainstream. Not all poker sites have Mac downloads, though those that don’t often have instant-play as an alternative.
With so many options around, you get to choose the best site for your game preferences and bankroll.