I mentioned in my introduction to poker compatibility that I use Android poker apps on my Smartphone for their sheer convenience and ease of use; and many other players I speak to feel the same. Some have got so accustomed to them that they use Android apps for online poker even when they are at home and have a desktop computer that they could be using instead!
Before I start what is effectively a review of Android apps for playing poker, I would like to point out that I am only going to write about those that I have personally used to play online poker for real money. I am aware that there are a lot of Android poker app reviews out there which list play money sites but, as good as these apps for playing poker may be, it is generally a bad idea for real money poker players to use these play money Android poker apps because of the bad habits that you are likely to develop.
PokerStars Android App
I am going to start my review of Android poker apps with the site that probably everybody is familiar with – PokerStars. PokerStars launched their mobile Android app for real money poker back in January 2012 (strangely enough only in Italy). Originally the app only had the capacity to play ring games of Hold´em and Omaha, but eventually developed to offer a good (not full) range of Sit n Go and multitable tournaments as well.
Now the PokerStars Android app for real money poker has developed to such an extent that you can create an account from scratch, fund it through the secure web cashier and adjust the game settings to optimize your playing experience. You will be eligible for the same PokerStars bonus as mentioned in my PokerStars review and have access to most of the promotions run by the site – indeed PokerStars often hosts promotions exclusively for mobile devices or which, at least, involve some use of the PokerStars app for Android devices.
You can download the PokerStars Android app from the PokerStars website provided that you are running Android 2.3 or above on your Android mobile device. If you have a device with a QR reader, the easiest way to get started is to scan the barcode from the PokerStars website and then click on the link. If not, you will just have to do it the old-fashioned way by downloading the PokerStars mobile software onto your Android device and following the installation instructions.
Summary: PokerStars mobile apps for Android devices are the best I have played on, but because of the huge range of games available to you the menus can get a little cluttered. It is certainly worth downloading the PokerStars Android app if you spend a considerable amount of time away from your desktop computer, but it takes a little getting used to. Rating 8/10
888Poker Android App
The 888Poker app for Android devices was released soon after PokerStars launched their mobile apps in 2012, but do not seem to have developed as quickly as their major competitor. Presently (July 2014), you can only play cash games and Sit n Go tournaments of Texas Hold´em and only at a limited range of stakes (big enough for me, but maybe not for some other players).
Having said that, the 888Poker Android app does have a simpler interface than the PokerStars equivalent, and you will be able to withdraw funds from your 888Poker bankroll using the site´s secure web browser (something which is not yet available on PokerStars). However, you will have to create your 888Poker account on a desktop before being able to use the 888Poker Android app – something which is explained in my 888Poker review.
If you have not tried the 888Poker mobile app for Android, it is worth having a go. The software is solid if not spectacular, and it won´t use up a great chunk of space on your mobile Android device. You can download the 888Poker Android app directly from their website, and they also use a QR code if you have a QR reader on your phone. One feature that is unique to the 888Poker Android app is that you can also access the site´s sports betting facility – handy if you want a flutter on the go!
Summary: Despite its shortfalls, I quite like 888Poker´s app for Android devices. It is bright, colorful and easy to get to grips with. With updates constantly being made to the software, I hope that the app will one day support multitable tournaments, but at the minute I can´t rate it quite as high as PokerStars. Rating 7/10
Party Poker Android App
Party Poker was the last of the “Big 3” to launch an Android app for real money poker in late 2012, and although it was acceptable at the time, it lost pace with PokerStars´ and 888Poker´s mobile offerings due to focusing its attentions elsewhere. At the time I got bored with it pretty quickly, but following a software upgrade in September 2013, I became more attached to the site in general and to Party Poker´s Android app in particular when it was upgraded in May 2014.
Party Poker´s app for Androids now offers a good range of cash games and Sit n Go tournaments with an exceptionally easy to use interface and multiple features which enable you to customize your playing experience. You can even start a Sit n Go on your desktop computer and finish it off on your Android mobile device when you are running deep. If you do not already have an account with Party Poker (you can read my reasons for playing on the site in my Party Poker review), it is possible to create one from the app and fund your account through the online cashier. It is also possible to withdraw your funds on your mobile device after you have a winning session.
The Party Poker Android app is available from the Party Poker website or in the Google Play Store. Installation only takes a couple of minutes, but be sure when funding your account to use the Party Poker bonus code “POKERWEB” to take advantage of my enhanced first deposit bonus of 100% on first deposits up to $500.00 (Party Poker will normally only offer you a $50.00 bonus). You will also be able to access Party Poker´s casino from their Android app for poker.
Summary: I am going to stick my neck out and say that the Party Poker Android app will continue to improve over time and become one of the leaders in mobile poker technology. The software has a few limitations, but will appeal to more recreational players who don´t have the inclination to get into complicated mobile software and I believe this will also make it a more lucrative site to play on. Rating 8/10
A Few Tips about Playing Poker on an Android Device
Playing poker for real money on an Android device is much different from sitting at a desktop computer where there are fewer distractions. Unless you are sitting in the bath at home playing on your mobile device, it is likely that you will get sidetracked by your environment or by the volume of people around you. Consequently, when you first start playing real money poker on a mobile device it is recommended that:
- You get used to the software at home in the relative quiet before trying it out in a distracting environment
- Keep your stakes a little lower than you would normally play while getting used to playing poker on an Android device
- Make sure that you have the time to complete a Sit n Go (or multitable tournament) before registering for it
Finally, as much as being able to play online poker on an Android device is convenient, it is often best not to get involved in a game if you are expecting to make or receive a lot of telephone calls. I speak from personal experience when I say that trying to play poker with your Smartphone up to your ear is not only difficult, but it can also be expensive!
Have fun on the (little) tables!