Mobile internet access is a huge market. In fact, accessing the internet while on the go is poised to overtake fixed internet access, aka desktop computers, by 2014. In North America alone we've seen a 69% increase in mobile traffic from 2010 to 2012.
I can't help but to think that some of those users want to know how to play poker from their mobile device. Maybe that's just the poker player in me, but statistics do back this up, albeit slightly. Of all the time spent using apps, 43% is spent on gaming.
So because of the rising popularity of mobile access, gaming, and that more and more poker sites are adding mobile apps to their product line, we thought we'd provide you with some information on how to get started. Below you'll find a list of the major mobile brands, which link to pages covering playing online poker from them in more detail. Below that you will find our FAQ section where we answer the most commonly asked questions about playing mobile poker from your phone or tablet in the United States.
What Mobile Device Do You Own?
iPad / iPhone - This page covers the most commonly asked questions about how to play online poker using your iPad or iPhone. Learn what you need to get started, if you can play for real money, if there are options for US players and if there are any costs.
Blackberry - Learn the truth about playing online poker for real money from your Blackberry device. Also covered are alternative options such as free money apps and real money casinos.
Android - More poker sites have Android compatible apps than any other mobile operating system. Read this page to find out what US poker sites are available on the Android, what the costs are and alternate solutions to real money poker.
Windows - We cover the most common questions asked about playing poker on Windows phones and tablets. Find out what apps cost, if real money poker is possible, if US players can play poker from their devices and more.
Mobile Poker FAQs
Can US poker players play poker on their phone or tablets?
Absolutely. There are a number of poker themed apps on all the major operating systems. Using these apps you can play against the computer, against friends on your social media accounts or against random players all over the world.
Most poker apps are free, although you will come across apps that can cost anywhere from .99 to 2.99, on average. So it's a very affordable way to play some cards, without having to travel or organizing your own game.
Can you play poker for real money on your mobile device?
Yes, it is possible to play poker for real money on your mobile phone or tablet. Most of the major poker operators, such as PokerStars, Party Poker and 888 Poker, all offer apps for Android or iOS (Apple) devices. Not always both.
Unfortunately, there is not a poker site that accepts Americans that has a mobile app at this time. If you're from the US you'll have to play fake money poker or skip poker altogether and play casino games (for real money). There are casinos that accept US customers that have mobile apps.
Another potential solution is to use a remote desktop app. The game would run on your desktop, but you'd control it from your tablet. I have not heard of other players using this method, so I'm not sure how good an option this is.
How do I start playing poker on my phone or tablet?
It's very simple.
What you need to do is visit the site you want to play at. Then visit their mobile page and they should have a download link. All you need to do is click on the link, and they'll take you to the app store so that you can download the app.
In some cases there won't be an app. The poker room (or casino) will instead have specific games that you can download. In that case you'll enter your phone number, location, and if available, the choice of what game you want, and the poker site will send that to you.
Some sites will have QR codes, too. All you'll need to do is scan the code and the app will install.
If you don't have an account, you may have to create one (and make a deposit) from your computer. But if you do have an account you'll just log-in and play.
Is playing mobile poker safe?
Yes. Communication between your mobile device and the poker or casino operator is encrypted.
Many operators take security measures further than this. Some operators, like PokerStars, do not allow you to save your password to your phone. That way, if your phone is stolen, no one can log in. Other operators don't even allow you to handle your banking from your phone.
The rest is up to you. You want to make sure you choose a good password, change it often and use secured (wireless) networks.
Is playing poker on-the-go easy?
Definitely. I already explained the download process above. That should take you a matter of minutes to setup.
The game-play itself is another story. Your screen is only so big, so you might find that the tables are hard to see and the buttons are difficult to press. But for the majority of people I don't imagine that will be a problem.
So in general, yes, playing mobile poker is easy. But it will vary on a case-by-case basis.
How do you make a deposit from your phone or tablet?
It depends on the poker site.
Some sites will only allow deposits to be made from your desktop computer. Others will have additional web apps that enable you to manage your money from your mobile device. Few sites, if any, allow you to make deposits/withdrawals from the poker room's app itself.