If you are an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch owner, you already know the advantages that Apple products have over Android devices in terms of software updates, security and easy integration of apps between devices. The hardware devices also look better than their Android relatives as well!
However, the availability of iOS poker apps has been hindered in the past by Apple´s strict policy concerning gaming apps, and the incentive for online poker sites has been to develop Android compatible poker apps rather than those for iOS operating systems.
Thankfully, iOS apps for playing real money poker are now (mostly) on a par with those available for Android devices and I have had a look at playing online poker on an iOS app to give you my opinion of how they match up.
Two things I must point out at once are that I did actually borrow my kid´s iPhone to check out the following mobile poker websites (so my review of iOS poker apps would be legitimate) and, although the iOS poker app reviews below are based on play on my lad´s iPhone 5, the software should work on devices running iOS 4.3.x or later.
PokerStars iOS App
Contrary to what I wrote above, PokerStars actually developed a poker app for iOS before its Android equivalent, but it was only for play money at the time until it got the green light to go live for real money poker later in 2012.
The PokerStars iOS app for real money poker is probably the best mobile software available among any poker website offering an iOS product, but it does not support the full range of games that you would find listed in my PokerStars review (for example there is no Zoom Poker) and some of the features that you may be familiar with on the desktop PokerStars client (tournament history, VIP Status display and preferred seat) are also not available on the PokerStars iOS app.
One quite strange thing (which is probably attributable to Apple´s stuffiness for mobile gaming apps) is that, although you can create a new account with PokerStars on the iOS for real money poker, you cannot make your first deposit using the app. For that – and any withdrawals you want to make from your account – you will have to use the PokerStars desktop client.
Summary: As a regular user of PokerStars on my Android mobile, I found it very easy to adapt to playing on the PokerStars app for iOS, and would actually say that the absence of Zoom Poker actually improves the experience of playing PokerStars on a mobile (unless you are a Zoom junkie). Rating 9/10
888Poker iOS App
888Poker were a little bit behind PokerStars when it came to launching an iOS app for playing real money poker – not getting their version on the mobile software into the Apple store until July 2012.
Two years later, and 888Poker´s iOS app still only offers a choice of Texas Hold´em cash games and Sit n Go´s – although you can now play 888Poker´s fast-fold game “Snap Poker” on iOS mobile devices, giving 888Poker a bit of an advantage over PokerStars if you like your poker fast and furious.
Playing 888Poker on an iOS device is very easy, although it can be dangerous to fall into the loose standard of play that exists on 888Poker´s cash tables (I brought this up in my 888Poker review), so take heed of my tips for playing poker on an iOS mobile device (below) before committing too much of your bankroll to mobile poker at 888!
Summary: Despite its limitations, I found 888Poker´s iOS app for real money poker the easiest to use amongst those reviewed on this page. I would remind players that many of 888Poker´s promotions conclude with an online tournament (which are not supported by 888Poker´s iOS app), so don´t rely solely on your mobile device for playing poker at 888. Rating 8/10
Party Poker iOS App
Party Poker was very late in developing an acceptable iOS app for playing real money poker – not releasing their product until a year later than its primary rivals, and consequently the site lost a lot of ground in mobile gaming.
I tested the Party Poker app for iOS just after they had completed a software upgrade in June 2014 – when Sit n Go tables and cash game filters were added, and when casino games were made accessible – and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
You can set up an account, fund it and withdraw your winnings directly from Party Poker´s iOS app, and new players should remember to use the Party Poker bonus code “POKERWEB” when making their first deposit to take advantage of my exclusive $500.00 Party Poker bonus (you can read more about the bonus and how to clear it in my Party Poker review).
Summary: I feel that the Party Poker app for iOS has the most pleasing mobile interface among all those I tried out, but please be aware that the iOS download is still only available in a handful of countries from the Apple store, so it is likely you will have to visit the Party Poker website from your mobile device to download the Party Poker mobile software (which makes it all the more important that you use my Party Poker bonus code to get the maximum bonus available). Rating 8/10
A Few Tips about Playing Poker on an iOS Device
Playing poker for real money on an iOS device is completely different from sitting at home on your desktop computer where you have a dedicated time for playing online poker. It is likely that you will get distracted by your surroundings or by the noise made by others in your vicinity. Therefore, it is recommended that when you first start playing real money poker on an iOS mobile device:
- You get familiar with the mobile software somewhere without distractions before playing poker on your iOS device away from home.
- Moderate your stakes at the tables while getting used to playing real money poker on an iOS mobile device
- Work out how long it may take to (successfully) complete a Sit n Go tournament before buying into the game.
Finally, don´t get overcome by the novelty of playing real money poker on an iOS device – especially if you are expecting a lot of telephone calls. I write from personal experience when I say that playing poker with your son´s iPhone against your ear is not only complicated, but it can also put you on tilt very quickly!
Have fun on the (mobile) tables!