UPDATE: As of October 8, 2010, iPad and iPhone users will be able to use their products to play poker for real money at Switch Poker. Although the software is still in its early stages and has substandard graphics, it runs smoothly and should provide iPhone and iPad users with a flawless experience.
Ever since Apple’s iPad product launch, users have been mesmerized by the iPad mobile device’s clean and simple interface. While its touch screen interface is not perfect for all uses, one thing it truly excels at is games. This has led many poker players to wonder whether or not they can play poker at real-money poker sites on the iPad. The answer is yes and no.
First, there are no official applications for playing real-money poker in the iPad or iPhone app stores. It is unclear whether any poker sites have submitted apps for review, but Apple has a strict policy against gambling apps in their store, so any submitted apps would almost certainly be denied. Common sense dictates that online poker sites would love to allow iPad and iPhone users to play real-money games, but their hands are currently tied.
This leaves two main options for iPad users: jailbreaking and remote desktop apps. Jailbreaking is the process of “unlocking” the software of an iPad, allowing it to run apps that have not been approved by Apple directly. There is an entire store devoted to jailbreak apps (called Cydia), and there are even many paid apps for users with jailbroken apps. So far, none of the major poker sites have created apps for the Cydia store, as they are possibly worried about security concerns. If the device can be unlocked so easily, it might be easy to find an exploit for cheating. There is still a strong possibility that some sites will create apps for jailbroken devices in the future, however.
The other option for iPad users is to use a process called remote desktop. Remote desktop applications allow a user to access a second computer remotely, viewing its desktop, programs, and files as if they were sitting in front of the computer itself. Of course, in the case of the iPad, this requires another Mac or Windows computer to make this work, at which point it might be easier to use the other computer instead. Stay tuned for a writeup of the remote desktop process soon. (Now available HERE)
Currently, there is no official way to play on the most popular online poker sites with an iPad, but with remote desktop apps, users have a workaround for the time being, and the jailbreaking community offers hope that a better solution may be right around the corner.