Online Poker Compatibility

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Online Poker CompatibilitySay what you will about live poker, but you usually don't have to worry about compatibility issues when you try a new casino's poker room. Live poker is pretty much the same no matter where or how you play it.

But online poker is a different story. For all of the convenience and efficiency it brings to the experience of playing poker, online poker also introduces some new layers of complexity and hassle. One of the biggest: software compatibility, an issue we're going to tackle here in our guide to poker software compatibility.

Online poker software on desktop operating systems

Online poker has come a long way over the last five years when it comes to desktop compatibility. In the early days of the industry, you were basically faced with a Windows or bust situation; now, users of nearly any desktop operating system will find a version of the software (or an easy workaround) that will get the job done.

For more information about various poker sites and their desktop options, check out our poker operating system guides below:

Mac Poker

Poker Sites for Macs

Our Mac poker guide provides users with information on which sites are Mac compatible, either through a native poker client or possibly an instant play poker room. The sites featured on our Mac poker page are open to all players. The review also covers how to perform a dual boot.

No Download Poker Sites

Poker sites that offer no download software do so by using either Flash or Java. This page focuses on both applications and provides a list of the best sites that support a no download poker client. The client loads instantly in any browser and provides you with access to the cash games / tournaments in addition to the cashier, stats and more. Unfortunately, no download poker rooms do not accept USA players.

Linux Compatible Poker Sites

Our Linux poker page also provides a list ranking the best poker rooms for Linux users. It also includes a how to guide for playing poker on a Linux operating system, the bonuses available for new players along with a list of solutions players can use when they come across a poker room that doesn’t offer a traditional “Linux compatible” poker client.  

Poker Sites with Flash

As mentioned previously, there are two applications used to provides players with no download or instant play poker rooms. One of them is Flash. Our Flash poker page ranks the top poker rooms that use Flash to deliver the software. The poker rooms featured on this page only provide Flash poker clients. You will also find a how to guide, bonuses for new players from and benefits.   

Poker Sites with Java

The other application used for no download poker rooms is Java. Our Java poker page also compares the top poker rooms offering this software in addition to the benefits and drawbacks of playing on a Java poker site. Find out which poker rooms use Java here in addition to deposit bonuses you qualify for when you join through our site.    

Online Poker Compatibility Overview

In In general, Mac players won't have a problem finding a dedicated Mac client that performs to standard at the top poker sites. And the sites where Mac isn't supported are still accessible through programs like Bootcamp or Parallels. As for Linux players, native clients are in short supply. But virtual windows and browser-based clients (more on that below) should provide more than sufficient variety.

Playing poker online using tablets and mobile devices

Mobile was an absolute afterthought for online poker sites as recently as 2010. But then again, mobile use in the general population had yet to really explode at that point. In the time since, just about everything has expanded into the mobile universe. And online poker has definitely been near the front of the pack.

Major poker sites continue to launch a cavalcade of mobile-optimized ways to play poker online for real money. Track the latest developments with our in-depth guides to various mobile poker platforms and operating systems:

As is the case with desktop compatibility, the general rule of thumb for mobile platforms and online poker is: the more popular the platform, the more likely a wide number of popular poker sites are to develop a specific app for that platform. It's unlikely that a new poker site will offer a mobile version of their poker room, unless they are part of a major poker network. In the status quo, phone and tablet versions of poker room apps are largely identical, but that is starting to change as major sites like PokerStars and Party Poker put more and more emphasis on developing a unique interface and experience for players using tablets like the iPad or Kindle.

Online poker rooms with no download

The vast majority of online poker play happens via an app or a desktop client. But for all of the potential poker players who don't mind installing an app or downloading a software program, there are others who prefer the ease and simplicity of no download poker.
Not all major poker sites provide a no download option - PokerStars, for one, has no such client or plans to develop one - but the majority do. No download poker usually comes in one of two forms: Java and Flash. In both cases, you'll need to use a standard web browser like Chrome or Firefox to access the poker room.

Java no download online poker

Java allows browser-based online poker that doesn't require any download. The technology is mature and stable, making the Java-based poker experience fairly close to the experience you'd have with the downloaded client. One drawback to Java-based rooms: there have been a rash of security issues involving Java in the last year. As a result, players should disable Java in their primary web browser and use a separate browser exclusively for running online poker sites in Java.

Flash-based no download poker clients

Flash poker clients offer a richer graphical experience than a Java-based poker room. But Flash sites can also be more resource-intensive and prone to performance issues. Flash is also not supported by mobile devices running the Apple iOS, and it appears that Android devices will also be phasing out support for Flash, suggesting that no download rooms based on Flash will gradually become less attractive to players.


It's worth mentioning HTML5 simply because many believe that the language will eventually replace Flash and Java for authoring interactive experiences such as online poker. But the technology is still in the very early stages of development, and at an even earlier stage of deployment with regards to online poker. No major poker site that we're aware of has released or committed to release a no download client authored in HTML5.

Is there a platform or operating system we didn't cover? Contact us and we'll expand our poker guide to address the operating system or platform you use.