The Online Poker Players Complete Guide To Playing On Macs
This article covers a range of Mac computers, including MacBooks and PowerBooks as well as desktops. I’ll mention iPads and iPhones along the way (after all, we all have more than one device nowadays), though you’ll find more detail on those in separate guides here at High Tech Gambling.
Online poker has come a long way since the days when you had to search for sites with a specific Mac download. All of the big sites now have this, though there are huge differences between the quality of the software available and of course the quality of the games. Add to this different pace of innovation across the sites, and you’ll see why it makes sense to have a detailed guide!
You’ll find the information on this page in 3 parts. First a guide to the leading Mac poker sites for US-based players, focusing on the legal offshore poker sites. Next, players around the world are covered, with a discussion on many of the big brand sites available to you. Third, I’ll cover the different games, with a focus on the latest innovations at the bottom of this page.
To skip the US sites and jump to the Global ones – use this link
Mac Online Poker Sites For US Players
There are positive signs that in-State regulated sites will spread from their current 3 States. The reality at the moment is that these poker sites are tiny compared to the mid-sized rooms allowing US players from out in the Caribbean.
The offshore poker sites are legal in their own jurisdictions, and are enjoyed by tens of thousands of US players every month. The biggest and best of these is called Bovada, and is part of the Bodog brand, with a long standing reputation covering sports betting and casino games as well as poker.
With a full Mac download and very smart software, this site are ideal for recreational players. If you are an aspiring ‘pro grinder’ who wants to eek out a living multi-tabling, then this is probably not the right site for you.
Bovada has a strict ‘Recreational Player Model’. This means that they ban software tools which pro grinders use to get reads, they restrict players to 4 tables at one time – and best of all, you’ll play anonymously at the tables. Anonymous play stops tracking services which highlight fish, again a popular way for pro grinders to prey on new players – taking their bankrolls before they have time to learn the ropes.
All this adds up to an entertaining site, where old school poker strategy prevails.
You’ll find a nice selection of games based on NL Holdem and Omaha, and some big tournament events including qualifiers for live tournaments. There is also the cool Zone Poker available, a super-fast game which cuts out the waiting time between hands. This is currently the only US ‘fast-fold’ poker game and is a must-see.
Bovada make a super-easy number 1 choice for US Mac users – check them out for yourself at www.bovada.lv
Alternate US Mac Poker Site – Carbon Poker
Update: No longer recommending Carbon... they are not paying players!
For those players who would like to take poker a little more seriously. Carbon make a great alternative. This was one of the first offshore US sites to offer a full Mac OS download. What you’ll like about this site is the daily cash-back based on the volume and value of play you contribute to the site. This can go up to 40% for the higher volume players.
The Carbon software is pretty cool too, with animations that players can trigger in-game via the chat window and easy multi-tabling. You should also look out for the tournaments, with the regular ‘Carbon Online Poker Series’ or ‘COPS’ a highlight.
Check out the welcome bonus too, you’ll get a poker calculator / HUD software package + 1 month of pro training + a 200% match – no other major site even comes close. Check out www.carbonpoker.ag for yourself here.
Mac Online Poker Guide – Worldwide Sites
Huge sites, and a huge choice for players around the world. The most important question you should be asking before downloading is this:
‘What Kind Of Site Best Suits A Player At My Skill Level?’
There are huge differences out there, with some sites full of small stakes pros, and others focusing on recreational players and enjoying cross-over traffic from sports betting brands.
Here are my top 2 picks – I’ll link to reviews of some of the alternate sites at the end of this page.
Top Global Mac OS Poker Site – 888 Poker
While other poker sites have been stagnant, 888 has climbed the poker rankings super-fast and are now 3rd (soon challenging for the #2 spot!). There are many good reasons for this, not least device compatibility. 888 have a full Mac download, iPhone and iPad app and java-based instant play version too.
The main reason to recommend 888 is not the cool software – it is the easy games. The focus on the benefits, promotions and setup is very much targeted at regular players, and not the geeks who play 12+ tables at a time to scrape a living. The effect is noticeable, the games are more enjoyable, and if you know a little poker strategy they are more profitable too.
$88 Free To Try Out The Games!
I really like this idea, 888 are so confident that you’ll love their site, that they are prepared to give up to $88 to each player free – no deposit or credit card information required.
You’ll get $8 right away, then 10 more increments (tournament tokens and cash game buy-ins) as you play via a points collection scheme. You can deposit at any point and will still get your 100% welcome bonus.
Soft games, great software and $88 free – an amazing offer! Check out the latest cool promotions at www.888poker.com now!
Alternate Mac OS Poker Site – PokerStars.com
For those who take their poker a little more seriously, the giant of the online poker world – PokerStars.com – have everything a Mac owner could need.
Smooth software which supports multi-tabling, a mind-blowing choice of games and variations, plus some of the biggest tournament prizes around can be found here. Add to this a loyalty reward program which is unrivalled – especially for those reaching the supernova or supernova elite tiers of the program – and you have a site which is a must-see for serious players.
3 ‘first’ Deposit Bonuses?
Here is a neat trick to claim up to 3 welcome bonuses at PokerStars.com. Register your account along with ‘Affiliate Marketing Code’ PSP3108, then use bonus code STARS600 for those first 3 deposits. This is good for 90 days and up to $600 in total.
Mac OS Poker Sites – What Games Are Available
If you are relatively new to online poker, then the choice of games will often come as a surprise. Not only do you have poker game variations and categories like sit n go, cash and tournaments – you have a lot of different speeds and betting rules too.
Here is the main breakdown, starting with the game types and then categories of poker.
NL Holdem: No Limit holdem is the most popular game by a long way. You can bet any amount you have at the table at any point in the hand. This makes strategy very important, and allows savvy players to deconstruct the betting patterns throughout the hand to get a read on what your opponent might hold.
Pot-Limit Omaha: 4 hole-cards and pot-limit betting make this into a ‘big hand’ game, with monsters regularly shown down. There are variations within this format including Hi-Lo split variations, and 5 card Omaha too.
Stud Poker Games: Instead of shared ‘community cards’ Stud sees each player have their own 7 cards, 5 of which can be used to make the best poker hand. There are hi-lo and lo only variations of this game available at the leading Mac Poker sites too.
Draw Poker Games: 5 Card draw is the first game a lot of players learn, and this can be played online too. There are quirky draw variations including 2-7 triple draw and Badugi waiting for you to try out.
Here are the main categories of poker game:
Cash Games: Here you are playing with the cash you have on the table in front of you. The chips have real value and if you win a $100 pot, well that is $100 added to your bankroll. You might also hear these referred to as ‘Ring Games’.
Tournaments: Here you buy-in and are given a stack of tournament chips, the game plays until a single player has all of the chips, with 10% to 15% of the field receiving prizes depending on when they bust out of the game. There are a lot of fun variations within this genre.
Sit N Goes: Small tournaments with no scheduled start time. These range in size from 1 table through to around 20. Great for some action when you are short on time.
Fast-Fold Poker: Most sites now have a ‘pooled’ poker game, the moment you fold you are combined with more players from your pool to start a new hand. This can be up to 4 times faster than regular poker. Check out Zone Poker at Bovada or Snap Poker at 888 to see how this works.