Online Poker Downloads & Software
The popularity of online poker has increased tremendously over the last decade, largely due to Chris Moneymaker’s unlikely victory in the WSOP Main Event just a few years after the turn of the century. As playing poker on the Internet has become more commonplace, the number of online poker rooms has grown proportionately, giving more and more people the chance to play their favorite games.
Naturally, as the amount of online poker rooms has increased, different software has been developed so that rooms can differentiate themselves from one another. While many rooms enable visitors to play on their mobile devices and/or in their browsers without having to download anything, online poker rooms generally give people the option of downloading their poker clients to their computers to enhance their playing experiences.
What Makes Poker Software Good
What makes poker software good is a matter of opinion. Some players like the option to play on multiple tables at the same time using different colored decks, others are more concerned about being able to review their hand histories at will and still others will only sit down to play in rooms that have all of these features and more.
Integrity and Security
In general, there are certain features that you should expect a reputable online poker room to have built into their poker clients. The first things that you should look at before you set up an account at a given room or make a deposit is whether or not the integrity of the website’s software has been fully vetted by a trusted authority to ensure that it’s completely fair, and the measures the room takes to make sure that your personal information and financial transactions are secure at all times.
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, dedicates an entire page on its website to the discussion of game integrity and player security. The poker giant has had its shuffler, a random number generator, examined by Cigital, a world-renowned authority, to ensure that its games are fair. PokerStars also uses state-of-the art encryption technology to guarantee that players’ personal and banking information is kept private.
Other features that many players think make certain poker clients stand out from their competition include the following:
Mac, iOS and Android compatibility,
Features in PokerStars 7
When PokerStars introduced PokerStars 7 in August, 2014, the new software included a number of innovative features that can’t be found elsewhere, including a QuickSeat option, Favorites and Live Events tabs, an App Bar and a Chip Graph. If you use QuickSeat, you will immediately take a seat in a game that matches the criteria you identify, such as the desired number of players at the table and your preferred stakes.
The Favorites tab gives you the chance to maintain a record of the games and tourneys you play in and enjoy most often. By using this tab, you’ll be able to sidestep PokerStars’ lobby when you want to play in the games and tournaments you frequent the most.
The Live Events tab shows the course of satellites you’ll need to play through in order to win a seat in whatever live event you want to be a part of. You can use the Apps Bar to do things unrelated to poker when you play at PokerStars. The Chip Graph displays the number of chips each competitor in a tournament has and displays the number of chips in the average and biggest stacks throughout each event.
Of course, PokerStars 7 still has the customizable features that many players have gotten used to using. You can use Themes to change the background, deck and style of the table you’re playing on. You can also resize the tables you are playing at so you can see up to four of them at once on your computer screen. If you are playing on more than four tables simultaneously, you can cascade them and PokerStars’ will notify you audibly when it’s your turn to act at any one of them. You can even store your theme and layout preferences so you don’t have to recreate your custom playing environment every time you visit PokerStars.
How to Download and Install Poker Software
Online poker rooms typically make downloading and installing their software packages very easy to do. Depending on the speed of your Internet service, the entire process can take well under one minute to complete. At Carbon Poker, FTR’s top-rated online poker room that accepts US-based players, the download and installation process only takes about 33 seconds if you have a high speed Internet connection.
In most cases, you can begin the download process from a website’s home page or a page that is dedicated to showing you the steps involved with completing the software download and installation. Most of the buttons you’ll need to click to begin the download are labeled “Download” or “Download Now.”
After you click the button, a pop-up will appear asking you if the manufacturer of the software has your permission to make changes to your computer’s hard drive. Once you click the yes button, the download will start.
The installation wizard will have a separate page for each of these steps and a finish page to acknowledge the end of the installation process. You will need to get through these pages by clicking buttons in the lower right-hand corner on each of the wizard’s pages.
Once the installation is complete, the software will launch and you’ll be able to set up your account, make a deposit and start playing. If you have never played at the room before, you might want to try things out by playing with play money before transitioning to real money games and tournaments.
Your ability to download a given online poker room’s software is often determined by the device you are going to use to play cards. If you are going to play on a PC, you should not experience any problems downloading and installing a poker client from any room.
Unfortunately, if you plan to play on a Mac, you will only be able to play at rooms that have either a Mac-specific program or an instant play feature. Since not all online poker rooms offer one or both of these options, you may come across a few websites where you simply will not be able to play using a Mac.
Your options might be limited if you plan on using a mobile device to play poker online, at least for now. While more rooms are able to accommodate iOS users compared to Android devotees, an increasing number of Internet poker rooms are able to welcome players who use either type of device. But, it’s not uncommon to come across a room that is not prepared to host players who use iOS mobile devices or Androids.
As was referenced earlier, the banking options that are available to you after you have downloaded and installed a given poker room’s software should be evaluated thoroughly before you begin to play with actual money in the room. Some payment processors are only available to the residents of certain countries so make sure you can use the ones you want from your location.
Depending on the manner you choose to make a deposit, you might be charged a fee when you put money into your player account. It is not uncommon for credit card companies to assess a fee of 3 – 5 percent, for instance, every time you make a deposit. This means that you might have to pay $3.00 – $5.00 for each $100 you put into your account using a credit or debit card.
In addition to credit cards such as Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover, typical online poker rooms have other options you can use to make a deposit. These options often include eWallets such as Skrill and Neteller, wire and bank transfers, Western Union, echecks and paper checks.
Most processors will limit the amount you can put into your account in a single transaction and in a prescribed time period. Most rooms will only allow you to deposit up to certain amounts over the course of a day, week and month, too. The majority of online poker rooms will increase these thresholds for high rollers and those who are on the top tiers of their VIP programs.
The method you choose to fund your account and the policies and capabilities of the room where you play determine the length of time it takes for your deposits to appear in your account. Deposits made with a debit or credit card usually appear instantly or within mere minutes, for example, while account contributions made via paper check might take several weeks to process.
As it is with deposits, so it is with withdrawals when it comes to fees and availability, meaning certain processors will charge you when you take money out of your account and your location will determine which withdrawal options are available to you. Ordinarily, online poker rooms will limit the amount you can withdraw per transaction and over the course of a day, week and month. These limits might be raised if you are a high roller or in the upper echelons of the room’s VIP program.
In most circumstances, you will have to take a withdrawal using the same method you used to make a deposit. This means that if you used Neteller to make an account contribution, you’ll typically be required to use Neteller to get money out of your account.
Unlike with some deposits you make, no withdrawal you take from any online poker room will ever be instantly credited to your bank account. Even if you are able to take a withdrawal using a credit or debit card, for instance, it generally will take between 3 – 5 days for you to get your money. If you have achieved a high enough level in a room’s VIP program, the room will probably process your withdrawals noticeably faster than it does for those who have not yet reached the same VIP level.
Important Note: Some poker rooms such as Lock Poker have been heavily criticized in the past for taking exorbitant amounts of time to process withdrawals. This fact alone should emphasize the importance of researching how the room where you intend to play handles withdrawals and how long it takes for them to be issued before you download the room’s software, let alone make a deposit in your account. It does not matter how much you win if you can’t actually get your winnings, after all.
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