Poker Sites with iPhone & iPad Poker Apps
What are the best iPhone / iPad poker apps?
Poker has come a long way since the early days of Windows-only downloads. You can now enjoy browser-based games and even find poker apps for iPhones and iPads. These are reserved for the biggest international brands – which have the development teams and number of players using Apple devices to make this worthwhile.
Best Online Poker Sites for iPhone / iPad
This page covers all you need to know to play poker for real money on devices running oSX. Here is what you will find:
- Compatibility: Practical steps to getting a poker game running on your iPhone or iPad.
- Pros and Cons: What are the benefits of mobile poker, and what drawbacks should you be aware of before you start?
- Apps or Instant-Play: Where you have a choice, which option should you go for?
- Limited US Poker Room Options: Players using iPhones or iPads have limited choices of offshore poker rooms with mobile-compatible games, you’ll find the main options here.
- International iPhone Poker Sites: Which of the giant international brands caters to Apple users the best?
- Apple Pay Poker Rooms: Which online poker rooms let you load your account with Apple Pay? This section also covers the alternatives.
Compatibility: Flash and iPhones / iPads Don’t Mix!
Many of the earliest browser-based online poker games used Adobe Flash as the base software. While this has come a long way since the earliest, laggy versions – it is still not compatible with Apple devices. This was a deliberate choice by the late Steve Jobs.
Fortunately, the best iPhone online poker sites have evolved. Many now use a mix of Java code and HTML5 to power their instant-play functionality. If you prefer an old Flash site, then you also have the option of installing the Chrome browser on your iPhone – along with a plugin to enable Flash.
Some of the earlier iPhone models are no longer capable of handling the poker room apps or instant play. If you have anything earlier than a 5S, then you will almost certainly need a hardware upgrade before you play poker for real money.
Pros and Cons of iPhone / iPad Poker
Today’s real money poker environment is very much optimised for desktops (preferably with multiple monitors). Multi-tabling, software tools and note taking all need space. When it comes to mobile poker – there are many options – the big question is whether poker is suited to this format.
Here are the pros and cons of iPhone / iPad poker:
- Play on the move: Whenever you have a moment, simply pop out your phone and have a quick session.
- Watch the TV: This might seem like a strange positive, though with an iPad you can enjoy poker games alongside your family in the evenings – with no need to shut yourself off, alone in a study.
- Enjoy the fastest games: Games like Zone Poker / Zoom are entertaining variants, which are perfect for mobile devices.
- One Game at a Time: A few sites allow extra tables, though these are not easy to manage on a smaller screen. Mostly, you’ll need to play just 1 game at a time.
- Disconnection Risk: If you are out and about, there is a risk you’ll lose connection, and your pocket aces will be automatically folded!
- Limited Choice: Many poker rooms only offer a sub-set of their game selection on apps or instant-play clients.
Should You Download an iPhone / iPad Poker App?
Where poker sites have downloadable apps, I’d recommend you take it. This is a much better overall experience, and in the case of PokerStars, will allow you to multi-table. The big advantage is that you download the graphics and animations onto your phone – so you don’t need to initialize these from the network each time you play.
Apps usually come direct from the poker site’s website – rather than via the app store. If you go to the site with your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be directed to download (where available).
Unfortunately, apps are the exception and not the rule. Many more poker sites (including the big offshore US brands) use instant play and do not have apps at all. Most smaller rooms can’t justify the expense, and others believe that the browser-based gaming is sufficient. While this may be true in some cases, I feel there is a lot of work to be done before many smaller sites are truly compatible with mobile Apple devices.
US Poker Sites Which Work on iPhones / iPads
There are not too many choices, and no download apps for iPhones or iPads. You will find games to enjoy in your browser. I see these are extensions of the main sites to enjoy while you are on the move – and not replacements for the old download clients.
BetOnline.ag / Sportsbetting Poker: These sites have an instant play client which works for Apple devices. You can get started by scanning a QR code on the main ‘mobile poker’ page. This will give you a choice of the (cash game heavy) game selection at these sites. While up to 4 tables can be played at once, this software may not be stable enough (yet) to cope with multi-tabling.
Bovada: Bovada also offer an instant play client which will work on iPhones (4 and up) and compatible iPads. This will allow you to reach the ‘Zone Poker’ games, which is the biggest US fast-fold poker format – or the regular cash game tables. Tournaments are not available via Instant Play at Bovada.
International Poker Sites Which Are iPhone / iPad Compatible
When you check out the biggest sites, you’ll find apps as well as instant play clients that work with Apple devices. Only the top brands have apps. You will find these for PokerStars, 888 Poker and Bet365. All require download and installation – and will let you reach a lot of different game formats – multi-tabling up to 4 tables in the case of PokerStars or Bet365.
As with the US sites, Instant-play clients have their limitations for iPhone and iPad users. You’ll find these work (using HTML5 instead of Flash). At the same time the play can involve lags, and multi-tabling is difficult.
Can I Play Real Money Poker on my iPhone Using Apple Pay?
At the moment, only one poker brand – 888 Poker – accept Apple Pay for deposits. This makes the process of installing the app and depositing to play for real money completely within the Apple infrastructure. At the time of writing this option is only available in selected countries. I hope to see more sites (especially those which have already developed iPhone apps) to join this list in the near future.
What Other Deposit Methods Can I use at iPhone or iPad Poker Sites?
While we wait for Apple Pay to take off as a mainstream poker deposit option, there are plenty of established options. The biggest factor in what is available to you is your location. US players are restricted by laws covering banking transactions with offshore poker rooms – and Canadians are affected by these laws too. Outside of the US, things are very easy – it is more a case of which deposit and withdrawal methods suit you the best here.
Popular US Deposit Methods for iPhone Poker Rooms:
- Credit Card: Even with the banking restrictions, cards which can make international payments are the single most common deposit method. Visa and MasterCard are the most frequently accepted brands, with Amex sometimes taken.
- Prepaid Visa: If your card gets declined, a prepaid Visa will often work (you need to contact your iPad / iPhone poker room to ask which brands to buy).
- Bitcoin: Fast becoming the go-to deposit method for US players, this is easy to set up and completely secure. The sites work in dollars, so you’ll only need to hold the Bitcoin for as long as it takes to deposit or withdraw.
- Person to Person Transfers: This option uses established international wiring companies, for example MoneyGram. You send cash to a representative of the iPhone poker room.
- Bank Wires: These are sometimes possible, though generally reserved for high roller players.
More Options for International Players
- PayPal: The biggest iPhone poker sites like Bet365 and 888 will accept PayPal deposits.
- Alternative eWallets: There are many brands providing similar services to PayPal which will let you deposit via your mobile device. These include Trustly, Skrill and Neteller.
- Local Bank Transfers: A popular choice, where banking is restricted (for example in Canada) you can use gateway services like iDebit.
- Vouchers and Virtual Cards: Prepaid services in these categories include PaySafeCard, EcoPayz and Click2Pay.
Wrapping Up: Your iPhone / iPad Poker Options
As you will see above, International players currently have a lot bigger choice of poker sites to enjoy on iPhones and iPads. The biggest brands are the place to head for downloadable apps with full functionality.
At the moment the offshore US sites have instant-play options, which will work on your Apple devices. These are limited in game selection, and in the ability to effectively multi-table. The best of these is the Bovada instant-play option – which features their speedy ‘Zone Poker’ game.
Watch this space – I hope to be brining US readers news on new iPhone / iPad poker developments in the not too distant future.