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No Download Poker: For When You Can’t Download a Poker Site’s Software
Let me ask you a question – what’s one of the first steps you take when you want to play online poker?
You download a poker site’s software, right?
But what if you can’t download the software? What if you don’t want to? Do you just not get to play?
No, not at all. What you need to do is find a no download poker site. These are poker rooms with special software that allow you to play from your browser instead of a download on your computer.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of no download, browser or instant play poker rooms, you’ll want to read this entire page. We cover the pros, cons and how to get started.
However, if you already know about these poker sites – all you’re looking for is a legit poker room to join – then I encourage you to check out our recommended sites below.
Note: Before you visit one of these rooms, you’ll want to make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Flash or Java. And you’ll want to be using a major browser that supports both. We recommend Chrome or Safari.
Once you hit the (poker room’s) website, here’s the process you’ll take to hit the real money tables fast:
Find the no download or instant play link. You’ll find this on the software page, but often the poker room will put it right underneath their sign up or download button, too. 888 Poker does this.
Create your account. You’ll find the link to do that right underneath their log-in form. Here you’ll give them your name, email, address, phone number, screen name and password.
Confirm your account and log in. Most rooms will send you an email once you created an account. You’ll want to open this email and click the link. This will confirm your account. Next, log in.
Make a deposit. Find the cashier button (located in the lobby or in the top navigation). Choose the banking option that works best and follow the steps. We recommend using a credit/debit card or e-wallet for the fastest payment.
Remember that most deposit bonuses are good ONLY on your first deposit. If you plan to take advantage of that, be sure to deposit as much as you can.
Choose your game, sit down and play.
That’s all there is to it. It’s nearly identical to the (download) sign up process.
What Not to Worry About
When it comes to new or different technology, like no download poker rooms, people tend to worry about how different the new technology will be. Can they do or have the same things?
However, you’ll find that instant play poker sites are almost identical to the room’s download. That means you don’t have to worry about things like:
Bonuses and other types of promotions are available to all players. It doesn’t matter if you play through the download, no download or from your mobile device.
You’ll have all the same banking options and limits available in the download.
No download poker sites are just as safe as the download. When in doubt, you can look at your browser bar – if you see a ‘https’ and/or a lock icon, your information is safe.
However, there’s only so much a poker site can do to protect you. One of the benefits to playing at no download poker sites is being able to play from any computer. So, if you use a public computer, you’ll want to be sure to log out so no one can access your player account / bankroll.
While I can’t guarantee every game and stake will be available at the site you want to play at, you should have all the same options available in the download. That means both cash games and tournaments. That includes speed poker. That includes SNGs. That includes free games, micro limits, mid and high stakes.
So long as you have an updated version of Java and/or Adobe (it’s a good idea to have both), and an updated version of your browser (to also make sure you’re compatible with HTML5), you won’t need to install anything. All you need is your computer and a moderately fast internet connection.
Free / Real Money
You’ll have the same options to play for either real money or free in the no download room.
See? Nothing to worry about. So let’s look at the reasons why you should consider playing no download poker.
No Download Poker Benefits
Here are several reasons why you should play no download poker.
This is why I’d choose to play no download poker. You’re not anchored to one computer. You can play from any computer so long as it’s connected to the internet. You can play at work. You can play from the library. You can play from an internet café. You can play from a friend’s house.
The only way this might work against you is if you try to play from a location that’s not allowed.
More specifically, you won’t be weighing your computer down with a bunch of files. Take it from me, having two or four poker downloads on your computer will start to slow it down ESPECIALLY if your computer isn’t brand new. You also avoid malware and viruses.
Mac / Linux Friendly
One of the primary reasons – or, at least it was a couple years ago – poker rooms made a no download version is so that Mac and Linux users could play without having to dual boot or use emulators.
Updates are a good thing. When I played on PokerStars, I loved how they updated their software every few days or weeks. It means they were adding new stuff, fixing bugs, or fixing potential holes that hackers could otherwise breach.
However, it’s still an inconvenience having to wait for the new software to download and install. If it doesn’t, you’re that much more susceptible to viruses and vicious attacks. No download poker sites eliminate this altogether.
There are a couple exceptions while I’ll address in the ‘drawbacks’ section. But playing from a no download poker site is private. There’s no download for people to find. If someone comes around your computer, you can just switch tabs or minimize your browser. When you’re done you simply log out (and clear your browser).
Now, while there’s no doubt there’s many reasons to play on no download poker sites, there are some drawbacks as well. You might want to know what these are – especially if you don’t have to play on one.
No Download Poker Drawbacks
Here are some reasons why you might avoid no download poker sites.
If you’re wanting to keep your poker private, playing from a no download poker room does leave footprints. There are 2 big footprints you’ll want to remember.
The first is your browser history. You’re playing from your browser, so obviously this will be recorded. But you can fix that by playing in incognito mode (Chrome), or whatever similar option your browser offers. You can also delete your browser history.
The second is the Java web start file. This isn’t a problem if you have other apps that use Java, but that’s unlikely. So, you’ll want to locate this (do a quick search using your computer’s search bar) and delete it. You can also uninstall Java.
I’ve seen reports that Chrome isn’t supporting Java anymore because of security issues.
I’ve also seen reports of Java and Flash being discontinued, at least for certain tasks or in certain situations. You can read about Java here and Adobe Flash here.
The only reason I list this as a drawback is because it might become a (minor) inconvenience down the road. You might not need them to play poker (although Flash will still be used for games, video, banners, etc.).
But there’s an upside in this.
Most poker rooms -if they haven’t already- will likely move to using HTML5 for their no download poker rooms. There are many benefits to this, namely mobile and wider browser compatibility.
This is similar to online casinos. Some (no download) poker rooms will leave out certain features or options that you’d otherwise have in the download.
This is hit or miss depending on where you play. But the most common features/options left out are:
Multi-Tabling – You won’t be able to play as many tables simultaneously.
Resizing Tables – Because you’re playing from a browser window, resizing tables is a bit harder to do. That’s because the window will get bigger or smaller instead of the table. That said, the few no download sites I’ve played on (BetOnline) there was no problem making the tables smaller (for multi-tabling). What I did notice is that I couldn’t tile them.
Instant Hand Replay – This option is often left out.
Many people assume that browser poker rooms are accessible from your phone or tablet. Makes sense – if you can access the browser, you should be able to access a browser poker site.
That’s not true though because many, if not most current mobile devices aren’t compatible with Java or Adobe Flash without being jailbroken (which voids any warranties you have, and can cause problems if you don’t’ know what you’re doing).
This isn’t a major problem, though. You can simply play through an app or at an HTML5 poker room.
Those are the bulk of the drawbacks. I think they’re minor issues – certainly not enough to stop me from playing from my browser. Most drawbacks are solvable in one way or the other anyway, or are nothing to worry about right now.
No download poker sites are a good choice if you don’t want to bog your computer down with files and/or you simply want the flexibility of playing poker from any computer connected to the internet.
For some people – like those running on Macs or Linux operating systems – these are your only choice.
If you have the choice of downloading software, especially if you play lots of tables, run other poker software or otherwise want/need the additional features most rooms have, I do recommend downloading the poker sites’ software eventually.
But no download sites are a great backup if you are without your computer or simply don’t care about those features. Or, if you want to just check out a room before committing to the download.
Whatever your situation, no download poker sites are at least worth checking out. We highly recommend them.