Whether you want to commit to a tournament knowing you can leave the house without leaving the table, or you simply want to dip in and out of individual games while you're on the move, a good mobile poker site can make all the difference.
Whether you want to commit to a tournament knowing you can leave the house without leaving the table, or you simply want to dip in and out of individual games while you're on the move, a good mobile poker site can make all the difference. When deciding on which mobile poker provider to use, you'll certainly want to know the key things to expect from the top mobile poker providers, and how to get the best out of your mobile poker experience.
Of the criteria to consider when deciding on a mobile poker provider, it seems the software and poker network behind the product is most crucial to experiencing a topnotch mobile poker experience. Along with the supplier, players should look to consider the poker variants on offer as well as the many game and tournament formats available.
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Some poker clients are developed and owned by the casinos themselves. Bwin.Party, for example, own partypoker and produce the poker software themselves. Others integrate customisable clients built by gaming software specialists like Playtech's iPoker Network.
Generally owner-produced poker sites are able to deliver unique customisations, although big name providers like Playtech are reliable experts in their field and allow poker sites to customise consoles and integrate their own loyalty schemes. They may also pool their players to ensure busy tables and big tournament prizes. So both have their benefits.
A key consideration is whether to use a mobile poker app or one that works with your mobile browser. Generally the apps are faster and more stable, which is great if you're relying on mobile data rather than wi-fi. The flip side is that they can take up a lot of space on your phone or tablet, so storage can become an issue. You may also want to test several providers to assess speed, stability and performance on your operating system.
The best mobile poker sites will offer a range of poker games for players to experiment with and explore, but most will be variants of three formats:
Texas Hold'em Poker | The most common game, in which players are dealt two "hole" cards and complete the hand with three of five community cards turned in three stages.
Omaha Poker | Like Hold 'em, but players are dealt four cards instead of two, and must use two in their final hand. You may also encounter Omaha Hi-Lo, in which players bet on two hands, a bit like Pai Gow Poker.
Stud Poker | Stud Poker has no community cards; instead, players have seven cards, dealt three face-up, two face-down, and betting progresses over five rounds in which two more cards each are dealt. You may also encounter Hi-Lo 7 Card Stud, which also splits the pot between two hands, and 5 Card Stud, in which players have just five cards.
Other popular poker games include Razz and Badugi poker variants, among others. Although poker game selection pales in comparison to casino game variety, most poker sites will at least offer a few topnotch variants players are sure to love.
As well as looking at the type of poker game available, it's wise to consider how it's been formatted for online gameplay. Core table types are:
Cash Games | These are tables at which games are constantly played by a changing group of players, who are free to cash out and leave at any time.
No Limit/Pot Limit | Cash Games will be divided in this way to allow for no betting limits, or bets limited to pre-defined increments and maximum caps.
Tournaments | Rules vary, but the most common are Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs), in which players have a fixed buy-in, and compete over a set number of games. The winner is the last player with chips left. Variations include "rebuys", in which knocked-out players can buy another stack of chips and re-enter.
Sit and Go's | These are short-form knock-out tournaments that function like MTTs but usually last less than an hour.
The best mobile poker providers will not only offer a range of formats, but include those games with both play money for beginners to practice with, and various table limits and tournament entry fees that cater for beginners and pros alike.
As well as variations in game rules and format, mobile poker sites will offer a range of different console functions to enhance your gameplay experience. Some offer a chat function so you can engage with other players at the table, others have auto-bet and check/fold automatic commands to speed up gameplay, and most will have visual and sound options to change the feel of the environment.
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