If you want to play real money poker on a smartphone, the iPhone is one of the best options available. The most recent iPhone almost always ranks as one of the most powerful phones on the market, and this allows these devices to incorporate features that other smartphone poker apps cannot. You can also rest assured that any poker app you download through iTunes has been vetted thoroughly by Apple and is free of malware or viruses. It's an important consideration when you start playing on a variety of websites.
Today, most of the big poker sites and online casinos with poker rooms offer an iPhone app. There are a few unique things to know about playing on a phone. The best venues out there will make it possible, easy and safe to play your game of choice on an iPhone.
The Player's Guide to iPhone Poker
This guide will cover what type of phone you need in order to run today's poker apps, as well as the many legal issues that impact players in certain countries. We'll also talk about the small differences in poker play when playing on a phone, options for video poker on the iPhone, and some apps you might consider purchasing to sharpen up your game.
What Type of iPhone Do You Need to Play Poker?
Whether it's table poker or video poker, the widest range of options available are with the most recent iPhone model and its iOS operating system.
You don't necessarily need the latest and greatest iPhone to play, however. Each poker site and casino will have their own requirements, but at present if you have an iPhone 4 or newer—that is running iOS 7 or newer—you should be able to run just about any poker app available. Of course, minimum system and OS requirements gradually change over time, so check the gaming site's FAQ or system requirements page for its current standards.
Regardless of the type of iPhone you have, it's easy and free to update your operating system at any time through iTunes. However, be aware that most iPhone models eventually lose formal technical support from Apple and at that point will not be able to install the latest operating system version. For example, the iPhone 3 series is still technically capable of running most apps, but because you can't update it to anything newer than iOS 6.1, it won't support the application.
Is Real Money Poker Play Legal on the iPhone?
Apple allows real money poker apps on iTunes in territories where online gambling is legal. However, you will not be able to download these apps from areas where online wagering is illegal.
Apple's rules differ about this in countries where wagering is only legal in certain states or territories. You might be required to physically be in the legal territory to even download the app, let alone play. More commonly, the app will be available throughout the country, but Apple will check your location when you try to run it. If you are not in a legal territory, two things will happen; it will either block it or divert you to a “play money” version—where you play with fake currency.
Does Playing Poker on an iPhone Change Your Play Style?
There isn't really any major change to basic poker strategy when playing on an iPhone, but veteran players will find it much tougher to play different games simultaneously or “multi-table.” Not all of the poker apps make it possible to multi-table, and those that do generally limit players to a few tables at most.
With limited memory available, phones will also have a harder time handling multiple apps running multiple tables at once, even with the superior power of a recent iPhone. If you want to take a shot at mobile multi-tabling, a newer iPhone is definitely one of the best possible choices for it, but it still does not have the capabilities of a desktop or laptop.
Because of this limitation, you will see fewer professionals participating in mobile games. Pros also shy away from smartphone apps due to the increased difficulty of running the preferred “HUD” software—various programs that are used to track hands, winnings, and other stats. This means the competition is generally easier on your iPhone, which you can certainly use to your advantage.
Video Poker on the iPhone
Looking for video poker? You'll find numerous options on the iPhone, and the games are no different than those you will find on tablets or computers. Just be aware that most sites separate their video poker and table poker into two different apps. You'll find video poker with the main casino game app, while table poker usually has its own unique app.
iPhone Poker is Alive and Well
Online casinos and poker rooms are fully vested and committed to their support of the iPhone, even though legal constraints prevent extensive play in the United States. Each new release of the iPhone continues to be massively popular, so there's good reason for them to partner with the company. Just be sure to check up on the casino's technical requirements in order to confirm that you device and operating system are new enough to pass muster.
It's a little more complicated to play table poker at the professional level on an iPhone, but it's an excellent source for more casual games—and you'll find plenty of great bonus offers waiting for you when you get there.