Downloadable Texas Holdem
One of the best things to happen to Texas holdem in the last 20 years is the ability to play online. Now you can play online using your desk top or lap top computer, or on the go using your tablet or smart phone.
We cover many of these options on other pages, but on this page you can learn everything you need to know about downloading a software package that lets you play real Texas holdem on your computer.
How to Download Texas Holdem
When you download the software needed to play Texas holdem online you get something often called a software or poker room client from a server. It's installed on your hard drive and creates a shortcut on your main desktop screen that you can click on to access the games.
You have to be connected to the internet because when you log on the software on your hard drive communicates with the servers of the poker room. Once you log on and your computer communicates with the server you can join a table and start playing.
In order to get a download started you visit the poker room's main web site, click on the download button, and follow the directions. Overall it's simple and easy.
A few poker rooms use a no download solution. These games load in your web browser instead of downloading a client onto your hard drive.
What's a Poker Network?
When you download the software and log in to start playing you see players and tables where you can join games. What many players don't now is some poker rooms share players so they have enough to offer plenty of table options to players.
Some poker rooms, like PokerStars, have enough traffic so they don't share players across a network. But some large rooms are parts of networks also.
Bodog and Bovada are technically a network as the players from both rooms play on the same tables and servers.
From a player's perspective you don't need to worry about whether a poker room is part of a network or not. If the room has enough tables and players to meet your needs you can start playing without worrying about networks.
Free Play Download
After you get the poker room software downloaded you don't have to start playing Texas holdem for real money. You can try out the software and learn how it works by playing a few hands at the free money tables.
The controls, game play, sounds, and visual items are exactly the same as when you play for real money, but you don't have to worry about finding the right button in time or making a big mistake at the free tables.
Once you're comfortable playing you can make a deposit and switch over to real money play.
Real Money Holdem Download
When you're ready to play real money Texas holdem all you have to do is make a deposit and join a table. This is easy to do and you can get started in no time.
Find the cashier button or area once you log into the poker room client. Once you enter the cashier screen click on deposit and you'll see which methods you can use to play. Credit card deposits are the most popular in some areas, while other areas use online e-wallet accounts like Neteller.
Your options for making a deposit and which rooms allow you to play for real money depend on where you live. In areas where online poker is licensed and regulated players have plenty of safe deposit options and poker room options.
But if you live somewhere like the US you may have trouble finding ways to make a deposit. You can find poker rooms that accept US players, but banks don't like to move money into and out of online casinos for US players, except the ones lucky enough to live where online play is regulated.
If you have trouble finding a safe deposit method, contact the support department of the poker room. They have plenty of experience helping new players get started and they should know the best ways for players in your area to get money deposited into the poker room.
When you get ready to make a deposit, see if you qualify for a sign up bonus. Most poker rooms offer a matching bonus for new players and many also offer bonuses for players who want to make additional deposits.
Sign up bonuses at most poker rooms are a 100% match up to a certain amount.
A poker room may offer a 100% match bonus up to $400. So if you deposit $100 they match it with $100 or if you deposit $400 they match it with $400. The bonus money is usually placed in a separate account and released in increments as you play real money hands. You might earn $10 of your bonus money for every 100 takes hands you play or every 200 poker points you earn, based on the poker points system at the room where you're playing.
Always make sure you read all of the terms and conditions for the poker bonus before you make a deposit. If you don't understand how something works ask support. Keep a record of what they tell you so you can refer back to it later if you need to do so. Using email makes this easy to do.
When you get ready to download a poker room software solution you can read the minimum system requirements linked to from the download page. Most players don't read them or have a problem, but if you have an old computer you may want to check the out.
The biggest issue players have is when they have a slow or unstable internet connection. This can create issues including being disconnected while playing and lag times that cause you to miss a play at the table. Both of these things are aggravating and can cost you money in the long run.
Players from all over the world can play free Texas holdem after downloading the software client. But in some jurisdictions real money poker play is restricted or unavailable. You can even find places where no one seems to know if poker is legal or not.
Most players simply see if they can find a poker room that accepts their deposits and lets them play and figure if they can play they won't have any legal issues. While this has worked out fairly well for players in most countries it isn't the type of thought process that tends to stand up in court if you ever find yourself facing the judge.
Though it's not as easy as some methods, the safest way to find out is to speak with an attorney or find the laws, rules, and regulations on your local government's web site. Players in the UK can find a list of licensed and approved online gambling establishments on the government web site.
But players in other areas, like most of the United States, won't find answers quite so easily. A few states allow online poker, a few specifically forbid it, and most states don't really have any laws currently regulating the market.
One thing you should realize is that in all of these jurisdictions players can still find real money online Texas holdem available. Even in places where it's clearly illegal players can still find rooms that accept their play.
We aren't trained to offer legal advice so we aren't offering any here. But we wanted to include it on this page so you can decide if you just want to start playing or do a little more research before you download the software.
Be very careful of any legal advice dealing with online poker or gambling that you find online other than on official government web sites. Almost anyone can throw up a web page and say anything they want on it.
When Texas holdem first became available online your only option was to download the software to start playing. At that time most people who had the internet were using a dial up connection and it could take hours for the poker room clients to download.
As far as technology has come over the years, many poker rooms still let you download the software and the rooms operate much like they did when they first opened. Some rooms offer other options, but many still favor a download software package.
The good news is the internet connections seem to be much better than they were at the beginning so at least the downloads are faster.
As you learned above, it's simple to find a download Texas holdem solution and it's easy to get started. Simply follow the directions above and you can be playing Texas holdem in no time.