“No Download” poker, “In-Browser” poker, Flash poker … whatever the name you know it by or are looking for, the premise is the same.
Rather than downloading a full suite of online poker software and all its bells and whistles, this is simply poker played online either in a standard web browser or on a mobile app.
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As you might guess, playing on software that doesn’t require a download is usually not as full-featured as something you install on a powerful home computer.
Some of the more obvious things that might be missing from the software, depending on the poker site you play at, are fancy 3D graphics, elaborate table stats or the ability to run tracking software to analyze your play.
If you’re a hardcore grinder or committed poker enthusiast, these are obviously things you’ll likely want to have in your poker client.
But if you’re just an average poker hobbyist, trying to get a few hands in at home, on the train or in a hotel somewhere, “no-download” poker or in-browser poker software is more than enough to give you a great poker experience.
In fact, many players actually prefer the stripped down, easy-to-use simplicity of the no download software and find themselves logging in to their phone to play much more often without waiting to get home and access the full product.
The overall quality of no download poker software has also dramatically improved over time and several poker rooms now offer no-download software that plays really, really well.
It's usually required that you have certain add-ons installed - such as Java, Microsoft Silverlight or Flash - in order to get started, but once these are installed you can play instantly at lots of poker rooms.
No Download Poker Sites: Why No Download Poker?
There are a few reasons why you might prefer to play no-download online poker without installing any software. If you’re a Linux or Mac user, for example, it could be your only option for the poker site you’re trying to access.
Back in the early days of online poker it was actually fairly difficult to find a fully downloadable Mac client but, as sales of Mac products went through the roof, most of the big sites quickly got to work at building out their Apple offering.
All of the big sites – PokerStars, 888poker, PartyPoker – all have fully downloadable Mac clients now that are virtually indistinguishable, save a few minor interface differences, from their Windows-based counterparts.
If you use a Mac or a Mac product like an iPhone, virtually every online poker site has an in-browser option you can use and it makes getting a game in wherever you are pretty easy.
You’ll also see no downgrade in terms of stability and security or general playability and functionality. All of the sites listed here offer premium software with high security and a reasonable amount of functionality without putting any noticeable strain on your computer or bandwidth.
If you're also using a public computer or just have limited bandwidth at your disposal - a "no-download" alternative could also be right for you.
What’s In-Browser Software?
Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome ... whenever you surf the Internet or look up something online, you’re using an Internet “browser.”
In-browser poker simply means you’re accessing the poker game only via your browser, not downloading any software to your on computer.
If you have the latest version of your browser installed you shouldn’t have any difficulties playing on any poker site that offers an in-browser option.
Whatever browser you use, you'll find most no-download poker software looks good, plays smoothly and is compatible with most devices.
What are the Biggest Advantages?
The obvious advantage is mobility. Since you’re not playing on the full software you’re obviously not tied to the hardware you would have used to download it.
On the road, on the move, at a hotel, visiting a friend … wherever you are you can just log in to your account and get playing.
Speed is another useful advantage. The interface for no-download poker is necessarily stripped down and clean so both loading and playing on it doesn’t require a lot of CPU power.
Another nice aspect of no-download poker software is you can play on any public computer, too. Just be sure to use caution when entering your log-in details and be sure to wipe out any saved passwords.
No-download poker just doesn’t offer as many features as a downloaded poker client.As we mentioned above, that means you likely won’t get any fancy graphics, tracking add-ons, etc.
If you’re a recreational poker player, though, the truth is you’ll likely never notice a difference. If you’re not a multi-tabling, HUD-using stats monster, no-download poker will do
What About Multi-Tabling and Tournaments?
It’s not the best tool to use to play a bunch of tables at a time but with most no-download sites it is at least possible - although some no-download options are better than others.
If you want to play all the biggest Sunday tournaments online, no-download software will do you just fine. Cash games, jackpot sit & gos, multi-table tournaments … all the best ongoing formats of online poker are at your disposal.
Just don’t try to play too many at once!