The world of online gambling has made everything so much easier. Remember those days in high school or college when it was easy to get a poker game together? Once you become an adult, you have more responsibilities, more bills, more family members, probably fewer friends, and less time to dedicate to chasing everybody down to get a decent game together.
In the age of expanded gambling, including the legalization of sports betting, states have added online poker to the list of approved games. New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware currently have online poker available to those that download the necessary apps. West Virginia passed legislation in 2019 and hopes to implement in 2020. Michigan also approved poker as part of its expansion of gaming with the approval of sports betting. More states will be following suit.
Apps like WSOP, 888, Borgata, PokerStars, and partypoker are just some of the options for those that want the convenience of a game at their fingertips at all times. As more states approve poker, there are likely to be more multi-state poker capabilities as well, so you can play against players from all over the United States.
Here at ATS, we survey the approved poker apps, especially those that intersect with sports betting, to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
Poker parties are easy to organize with the PartyPoker app. It takes away the hassle of tracking down people for a home game or hiking to the casino so that you can play from the comforts of home or on the go.
Cash games? Check. Tournaments? Check. Texas Hold ‘Em? Check. Omaha Hold ‘Em? Check. Stud Games? Check. Rewards program? Check. “Raise” your game and your experience by signing up with PartyPoker and see everything that they have to offer.
Deposits are easy, withdrawals are simple, and you’re going to be happy to shuffle up and deal with a longstanding and reputable name in the online poker world at PartyPoker.
Read an in-depth review of PartyPoker: PartyPoker Review
For the serious poker player, BetMGM is one of the best. BetMGM has taken user feedback and applied it to improvements and enhancements to its interface, the gameplay, and the variety of games and denominations.
The goal has always been to deliver an unbeatable poker experience and that is exactly what you get when you sign up for this app.
The cards are easy to read on computer, laptop, or smartphone via the BetMGM app. By signing up and depositing to play poker with MGM, you will also get entry into the iRewards Loyalty Program, which is an extension of the wildly popular Mlife Rewards that can turn into free or discounted rooms in Las Vegas or any of the other MGM properties.
Because the BetMGM app also includes the sportsbook and casino, you have it all with a one-stop shop gaming experience.
Read an in-depth review of BetMGM Poker: BetMGM Poker Review
The Borgata Poker app is a thing of beauty. Everything flows so effortlessly, from the registration and deposit process to the poker hands themselves. Player feedback has been taken under consideration by the developers to create a seamless, efficient poker experience that comes as close to the real thing as you can get.
Whether you want to play freerolls or with play money to practice, check out some low and micro stakes cash games, or play in big tournaments or big money games, you can do it all in the Borgata app. And you can do it all playing Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hold ‘Em, or Stud Games.
Special promotions, free tournament entries, reload bonuses, and easy deposits and withdrawals are all perks of this one-of-a-kind poker client.
Read an in-depth review of Borgata Poker: Borgata Poker Review
More and more states seem to be coming around to the fact that poker is a game of skill. As a result, we should see more and more states agreeing to legalize poker and add it to the list of revenue generators. That will be great for consumers. Not only will they have the ability to play poker from a mobile device or computer, but more operators will put forth the effort and the finances to expand.
There are a lot of different promotions and offers in the poker world, like we discussed above. Now, we’ll go into a little more detail as to the characteristics you want to look for in a poker site.
New Customer Offers
It is important for these apps to make each and every player feel wanted. Even though there are not as many online apps for poker as there are for sports betting, the competition is still fierce. The more free money or free bets or promotional tournament entries you receive, the better off you are going to be. That is especially true of the apps that will give you free tournament entries or free bankroll money if you are just starting out in poker.
There is a learning curve to playing online and even the most seasoned in-person players can struggle without the physical tells or the atmosphere. Anything to help your transition, either from physical games or from dipping your toe in the water, is going to help in the long run.
As always, make sure you read the terms and conditions of any and all offers. Some have rollover requirements or only allow for entry into certain tournaments or cash games. Be aware of these because some promotions may be less restrictive than others.
Sign-Up Bonus Guide
When it comes to the world of online poker, all of the sign-up bonuses are going to be different. Sportsbooks offer things like No-Deposit Free Bets to give you the chance to “test drive” the software without having to put your own money out first. Others offer a Match Bonus in which they match 50% or 100% or some other amount of your first deposit.
Others offer a Risk-Free Bet. You bet your own money on a game or event and if it loses, you get refunded that amount up to a certain dollar figure.
When it comes to poker, a lot of the options are very similar. You will find those No-Deposit Free Bets to try out a low stakes cash game or a cheap tournament. You will also find Match Bonuses that will put bonus funds into your account based on the amount of your first deposit. Some sites will offer free tournament entries.
Furthermore, once you are signed up and take advantage of your initial bonus offer, be sure to check the promotions page for that app or website. Daily and weekly promotions are offered all of the time for various tournaments or reload bonuses.
Types of Poker Games
There are a lot of different games that can be played through these apps. Even though standard Texas Hold ‘Em is usually the game that everybody plays, you can find games like Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card Stud, or even more crazy variations.
Texas Hold ‘Em is a five-card game in which the player gets two cards face down that are the starting point for the hand. There is a dealer button and then a small blind and a big blind, which are forced “bets” designed to get money into the pot. A round of betting ensues based on the two cards in everybody’s hand with the option to check, call (match the most recent bet), raise (bet more than the most recent bet), or fold (exit the hand).
After that, a set of three “community cards” called the “Flop” will be placed in the middle of the table. Another round of betting will ensue. Once all action has taken place, a fourth community card called the “Turn” will be placed in the middle of the table. After another round of betting, a final card called the “River” will be placed in the middle of the table.
Using your two cards and the five cards in the middle, you make your best five-card hand. After the last round of betting on the river, the outcome will be determined and the best hand will win the “pot” of money in the middle.
Omaha Hold ‘Em is similar to Texas Hold ‘Em, except players will get four private cards in their hands. They can only use two of them in concert with the five community cards to make the best five-card hand. There are additional variations of Omaha at most apps, including a game like Hi-Lo.
Seven-Card Stud is a stud game, which means that you get all seven cards and hope to make the best card at the table. Seven-card stud is different in that the other players at the table can see some of your cards as long as you are still in the hand. Your first two cards will be private and the seventh card, if you stay in the hand that long, will also be private.
Rounds of betting will commence after each card gets passed out.
There are sure to be other variations and there are great sites out there with explainers to these games. Our focus is to make sure you get the best information about where to play.
What to Look For
What do you want in a poker app? We have lots of experience in both sports betting and poker, so we’re going to tell you what we would want and let’s see if you agree.
Uninterrupted Gameplay – Imagine you’re sitting there with pocket aces and an ace comes out on the flop. You’re sitting pretty. Other people start betting their straight draws or flush draws into your monster of a hand. Then the game lags, your time runs out to make a decision, and the app folds your hand.
There is nothing worse than that when it comes to online poker. And it happens. It would never happen in a home game or at a casino because you are right there with the time you need to make your decision. In order to keep online games moving, there are time limits.
You don’t want a game that lags. You don’t want a game where things get too sloppy, slow, or confusing. You want reliability. You want seamless technology and integration. You want to know that won’t happen to you.
Look – Speaking of confusing or sloppy, one of the greatest frustrations of playing online poker is a messy interface. Decisions have to be made quickly. Hands have to be easy to read and see. The suits have to be differentiated. The numbers have to be legible. Some contrast between the cards and the table is important.
One of the things that players love to do on computers is something called multi-tabling, which is playing several games at once. You have to know exactly where to look and be able to see what you need to see in a hurry. The look of a poker app is extremely important.
Cashier – You want options. Options are good when it comes to anything. With these poker apps, some will only take credit card deposits like Visa or Mastercard. Others will take PayPal or bank transfers. You also want a lot of withdrawal options. Nobody wants to wait weeks for a check. Transaction processing is a really important, often underrated element, of a good poker app.
Variety of Games and Bonuses – While Texas Hold ‘Em is likely the preferred game for the vast majority of users, variety is the spice of life. Being able to try other games at low stakes or use bonus funds to give other games a look can be a really attractive option for these different poker apps. Remember, competition is fierce between operators and each little thing that sets one app apart from another could go a very long way.
The ATS Experience
This is precisely what we do at ATS. We look at everything to give you a comprehensive picture of what to expect and what you should look for in an app, whether that means sports betting, poker, or even casino apps. Doing your due diligence is really important before you dive in and we’re glad to do that due diligence to make it easy for you.
Check out all of our reviews, take advantage of the great promotions, and start playing cards today!