No Download poker, In-Browser poker, Flash poker … whatever the name you know it by or are looking for, the premise is the same.
Instead of 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 phone - no download required.
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As you might guess, playing on poker 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.
Major Advantages of Free No Download Poker
- Instant access to poker games wherever you are
- No bulky software to slow down your computer
- Streamlined table functions for easy and fast play
- Unlimited free poker practice with no download needed ever
- All you need is a wireless connection and smartphone/tablet
- Access to all of the same poker games as the full download version
In fact, many players actually prefer the stripped down, easy-to-use simplicity of no download poker and find themselves logging in to their phone to play much more often without waiting to get home and access the full poker software.
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 sites.
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 poker 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, Party Poker – 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 or iPad, virtually every online poker site has a no-download, browser-only option you can use and it makes getting a poker 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" poker site could also be right for you.
What’s In-Browser Poker 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 - you're not actually downloading any software to your on computer.
If you have the latest version of your browser installed (updates are frequently rolled out so you'll need to update it from time to time) 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 Big Advantages of No Download Poker?
The most obvious advantage of using no-download poker 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 poker account and get playing. Game play is fast and smooth and, if you're playing on just one table, there are great options like Fast Forward Poker (aka Zoom, Speed Poker etc..), where you're immediately dealt a new hand at a new table whenever you fold.
All of the major poker sites have a fast-fold poker option which is tailor made for no download poker play.
Speed is another useful advantage of no download poker. 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.
Any Downsides to No Download Poker?
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 for virtually any type of poker game play you're looking for.
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!
Free Poker Practice - No Download
If you're on the fence about online poker - or just how serious you think you might take the game - no download poker is the perfect entry point to try out a poker site's offerings and see if you want to progress further down the online poker path.
Every real-money poker site has plenty of free poker games (aka play-money) you can try out before ever making a deposit. Playing the free games via the no-download version of the software is super fast and easy but gives you a very good understanding of how the controls work, how fast the game play is etc so you're well prepared before you ever put a dime online.
You can also try out several different types of poker (multi-table tournaments, sit-and-gos, cash games, turbos, Zoom etc) to see which you prefer. Once you've put a bunch of practice hands in on the no download client and refined your strategy for each game it's much, much easier to jump into the real-money games on either the full software or still on the no-download version.
Is No Download Poker Safe?
Absolutely. For starters, if you're just using the no-download poker client to play free games for poker practice, you have nothing at risk anyway. But if you are playing for real money, via your mobile phone or tablet, no download poker is still a very, very safe option.
All of the proper security protocols (ssl encryption, etc) are in place so making a deposit or withdrawal to your account is protected just like any online transaction would be. Once you've logged out of your poker account no record or trace is left on the browser either unless you've chosen to auto-save your log-in details on your device.
If you're using a public computer you'll want to make sure your log in details aren't automatically saved and likewise if you're playing on your phone on public wi-fi, make sure you keep your password hidden from any prying eyes.
Free Poker Games No Download
Want to start playing poker, right now, with no download required? If you're looking for an entirely free playing experience to get some practice in right away, try out the Appeak Poker app via your Facebook account before downloading:
If you'd like to create an account at a major online poker site but just dabble in the play-money games at first, that's also a great option. If you choose the no-download option you'll still need to create an account, though, but it requires only a minimal amount of information like your name and email account.
Check out our full poker site reviews to find out more about their free poker games and access their top-of-the-line no download poker:
No Download Poker USA
If you're a poker player in the USA you know the last few years haven't exactly gone as hoped for the progression of legal online poker. Just 3 states - Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware - currently have fully legalizes and accessible online poker with a 4th (Pennsylvania) now on their heels.
If you live in (or are visiting) those 3 states and are of age (21), you can now play legal online poker as you can in most places in the world and play no download poker, too, on the platforms of 888poker, WSOP poker and a few others.
The player pools have also recently been merged, meaning you can play against fellow online players in all 3 states simultaneously now. There's still a long way to go to a fully accessible, nationwide online poker player in the USA, but it's a start.
If you don't live in one of those states we can recommend Appeak Poker as a great free poker app you can play without download via Facebook.