Real Money Texas Holdem for Android Mobile

Over the years, the Android Smartphone has become more and more popular. We love those little touch screens and all the amazing things they can do, and for many of us, the Smartphone has, in large part, actually replaced our home desktop/laptop computers. An estimated 10% of modern civilization uses an Android powered mobile device or tablet, and if we combine those stats with the number of online poker fans in the world, well… let’s just say there’s a LOT of people out there who would love to play real money Texas Holdem on an Android.

Of all the research I’ve done on the matter, the biggest problem of all isn’t that online poker sites aren’t producing Android poker apps. In fact, quite a large number of top-tier poker rooms have done so. Unfortunately, they lack one crucial aspect that can be an instant deal-breaker for many. They only support play-money poker games; there’s no option to place real money on the tables.

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A prime example would be PokerStars. It’s the biggest, most popular poker room in the entire world, averaging in excess of 7x more active players than its nearest competitor, but if you want to play PokerStars on Android mobile devices or tablets, you won’t be able to play for real money.

“Why not?” you ask. Imagine the number of players PokerStars would draw if they added real money tables on its mobile poker app. The results would be astonishing! Then again, if you’ve played any one of the millions of free game apps developed for Smartphones, you will probably agree on this point. Those touch-screens are super finicky!

How many times have you gone to press a button on the screen and your fingertip hit the wrong spot? Have you seen the size of a bet slider on an Android mobile device? It’s miniscule, and if you don’t hit it just right, consider how much money you could accidentally wager if you were playing Texas Holdem for real money. Maybe you bet way to low with the nuts in hand, or you meant to fold but accidentally bet the pot size? Ouch!

Okay, so there are upsides and downsides to playing poker on Android Smartphones. So long as you understand the dangers, and spend a good deal of time playing the practice tables first, it’s not that hard to get used to. I’ve been playing for a few months now at Switch Poker, and I haven’t had any problems. I will say that playing on my 17” Asus laptop is more appealing and rich with extra features, but when I’m on the go, my Android does the trick just fine.

For the record, you will also find real money poker games for Android at sites like 888 Poker, Red Kings Poker and Terminal Poker, but having tested them all to some extent, Switch Poker gets my vote, hands down. Let’s take a closer look at what this Android poker room has to offer.

Switch Poker was specifically designed to be a mobile poker room, targeting Android and Apple iOS, although they do present standard online poker tables as well. It first launched its Android poker app in December of 2011, and in the beginning it was good, but it got a whole lot better in December of 2012. A new release of the poker app features lots of great additions, like auto-top-up, pot-size bets and the ability to check/fold before action is on you. Perhaps best of all was the increase in alacrity. More speed is always a good thing when it comes to technology.

As a proprietary software platform, you never know what to expect when you get started with a new poker app, but these guys did an exceptional job; mostly attributed to the fact that Switch Poker’s primary focus is mobile poker, whereas all other poker sties focus on their internet portal, ostensibly treating their mobile tables as an after-thought.

If you want to try Switch Poker, you’ll be glad to know that most regional players are accepted. Unfortunately, USA players aren’t among them. In fact, to date and to the best of my knowledge (which is pretty extensive), there is no real-money Android poker app for USA players. See the T&C for a full list of Switch Poker’s restricted territories.

There are a few basic steps involved in accessing the virtual tables at Switch Poker. You’ll need to have an Android OS 1.6 or better, but the odds are heavily in your favor that if you have an Android, it’s at or above a v1.6. Now go into your Smartphone’s ‘Settings’, tap ‘Applications’ and make sure the check mark is lit up next to ‘Unknown source’.

Now, visit the website on your Android device and click that cute little R2D2-esque button that says ‘Android Download’. When it finishes, click on the download package and choose to install it on your device. When it’s done, tap ‘Open’ to launch the application. When the lobby screen appears, you will have the option to login or register a new account, and to select real money or play money tables. It’s all self-explanatory from that point on.