Texas Hold 'em on Mac - Apple and Macintosh Texas Hold 'em
Within the world of modern computer operating systems, the age-old dilemma pits PC users and their Windows platform against Mac users who prefer Apple's MacOS.
This debate won't be settled anytime soon, what with diehard PC and Mac loyalists living and dying with every system update sent their way. Simply put, each side has its converts, and seldom do they cross streams.
But when we confine the issue to the pursuit of online Texas hold 'em, the PC vs. Mac divide becomes a yawning gap. For one reason or another, the major online poker operators out there today tend to direct their energies toward PC compatibility, leaving Mac users out in the proverbial cold.
Up until recently, major online poker sites like 888 Poker (2013), Americas Card Room (2015) and Ignition Poker (2016) didn't even offer a Mac compatible client.
The reason for this delay in Mac adaptation is readily apparent, at least from the operators' perspective. People use PCs over Macs at a rate of better than 10 to 1. That's according to Apple Insider, which revealed that the percentage of Mac users worldwide had "grown" to just 7.4 percent in April of 2016.
With less than one player at any given cash game or tournament table utilizing the Mac platform, online poker rooms just never had a solid incentive to spend loads of cash developing Mac compatible software clients.
Instead, most operator's chose to take a shortcut, setting up Flash based browser versions of their online Texas hold 'em products that are accessible directly from a Mac user's Safari browser. And while these browser-based products did the job, allowing access to the online poker room itself, the experience was subpar, to say the least, on the user's end.
Crude onscreen graphics, lagging animations and interface glitches regularly plagued players taking a shot at the Texas hold 'em tables via a Mac device. Rather than receiving a constant flow of software updates to refine issues like this, browser based online poker rooms running on the Mac platform were essentially static, forcing players to accept glitches and the like without recourse.
Worse still, even when the browser-based games were running perfectly, they paled in comparison to the fully functional PC software product. While PC users were busy toggling between several games during a multi table session, or diligently studying their hand histories while looking for ways to improve, Mac users were stuck with single table play and no hand history capability.
The situation is slowly getting better though, and today most major online poker rooms offer their Texas hold 'em games in both PC and Mac format. This has been accomplished through the development of dedicated Mac based software clients that users can download directly to their device.
These software platforms are the product of serious investment by the top sites, as they needed to replicate every successful aspect of their PC side for an entirely different system. That should show exactly where the iGaming industry is headed in 2017, because when successful companies decide to siphon profits and redirect them toward technological improvement, a certain level of demand must be documented.
And that demand is there without a doubt, as evidenced by readers like yourself seeking out the latest news on Texas hold 'em for Mac users. The market segment may be under 10 percent at the moment, but that market of Mac users is generally more "connected" to the Internet than your average PC user. For this reason, online poker operators are finally recognizing the importance of catering to the Mac crowd.
This page is intended to provide a full tour of Texas hold 'em as the game is played on Mac machines. We'll cover the biggest and best Mac compatible online poker rooms first, before moving on to the App Store for mobile applications. To conclude, we'll introduce you to a few of the most popular PC emulators used by Mac fans to recreate their favorite PC-only poker rooms.
Mac compatible Online Poker Rooms
Like we mentioned already, the movement toward Mac compatibility continues to gain momentum by the day.
Currently, you'd be hard pressed to find a reputable site spreading Texas hold 'em that didn't offer a Mac software suite.
The following capsules highlight the best and brightest online poker rooms that now offer dedicated Mac downloads, along with links to help you get started. Each of these sites have been spreading Texas hold 'em action for several years running, and all have worked hard to cultivate strong reputations within the online poker community:PokerStars
The world's largest online poker room is one of the earliest Mac adapters, having integrated the platform with a full-fledged software suite way back in 2007.
Mac users can now enjoy the same lineup of Texas hold 'em tournaments, cash games, sit-and-go's, Spin-and-Go's and all the rest of PokerStars' popular offerings.
As for players living in New Jersey, the triumphant return of PokerStars to American shores means that anybody in the Garden State can log on via their Mac device to enjoy the PokerStars.NJ platform.888 Poker
If PokerStars is the industry's big boy on the block, 888 Poker is the little brother that somehow grew up, filled out and formed as a true rival.
Making it only a year younger than PokerStars.
The site rolled out full Mac compatibility via software download in 2013, so it's still a relative rookie on that front, but 888 Poker's Mac version is a carbon copy of that enjoyed by millions of PC users worldwide. That means you'll find seamless access to 888 Poker features like the speed based Snap Poker and the four-handed lottery style sit-and-go's known as Blast.PartyPoker
At one point before the poker boom, PartyPoker was by far the industry's leader, attracting Texas hold 'em fans from far and wide years before Chris Moneymaker became a household name.
PartyPoker rolled out its first Mac compatible software client in 2011, and a constant stream of updates has refined the platform ever since. As a result, the player experience for PartyPoker users on a Mac device is nearly identical to the product PC users know and love.
That means Mac players can take part in PartyPoker's popular eight-handed cash game tables and the POWERFEST Texas hold 'em tournament series.Ignition Poker
Formerly known as Bodog Poker and then Bovada Poker, the newly launched Ignition Poker platform caters exclusively to the American market.
Thankfully, that and more has been successfully ported to the Mac version, which like Ignition Poker itself, is only in its first year of operation.
That late implementation is likely a boon for Mac users, as Ignition Poker didn't design its PC platform first, only to craft a Mac alternative as an aside. Instead, the site was built to be both Mac and PC capable from the start, so no matter which operating system you prefer, you'll literally be playing a clone of the other.Americas Card Room
Another U.S. facing site that tries to bring the great game of Texas hold 'em back to American soil, Americas Card Room (ACR) has become a beloved member of the poker industry in recent years.
Per the player reviews posted on popular poker forums, ACR is still working out the kinks for its Mac client, which was launched in a beta testing phase. But even with a bug or two, the ability to fire up your ACR account and get in the game has become a rite of passage for American players - and now Mac users can finally join the party.BetOnline Poker
As the name suggests, BetOnline is a sportsbook by trade, but like most iGaming sites today, they spun off a poker platform in 2010.
It then took a while to add Mac compatible software, but the launch of BetOnline Poker's dual Mac/PC platform in 2016 has proven to be a hit among players.
So you'll never miss out on a juicy tournament overlay or fish laden cash game.SportsBetting.ag Poker
SportsBetting.ag has been a thriving online sportsbook since 1999, but it only became a poker hotspot in 2012 when BetOnline acquired the site and added its own functionality.
All of the site's popular features remain intact across both Mac and PC operating systems, including the various Texas hold 'em tournament leaderboards for multi table and sit and go players and $100,000 guaranteed prize pool events every Sunday.
Mac compatible Texas Hold 'em Apps
Apple's line of iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices aren't technically classified as Mac products, as they use the iOS operating system rather than Mac OS.
You'd be hard pressed to convince any longtime Mac user of that gulf though, as most people who use Mac desktops and laptops also carry an iOS capable device in their pockets at all times.
For this reason, we've compiled capsules for a few of the best and brightest iOS compatible Texas hold 'em apps on the market today:PokerStars
Once again, the industry's titan was ahead of the curve on iOS adoption, rolling out its PokerStars mobile app all the way back in 2012.
Today, the European Poker Tour (EPT) and other series held outside of the U.S. regularly see players showing up to play live Texas hold 'em tournaments with iPad in hand. From there, these intrepid souls take the concept of multi-tabling to a whole new level, alternating between their live hands and PokerStars mobile games.
Once again, as PokerStars has been welcomed back to the U.S. market via New Jersey's regulated iGaming industry, players there have their own iOS app to utilize.888 Poker
As is usually the case, 888 Poker is ahead of the curve when it comes to iOS app capability - and has been since 2012.
You'll need iOS 6.0 or later for full compatibility, but once you're up and running, 888 Poker's full complement of Texas hold 'em tournaments, cash games, sit-and-go's and more are at your fingertips.PartyPoker
When Tom Waters, who serves as Group Head for PartyPoker, heard that players using the site's mobile app on iOS weren't receiving the same features as Android users, he quickly worked to rectify the situation:
"After the release of mobile-multi table on Android... I'm delighted that iOS users can now also experience these improvements.
The ability for people to play more than one table at a time was critical for us and I'm confident that our players will love the usability of the new mobile product."
Statements like this demonstrate PartyPoker's commitment to customer service across all of its related platforms - a great sign for Mac fans that are typically underappreciated when it comes to mobile online poker apps.
Even better, thanks to PartyPoker's entrance to the New Jersey regulated iGaming industry, anybody in the state can hop on the site's handy iOS app to take their Texas hold 'em action mobile.Ignition Poker
Unfortunately, fans of Ignition Poker who like to take their gaming on the go won't have access to Texas hold 'em tournaments when using the site's iOS app.
The app is compatible with iPhone 4 and up, along with iPad and Apple's related tablet devices, so you should be covered with most modern devices.
Ignition Poker is still in its infancy, having only launched last year, so players should be prepared for a slew of updates and patches as the company improves its iOS app down the road.
Mac Compatible Texas Hold 'em Play Money Sites and Apps
Most players get their kicks from wagering real money on their Texas hold 'em talent, but genuine gambling isn't for everyone.
Fortunately, a handful of well-established sites and apps out there specialize in "free play" or "play money" poker, allowing players to test their proverbial waters without touching their bankroll.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to poker, but not all of us can afford to back up bold bluffs with big bucks. That's where play money tables come in handy, as they allow for a certain sense of freedom to experiment with advanced strategies and creative plays.
Indeed, for many out there, the play money tables become a challenge to tackle in their own right, with skilled opponents standing in the way, "cash" games and tournaments that play out just like their real money counterparts and, of course, the thrill of victory when the pot is pushed your way.
Below, you'll find a few of our favorite Mac compatible poker destinations where play money reigns supreme:Zynga
By far the world's biggest play money poker site, Zynga released its first Texas hold 'em product back in 2007, and within two years, over 40 million users on Facebook were enjoying free play poker.
Zynga has grown by leaps and bounds in the intervening decade, moving to an astounding 350 million active users, but one thing that remains the same is the company's commitment to play money poker. Sure, the company has dipped its toes into real money functionality, but that is just a side project for the play money king.
You can also customize your avatar, using pics of your puppy or glamorous self-portraits, which provides a personalized touch. Thanks to this clever touch combined with a fun chat function, for most Zynga Poker veterans, the tables are more like a club than a forum for competition.
But that's not to say the Texas hold 'em action isn't intense. Building a play money bankroll up to billions of chips may sound like an easy task, but some of the sharpest players online are actually mixing it up on the Zynga Poker virtual felt. They take pride in playing as perfectly as possible, and even with no "consequences" attached to a lost pot, every hand is contested as seriously as you'd expect in a $2/$5 No Limit game on PokerStars.Club WPT
Brought to you by the fine folks at the World Poker Tour (WPT), Club WPT has been a staple of the play money poker circuit since 2008.
Over that span, millions of players have signed up and pursued their Texas hold 'em dreams of playing at a WPT televised final table - all without risking a dime in the games.
As a subscription based service, Club WPT isn't exactly free play poker, but for just $19.95 per month at the base tier, you can compete for a legitimate shot at playing a genuine WPT event.
When you collect every virtual chip onscreen in certain events, you may just stamp your ticket to a live WPT tournament as a Club WPT qualifier.
That's how Jason Kim managed to sit alongside World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event winners Ryan Riess and Joe McKeehen during the L.A. Poker Classic in 2016. And Kim didn't just show up and participate, he played his way deep into Day 2 to live every recreational player's dream come true.
All of the prizes aren't of the grand variety either, so you can grab payouts like free gallons of gas at affiliated locations, luxury watches and even a behind the scenes tour of the WPT set where Mike Sexton and Vince van Patten do their thing.
You can try Club WPT for two weeks free of charge, and trust us, after taking part in the trial, you'll be back for more of this world-class fusion of play money and prizes.Play WPT
Having pioneered the prizes via play money concept, albeit under a subscription plan, the WPT decided to take the full free-play plunge in 2016 with the release of Play WPT.
This mobile app combines all of the functionality that fans of Club WPT have come to expect with zero costs. The prize on the line for Play WPT participants is pride, and believe it or not, that can provide prime motivation for poker players.
Once you've customized an avatar and hopped in a tournament of "cash" game play, WPT will make you feel right at home - with even Mike, Vince, Tony Dunst and Lynn Gilmartin all making an appearance.
Your job as a Play WPT practitioner is simple - climb the points leader board by consistently outplaying your opponents. No matter what style of Texas hold 'em you're best at, tournaments or "cash" games, the leader board structure provides immediate incentive to improve.
Considering that exactly zero online poker platforms integrated Mac capability when the industry began booming, today's flourishing industry is an encouraging sign.
Players today are no longer forced to accept inferior products simply because they prefer Apple operating systems - and that's a good thing for everybody. After all, when Mac players are forced to sit on the sidelines, prize pools shrink, cash game liquidity dries up and the overall site experience suffers as a result.
Thanks to vocal lobbying by the Mac community and the proliferation of iOS mobile devices, today's top Texas hold 'em destinations are now available to players on either side of the PC/Mac divide.