These days, the online poker industry has made great strides in accommodating Mac players. Most poker rooms at least offer an “instant play” version, which enables both Mac and PC/Windows users to play directly through their browser. Some of the more advanced sites have even included downloadable software for Macintosh players as well.
Unfortunately, not every online poker room is equipped to handle Mac users. In fact, there are still a large number of sites that only cater to PC players. Assuming you’re a Mac user who’s interested in playing at a PC-only room – whether it be for their soft games, big bonuses, etc. – we’ve described some of the various ways that you can use a Windows emulation program to play at these sites.
Play at Bovada Poker – a now Mac Friendly Poker Room!
They also include sports, casino, and racing within the same account for US players!
For non-US players, Play online at 888Poker, which has great traffic, fish, and games – not to mention a broad selection of other channels to enjoy, such as sports, casino, bingo, etc – all Mac Friendly!
What is a Windows Emulation Program?
One reason why certain poker rooms are not equipped to handle Macintosh players is because Microsoft Windows ruled back in the early days of internet poker. Only PC players with the Windows operating system were able to run online poker software, which totally left Mac users out of the equation.
But as we discussed before, times have changed in the poker world – although operating systems have remained the same. PC still runs Windows OS while Mac runs “OS X.” Taking this into account, the main way that a Mac user can play poker at a PC-only room is through the use of a Windows emulation program.
As you may have guessed from the name, a Windows emulator enables you to run this operating system via a non-PC computer; for our purposes, this is a Mac. Now that we’ve covered what a windows emulator is, let’s move on to some of the different emulation options you have in regards to online poker.
Basics of Parallels
One of the oldest and most popular Windows emulators is Parallels, and it’s widely used by Mac poker players. The reason why many players love Parallels is that it enables them to run both Windows and OS X at the same time – thus allowing people to switch back and forth between the two. Going further, anybody who wants to use iChat and other Mac programs can do so while also playing online poker. But do keep in mind that, because both Windows and OS X are running simultaneously, your computer will most likely run slower.
How to set Parallels up
Step 1: The first step to using Parallels involves purchasing the product, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it in stores or online; keep in mind that there’s a free trial too. You should also have a licensed copy of the Windows OS you wish to use.
Step 2: Next, you’ll need to download Parallels to your Mac. This is a fairly self-explanatory process because you’ll be guided through the download and installation.
Step 3: Once the product has finished installing, a window will pop up with several icons listed. At this point, you merely need to double-click the Parallels icon to get things started.
Step 4: With Parallels up and running, you’ll now see an OS Installation Assistant; here you click “Typical” and “Next.”
Step 5: The following step will ask you to select the OS type and OS version you want. For example, you might choose “Windows” and “Windows XP” for these two options.
Step 6: The final task is to insert the installation disk you want to use (Windows XP in our example) and click finish. This will enable you to start up the Windows instillation process on your Mac, and subsequently play online poker.
For non-US players, Play online at 888Poker
Using Boot Camp
Basics of Boot Camp
This is another very popular program that enables people to run Windows on their Mac. Poker players especially appreciate Boot Camp because, on average, it runs poker room software at a faster speed than Parallels. The downside to Boot Camp is that players must reboot their computer to run Windows – rather than simply switching back and forth like with Parallels. Before you undergo the installation process we’ve listed below, make sure you have Mac OS X 10.5 or later and Mac OS X Leopard.
How to set Boot Camp up
Step 1: To begin, you need to log into your computer’s administrator account and quit any programs that are currently running. From here, you should open Boot Camp Assistant; assuming you have the program, it’s located under /Applications/Utilities/.
Step 2: With Boot Camp Assistant now open, you can create a partition for Windows on an internal disk without erasing your current Mac OS X system. Assuming your Mac contains multiple internal disks, you should select the “Creating a Partition on a Computer with Multiple Internal Disks” option. If you’ve selected this choice, you can either “create a second partition for Windows” or “erase a non-startup disk and create a second partition for Windows.”
Step 3: Provided you have a Windows installation disk, it’s time to install this OS on your Mac. With Boot Camp open, you can select “Start the Windows Installer.” Now you can insert your Windows disk and select “Start Installation.” Once your computer begins installing Windows, you can follow the onscreen instructions.
Step 4: At some point during the onscreen instructions, you’ll be asked to select the correct partition so as to avoid overwriting Mac OS X. For Windows XP, you need to choose “C: Partition3 (FAT32).” For Windows Vista, you need to select “Disk 0 Partition 3 BOOTCAMP.”
Step 5: Now you’ll need to choose the format for the Windows partition. When formatting the Windows XP partition, you can either select “NTFS” (better reliability, but can’t save Windows files from Mac OS X) or “FAT” (allows you to read/write Windows files from Mac OS X). When formatting Windows Vista, you can click “Drive options (advanced),” choose Format, and click OK.
Step 6: The last step involves installing the Boot Camp drivers. To do this, you need to eject the Windows disc and put a Mac OS X disc into your computer. From here, onscreen instructions will appear and you need to follow them to install the aforementioned drivers.
For non-US players, Play online at 888Poker
Basics of VMware
VMware is very similar to Parallels in that you can run both OS X and Windows simultaneously. Seeing as how VMware and Parallels do pretty much the same thing, many online poker players wonder what separates them in terms of performance. The truth is that there are varying opinions on both emulation programs and no clear-cut winner in this debate. However, VMware Fusion (latest version) is more expensive than Parallels, which is certainly something to consider. But if you’re a Mac user who’s set on trying VMware Fusion for online poker, take a look at our steps on setting it up.
How to set VMWare up
Step 1: If you’ve got the VMware Fusion product, you can start the installation process by clicking its icon in the applications folder. Once the VMware window pops up, you select “New” to start the New Virtual Machine Assistant.
Step 2: With the New Virtual Machine Assistant now available, the next step is to click “Continue” to begin the process. You’ll also need to select the operating system you’re going to install – i.e. Windows XP Professional.
Step 3: Once you’ve chosen a folder to store your Windows OS, it’s time to configure the settings for your Windows hard drive. The purpose of this is to define the maximum amount of space that can be used by Windows.
Step 4: Next, we recommend using the “Windows Easy Install” feature, which requires your name, password and Windows Product Key. By doing this, you avoid lots of additional tasks that are meant for computer gurus.
Step 5: With the final step, you can insert your Windows CD and click “Finish.” From here, Windows will begin installing on your Mac and be available for use shortly thereafter.
For non-US players, Play online at 888Poker
Basics of VPN
Up to this point, we’ve discussed Windows emulation programs that enable Mac users to play online poker at PC-only rooms. That said, a virtual private network (VPN) is quite different because it’s a way of interconnecting remote networks through the internet. The big reason why poker players use VPN’s is because they want to hide their IP address and convince poker rooms that they’re in a different location. Going further, they want to gain access to a poker site that’s illegal in their area, which we don’t recommend because funds could be seized if caught.
Another reason for using a virtual private network is so that you can connect a Mac to a Windows-based VPN. Subsequently, this enables you to download software for a PC-only online poker room. And while this is a less practical way of playing at PC poker sites through a Mac, it’s still worth looking at more closely.
How to set VPN up
Step 1: Begin by going to “System Preferences” and select “Network.” Once you’re on this page, you need to click the + sign in the lower left-hand corner to add a new connection.
Step 2: Now you need to select VPN as the interface; following this, you choose the VPN type, give it a name, and click “Create.”
Step 3: The next step is to select your VPN connection and enter the server address and username. You’ll of course need to know these ahead of time before entering them.
Step 4: The final part of this process includes authenticating your password by typing it again and clicking OK. When this is finished, you can choose apply and you’ll be connected.
Now that you know how to play poker online with a Mac at PC only rooms, you can go in and play at big gambling site names such as:
Obviously, with or without any of these tools, you can should be able to play poker at any of our recommended poker rooms – as for casino, don’t worry, all our recommended casino sites are Mac and PC friendly 🙂