These days, mobile poker is a completely viable option that’s available at most online poker sites. This means that players are able to enjoy poker games through their iPhone, iPad and Android devices, from basically anywhere in the world. But a lot of players can remember a time when the poker mobile concept was in its infancy and filled with problems. That said, let’s discuss how we got from the dark ages to a time when mobile games are considered as normal a option as resizable tables.
Before the Smartphone
To many players, it seems like the poker mobile idea came about in 2010, when Switch Poker and Full Tilt began offering games on smartphones. We’ll get to this later, but the truth is that PokerRoom and Ultimate Bet were the first poker sites to enter the mobile scene in 2006. Many recognize the latter as a scandal-ridden room that closed down after Black Friday (April 15th, 2011) with millions of dollars in player deposits. However, Ultimate Bet was instrumental in opening up the poker mobile market as they offered Java-supported wireless play.
As cool as this advancement was back then, it was also frustrating for players. These play-money apps were prone to frequent disconnections, and the graphics left more than a little to be desired. Cake Poker brought a new development in this era when they unveiled the first real-money Windows app for mobile devices. Other sites like Betfair, bwin and Party Poker entered the fray, but nobody was really able to improve upon the visuals or playing quality at the time.
Smartphones and Tablets save the Day
Luckily, wireless gaming wouldn’t remain in the dark ages forever. Released in 2007, the iPhone really did wonders for the poker mobile industry over the next few years. Companies began releasing play-money apps on the iPhone that offered a significant upgrade, both in graphics and gameplay. Of course, we have more sophisticated technology and 3G connections to thank for this.
The only problem with the iPhone was that they didn’t allow real-money poker apps in their store. But Switch Poker somewhat cracked this market when their room became available through direct play on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in 2010. Thousands of players rushed to the newly launched Switch to take advantage of this opportunity.
Full Tilt opens up the Market
While Switch Poker got the ball rolling for real-money play on smartphones and tablets, they were a rather obscure site to the majority of the poker world. One could easily say that Full Tilt truly opened up the poker mobile floodgates when they introduced their Android app in the same year as Switch Poker’s launch.
Unfortunately, they had immediate trouble when Google Market banned the app due to their policy on real-money gaming. But Full Tilt responded by making their app available for download straight from the site. Full Tilt eventually closed a couple of months after Black Friday (later reopening in 2012), but their huge mark on the mobile gaming industry had already been made at this point.
Apple loosens up
One last significant development for mobile poker rooms was when bwin (now part of bwin.party) made a deal with Apple, whereby they were the first to offer a native real-money poker app. Since this time, dozens of other poker rooms have begun offering mobile products through the Apple App Store.
As long as you own an iPhone, iPad or Android product today, you won’t have any trouble playing poker through a mobile device. The games run as smoothly as they do on a desktop or laptop, and the convenience is unbeatable!