It used to be that if you wanted to play online poker, you generally wanted a PC. That’s changed dramatically over the last 5-6 years and these days most online poker sites run on almost every platform you can throw at them.
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Thanks to the relatively low requirements of online poker software it’s actually very easy to get the sites up and running on your favorite MacBook or iMac.
The biggest poker sites in the world devote considerable resources to creating native versions of poker software that you can download and install directly on a Mac.
Fortunately poker sites are not reliant on video cards, like modern video games, so Apple computers are perfectly capable of giving you lightning-fast performance.
Once you’ve downloaded the software you’ll have access to pretty much the exact same experience as PC users and you’ll even be competing against them on the network.
Are Mac Devices Good for Playing Online Poker?
Online poker sites don’t require high-end video cards so your experience should be pretty much identical to playing on a PC.
Poker has always been a fantastic option for any old computer device that doesn’t run much all.
Perhaps the only downside for playing online poker on Apple-based computers is that there are a few obscure poker sites that are still PC only. Of course if you’re really committed to playing those sites you could just dual boot Windows, which we’ll get to later.
What Are the Requirements for Mac Poker?
Requirements will vary a bit from site to site but we can generalize a bit. For most online poker sites you’ll just need an Intel-based Mac. Apple switched to Intel chips in 2006. Any computer released since then should be fine in terms of processor.
For RAM you are probably going to need at least 512mb, which is a minuscule amount by today’s standards. Finally you’ll need about 50-100mb in hard drive space, which is again very small considering most smart phones give you at least 16gb these days.
You’ll notice that any Mac released since 2006 pretty much fulfills those requirements so as long as your computer isn’t over 10 years old you should be just fine.
What’s Browser-Based Software?
Browser-based software is what it sounds like: It’s an online poker client that runs entirely in a Web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
Browser poker software is generally less robust than full download versions but it does have a few benefits.
One perk is that you won’t be installing anything so it doesn’t take any hard drive space. Another is that it can truly be installed on any device that’s capable of running a browser.
Browser sites can be useful for Apple fans because they can be used by any computer that can run a browser. That also includes Linux if you want to get really fancy.
It’s generally not as secure, however, so we tend to recommend downloadable poker sites.
Differences Between Windows and OSX Poker
Generally, poker sites on Windows and OSX are pretty much identical.
You may find a few icons in different places but pretty much all the OSX versions are just ports of the original Windows version, which means everything should be exactly the same.
In fact the software is so similar that you should be able to transition pretty effortlessly from Windows if you’ve ever played an online poker site on a PC.
What if I Have a Really Old Mac?
Like we’ve been saying, you don’t really need a brand-new computer to run online poker software. Any laptop made in the last 10 years should be able to run online poker software just fine.
Considering most people tend to upgrade every 5-6 years you should be just fine. Just beware of laptops with the old PowerPC architecture (pre-2006). Most online poker software was developed just for Intel processors.
Of course if your Mac is really old you could look into an online poker site that offers in-browser play.
Some Options for Windows-Only Sites
What if your favorite little poker site that no one else knows about doesn’t offer support for OSX? That’s OK.
A little known fact about Apple computers is that since switching to Intel-based chips in 2006 you can actually dual-boot Windows. That means you can actually install Windows on your Mac.
Of course you’ll need some hard drive space and a copy of Windows but you can absolutely get Windows running on your Mac.
Once you’ve installed Windows you’ll have access to pretty much every online poker site ever invented.
Be warned, however, that you will have to re-start your computer every time you want to play on a Windows-based site.
What About iPhones and iPads?
Many online poker sites offer software for iPhones and iPads these days but it may depend on whether the App store in your region allows real-money poker apps.
There are a number of regions around the globe that don’t allow online poker sites on the iTunes store.
If your region does allow online poker sites then it’s incredibly easy to get them up and running on your mobile device.
The mobile software has been optimized so that you won’t have access to the complete desktop version but it should be much easier to get into a game right away.