Have you ever tried to find a Linux compatible poker site? It is no easy task. We have spent some time digging and listed all of the Linux-friendly online poker sites the world has to offer along with a brief review of each.
There's good news and bad news. Lets go ahead and get it out of the way now. The bad news is that there is no such thing as a native Linux poker client. Regardless of the popularity of Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Redhat, OpenSUSE or any other Linux distro, there are simply no commercially available real money poker sites who have taken the time to write software for them. The reason is almost certainly a business decision to cater to the masses rather than those crazy techies who run Linux! However, all hope is not lost. There are some sites that you can play on, and there are three ways to do so.
Method one is dual booting, but that's more of a cheat since we aren't utilizing the Linux OS this way.
Method two is running a Windows or Mac emulator, but this two is also a hack that could lead to performance issues on slower systems. Some programs that could help you pull this off include Wine (which is freeware), VMware and Win4Lin.
The final method is the invention of browser based poker software, often referred to as instant play poker software. This is how the various poker sites decided to offer poker to their fans using operating systems other than the standard Windows or Mac. These browser based packages run completely within your web browser and thus anyone on any operating system will have virtually the same experience. The down side is that most instant play software only allows for playing a single table at a time, so you wont be mass multi-tabling, but you shoudl be able to enjoy a nice cash game or tournament here and there. The following browsers are compatible with most Instant Play poker sites using Java or Flash based clients: Seamonkey, Konqueror, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.
In order to enable flash and silverlight compatibility in your Linux browser, we recommend Pipelight which is compatible with over a dozen popular distros.
Intertops - Silverlight based, this instant play browser software worked flawlessly for us. All cash games, tournaments and sit and goes were available for play using the browser based software. Multi-tabling, was smooth and efficient and the software looks strikingly similar to the downloadable versions that run on Windows and Macs. Half a dozen deposit and withdrawal methods for US players and over a dozen for rest-of-world players. Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals available as well. Browser based sportsbook and casino also available.
Grand Poker - One of the best flash based web clients we've ever seen. High number of hands per hour. Multi-tabling enabled. Smooth and responsive interface. Half a dozen deposit and withdrawal options for USA players and over a dozen for world-wide players. Supports bitcoin deposits and withdrawals for all players. Grand Poker, operated by the 5Dimes group, also has an excellent "reduced juice" sports book and online casino, all browser based.
Party Poker - One of the top 5 poker sites in the world with regard to cash game traffic, Party Poker also has Linux compatibility. Party Poker's advantage over other ROW sites such as PokerStars is that it has the easiest competition of the top 5 ranked poker sites. You have two choices with regard to playing Party Poker on your Linux box. Option one is using the Instant Play browser software, which is Java based. Option two is using Wine in order to emulate Windows and install the downloadable Windows poker client.
PokerStars - This is the world's largest poker site but alas, even they do not have a native Linux client. However, all that is required to play on PokerStars on a Linux system is the WINE 0.9.1 or later distribution available at WineHQ. Once you've set up Wine, Stars should run perfectly fine. So if you're looking for the largest tournaments and cash games available on the Internet, look no further than PokerStars.
888 - The second largest online poker site in the world also offers instant play poker. Though light on bonuses and VIP structure, there are decent quality games to be found on the site. Again there are two options for play here, the Instant Play browser software, which is Flash based and alternatively Windows emulation via Wine.
Another method of playing online poker via a Linux box is to use Chrome. Install Chrome for linux and you can then run any online poker site who has an Android app, inside the Chrome OS, securely and safely. Now of course, you will be running the dumbed down software available for Android devices and meant to be used on phones, but it will still be better than nothing. Some examples of sites that this will work on include Ignition and America's Cardroom, both of whom have very slick mobile poker clients that will work on Chrome running on a Linux machine.
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