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Online Poker on a Macintosh

While Mac owners have limited choice when it comes to poker, they do have the ability to play poker online and options for expanding their choices.

Poker interfaces

There are two approaches to software for online poker—download and no-download. Most poker sites use the download approach where players install an application that runs on their personal computers. Initial contact with the poker site is made through a Web browser but once the poker application is downloaded and installed, actual play is conducted using the application. The no-download approach works completely through the Web browser, usually with the use of a Java script that provides the player’s interface to the poker tables. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

The download approach is generally preferred because it uses the full resources of the user’s computer. It is possible to run faster, more elaborate software applications when the user’s computer can be used to the fullest extent. The problem is that software applications must be adapted for each operating system and it is only feasible to support a limited number of operating systems. Often Macintosh and older Windows operating systems are not supported.

The no-download approach using Java only requires that the user have access to a computer with a Web browser. That means the user can play poker online from any computer with an Internet connection. It doesn’t not have to be the user’s own computer because it is not necessary to install special software. The computer can be a Mac or a PC because Java is a cross-platform language. But software than runs only over the Web is more restricted in what it can do. It is also a challenge for Java programmers to write code that interacts with different Web browsers in the same way.

Macintosh options

Mac users have the following options if they want to play online poker.

  1. Play at sites with no-download interfaces. Most sites with that require only a Web browser work well on Macs and PCs. Some sites such as offer a no-download version of their software that can run on Macs and PCs as well as a downloadable version for PCs only.
  1. Find sites that offer downloads for the Mac operating system. There are poker sites that have the option of downloading software that runs native on Macs. While these sites are fewer in number, they include some of the largest sites on the Internet. For example Sportsbook Poker and Carbon Poker have software that downloads and runs native on a Mac under the OS X operating system.You can search for US poker sites for mac to find the right site for you.
  1. Own an Intel-based Mac, which includes any Mac purchased later than 2006. Purchase a full version of Windows to run on that Mac. It is possible to run Windows natively on Intel-based Macs by using Bootcamp or purchasing the application Parallels. With a Windows running natively any Windows application can be run including all the poker applications. While this is the most expensive option for Mac users it provides the greatest range of choice. It also allows player to use many third-party software applications designed to assist real-time poker decision-making and analyze results.

While it might appear difficult at first, Macintosh users can play poker online and with appropriate software adaptations have the full range of options available to PC users.