I wish I could play online poker on my iPhone…

by Klaus on November 1, 2010

in iPhone, Personal Blog

I remember back in the days, probably 6-7 years ago, when online poker was really starting to become popular. It was everywhere, on television, in the newspapers, online – they gave us updates from the big tournaments such as WPT, WSOP etc. Then there was a few poker players who sort of became “celebrities” in my country, because they made a killing playing online poker. All they did was sit up all night to play poker against players from the United States (apparently they were easiest to beat back then) and then sleep during the day and otherwise just walk around at home. No need to get up early to go to work – poker was work and poker was best during night, and very profitable for some people.

Like most other guys in their early 20’s, I also became fascinated with this card game, known as Texas Hold’Em. I started to read up on the rules and learn to play the game first using free play/fun money sites so it didn’t cost me anything. Then I bought books and joined a few online forums to learn more and improve my game. I spent a lot of time studying!

As time went by, I became a decent poker player. I never really made a killing, except for a few 1st places in some online tournaments, but I didn’t loose a lot of money either. Unfortunately I was very bad at keeping track of my wins and losses so  I can only guess that my losses were limited and when taking into consideration how many hours I spent playing poker – and enjoyed it – it was probably better spending some money on playing poker than wasting them by going to the cinema once a week or whatever. (TIP: Keep track of your wins and losses, you’ll thank me later!).

Back then, around 2005 or so, I had a long train commute to work every day. What better way to spend that time other than reading poker books? Well, play poker, of course! Luckily there was one site which offered a downloadable java client for some mobile phones and even offered real money play against other real players. Awesome!

Unfortunately, also back then, the screen on my Sony Ericsson phone was rather small and the wireless data network not very good. The whole mobile online poker experience became a “because I can”-thing rather than an enjoyable and entertaining thing as you know from a desktop computer. Don’t even bother playing an online poker tournament because you could so easily be disconnected from the mobile network and miss that important hand that could win you the tournament…

Now it’s 2010 and we have mobile phones with huge touch screens and data networks that offers several Mbit download connections. We also have stupid governments who keep insisting that online poker is all about luck, not skill, and then they ban online poker in their countries. That’s why  poker players in the United States has had very few sites to play poker on for the past years, because their government doesn’t want people to play online poker (when in reality it’s probably because they don’t want to send the money out of the country to overseas companies, which is why that law was nicely tucked away inside a counter terrorist act, I guess).

The bottom line is, now we have the technology to play online poker where ever we are – for those of us who would like that opportunity – but very few providers. There are, however, ways to play browser based poker but the experience is just not as great as if it was with a dedicated mobile app. Also, the major poker sites doesn’t, as far as I know, offer any browser based versions of their software that would run on a device that doesn’t fully support flash or java. You could play at lesser-known poker sites but you would probably be very limited in table selection due to very few players being online plus you would have to consider how safe the site really is, now that you’ll have real money in your account with them.

Another obstacle is Apple. I doubt we’ll see a real money poker app in their App Store anytime soon – maybe if/when the US government decides to allow online poker again, then maybe, just maybe, Apple will allow these gambling apps. I think, if that time ever comes, there will be restrictions and licensing issues to consider as well. Likely the poker sites will have to be licensed in the US and have special permits to offer online poker within the United States.

Right now, I’m afraid online poker on the iPhone is several years out into the future – if it will ever happen.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Murlu November 3, 2010 at 01:55

It’s a shame that the gov’t had to crack down so hard on the game because I know quite a few people that use to play all the time – they would pay their rent and everything each month.

Having a mobile app would be crazy fun haha.
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Sourish November 6, 2010 at 07:09

im not sure about the game , but i heard many people in us uk make good money with online poker …. if its illegal i dont think its going to be a long time business for them
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Kimi November 3, 2010 at 16:44

I am glad that i don’t use cellphones ( i don’t have iphone)

I am actually very seldom using cellphones, and i don’t play stuff online, i guess this is usually for young boys 😀
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Rob McCance November 6, 2010 at 23:44

Great post.

Maybe, just maybe, since Android is “open” one of the major poker sites will make a Android app. Like PokerStars or FTP.

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Rob McCance November 6, 2010 at 23:46

Almost forgot (sorry). I doubt you will ever see an app for the iPhone, whether online gambling becomes legal in the USA or not.

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daniel December 7, 2010 at 16:10

umm i play real poker on my iphone all day long. i use vnc to my laptop and play. it works very well and easy to use

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Vinney April 11, 2011 at 22:29

Klaus, you will be able to play poker on your iPhone or iPad shortly according to his article http://www.pokerroomcompare.com/iphonepoker/iPoker_Network_Titan_Poker_Mansion_To_Launch_New_iPhone_iPad_Android_App_154.php

Titan poker will be launching a web app shortly but it won’t be available in the United States initially 🙁

Its only a matter of time before PokerStars release an app.

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate April 12, 2011 at 13:37

Nice find Vinney.

A HTML5 poker web app is the key for iOS devices.
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B. Jack June 27, 2011 at 12:59

I surprised to know that online poker can be played on iphone… can u tell me any other phone for this…?

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tanyahuch December 9, 2011 at 21:33

Hi there,
thanks for the useful review of the mobile poker games options. You are right, it is no illegal in the USA to wager online, but money transactions to the online casino sites or poker and bingo sites thank to the September 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. However, I think sooner rather then later it would be regulated as it is a shame that the country with its gambling city Las Vegas cannot afford to allow players online or mobile casino games betting.
With regards to the mobile poker, there are just a few reliable site offering these games. I think it is because of the mobile connection difficulties. However, now it is easy to play mobile casino games
Regards. Tanya
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