Mac and Linux online poker
Historically, Macintosh and Linux users have made up an extremely small portion of the poker playing demographic. In recent years however, more and more players have made the switch from Windows to Mac or Linux, and the poker rooms have been forced to take notice. Many poker rooms these days support both the Mac and Linux platforms in some way, be it via a downloadable program of a web-based client. Below, we will outline the best rooms that support Mac and Linux operating systems, and list any software that might be required to run online poker rooms.
It used to be the case that only a few poker rooms offered Mac and Linux clients. Times have changed- now, almost all major rooms offer at least a Mac client, and many support Linux as well. The following rooms offer both Mac and Linux support via web-access poker room clients:
1) Full Tilt Poker
2) Party Poker
3) Pacific Poker
5) Carbon Poker
The largest rooms on the web, Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, offer downloadable Mac poker clients. These are fully functional applications that resemble the Windows-based downloadable clients. Although these downloadable clients are top-notch, they are only available for Mac OS- Poker Stars and Full Tilt do not offer Linux support.
Installing and Using the Poker Rooms on Mac and Linux Systems
All you need to run a web-based poker room is the Java plug in. If you’re running a Linux system, your browser should already have either the latest version of Java installed, or Java Virtual Machine (JVM). If you don’t think you have Java installed on your browser, that’s fine- click here to get the latest version. Mac users can download Mac OS Runtime for Java (MRJ 2.2.5) from Apple here.
Mac users have the option of downloading and installing Java on a third party browser, as described above, or simply using the browser that comes in Mac OS- Safari. Safari comes pre-loaded with Java, and will run all online poker rooms, no-hassle. Firefox also does the job- as a matter of fact, most any modern browser should do the trick.
Using Windows-Based Poker Rooms on a Mac
Some rooms, such as Cake Poker and Ultimate Bet, do not offer any Mac software at all. If you really want to play on a Windows-only room, it can be done. You’ll just need to follow a few extra steps. You can download and use windows-based poker rooms on your Mac in one of three ways:
- Using an emulator such as Virtual PC
- Installing Windows on a separate disk partition using Boot Camp
- Running Windows as a program in itself from within Mac OS, using Parallels
Virtual PC is a Windows emulator- it mimics the functions of the Windows operating system, allowing a Mac user to access and run Windows programs. Virtual PC is a good way to add Windows functionality to your computer if you are not using an Intel-based Mac. If you are using an Intel-based Mac, Virtual PC will not work with your system- you will need to use either Boot Camp or Parallels. You can find the latest version of Virtual PC here.
Apple’s Boot Camp is a system utility that allows you to partition your hard drive, or split it into multiple sections, and install Windows on one portion of it. Boot Camp comes included by default with all Intel-based Macs, all Macs running the Leopard operating system (Mac OSX 10.5), and with the Leopard operating system itself. If you have one of these items, you have Boot Camp.
All you’ll need in addition to Boot Camp to bring Windows functionality to your Mac is a copy of Windows itself. Simply run the Boot Camp installer, partition your drive, and follow the on-screen instructions to get your Windows installation set up. Once installed, you will have the option in your System Preferences pane to boot up your computer using either Mac OS, or Windows. If you want to play on a Windows-based poker room (or run any Windows programs for that matter), simply boot up your Mac on the Windows partition, and enjoy. Read more about Boot Camp here.
Parallels is an application that allows you to run Windows as a program in itself from within Mac OS. Parallels differs from Boot Camp in that it does not require you to constantly restart your computer whenever you want to switch operating systems. The benefit to this is the obvious ease of use and efficiency. The drawback is that the program uses up a lot of system resources- if you’re planning on running lots of Windows programs at the same time, you may be better off using Boot Camp.
You’ll need a copy of Windows to install on your machine in addition to your Parallels installer. Once you’re up and running, all you need to do to start up windows is click on the Parallels icon on your dock. Windows will pop up, and you’ll be able to download and run Windows-based poker software without even having to restart. Parallels is available for purchase here.
Mac and Linux Compatible Poker Rooms
Now that you have learned the basics of playing poker on a Mac, I welcome you to investigate a more in-depth Mac poker guide. Mac Poker Online has been working for several years on compiling detailed data. If you're a Mac user, then you should definitely check out their poker site.