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Less than a decade ago, mobile gamers barely were a blip on the radar of the online poker marketplace. Thanks to the explosion of the iPad and other mobile devices, online poker sites were forced to rethink their marketing strategies and sites slowly started to develop mobile poker apps.

Now there are literally thousands of online poker apps swarming the internet but few are even worth the time to download. Remember this – not all mobile poker apps are created equal. If you’re new to online poker and considering whether you want to download an app, here are five things to look for in an online poker app.

Ability to Deposit or Make Withdrawals Within App

One fact of mobile gaming frustrating man players in the past is the lack of funding options within the app itself. With some mobile poker apps, you must login to the physical client or go to the client website to make a deposit.

This is highly inconvenient for players, especially those in the middle of a session and need to reload immediately. That’s why you should pick a mobile poker app with the ability to make deposits and request withdrawals within the app itself. This will save you time, effort and possibly your seat in a really juicy game.

Cross Compatibility

apple logoLooking for an online poker app for Android? Great. There are plenty of them out there. But what happens if you drop your Android and then decide to buy an iPad? Will you still be able to play on your app?

When looking for an online poker app, check to make sure which devices are supported and whether they are cross compatible. This means that the app will work on Android, iPad or iPhone. If your app is only compatible with one type of device, you will be forced to switch sites should your device change to one that’s non-supported.

android logoThis is also a good spot to mention general compatibility. For those of you using older devices, you will want to double check and make sure your OS is supported by your online poker app. If you’re not sure what OS you’re running, you can do a Google search for instructions on how to find out or you can contact the support department for the app.

Multi-Tabling Capability

Many early online poker apps just allowed you to play at a single table. While that was better than nothing, that’s very restrictive to those wanting to build an online bankroll. That’s why you need to pick mobile poker apps that allow you to multi-table.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to open as many tables on your mobile device as you can on your standard PC. Four to eight tables at a time tends to be the norm for most online poker apps. While it may not be the same as playing 16 tables at a time, it will still allow you to improve your hourly win rate online.

Real Money Play

moneyThere are plenty of online poker apps out there that allow you to play poker for free and while that can be fun, your game will never develop at play money stakes. If you want to dramatically improve at poker, you have to play for real money.

Choose online poker apps that allow you the option to make a deposit and play for real money. Granted, your choices will be fewer but free money poker gets old quickly and does nothing to improve your bankroll.

Full Array of Gaming

How many times have you downloaded an online poker app that looked really cool just to discover that you could only play cash games on it, or worse still, only play in single table Sit & Go’s?

Online poker sites have learned mobile poker players want a full array of poker gaming offer on mobile poker apps. This means they want apps that feature cash games, single table tournaments, and multi-table tournaments. Players also want to be able to select from all available games in a particular format. This means that if there are 50 cash games running at one time, they want to be able to choose any of the available games, not a select few that have been “optimized” for mobile gaming.

If you’re looking for an online poker app, check to make sure what games are available and if there are any restrictions on those games. Apps offering the best spread of games are the ones that will have the best traffic.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.