The online poker industry brings in billions of pounds in revenue each year and it is an important part of the gambling sector as a whole. Since the early days of online play back in 2001, the market has grown exponentially and the biggest operators can claim over £100 million as their share of the pot.
All of this clearly means that there are more people playing online poker than ever before and those players need to enjoy the best possible experience. As part of that quest for perfection, the issue of the setup is a prime consideration.
Much has been made about mobile poker play in recent years. The ability to download an app or play at a dedicated mobile site has introduced more players and, in turn, they have helped to boost that overall revenue.
That’s all very positive but, many serious online poker players regard mobile play as ‘just a bit of fun’. To really succeed at the online tables, it’s all about playing poker on desktop and that means optimising your PC to assist you in the best possible way. Those who rely on desktop computers as part of their everyday employment are continually being told to address and optimize their workstation and, if you are going to take online poker seriously, you need to do the same.
Those that have built their workspaces to the optimum levels refer to these as Grinding Stations and that’s the terminology that we will use as we work through this review.
The first point to consider is whether you can compete with one PC or, if a multiple set of devices will help to give you the edge. There is a choice of poker providers, many of whom will allow you to sit at more than one table so it’s all down to personal preference. If you can multitask and focus on several games at once, a second desktop computer may be the answer. Alternatively, multiple tabs across a second or third browser may be able to do the job.
Our review intends to provide options for all budgets, but the question of a second PC is something to keep in mind.
Sound and Vision
Whether you’re playing in a traditional online casino or if you’ve crossed into one of the live rooms, you’ll find that the software used is simply stunning. Operators have worked hard to provide players with the best possible experience so don’t waste that opportunity by entering a room with poor equipment.
Starting with graphics, your PC may already be up to the task but experienced players with more than a basic understanding of hardware and software have made specific recommendations. A graphics card with Dual DVI Video outputs is desirable and it should have a minimum of 512 megabytes DDR3 RAM memory.
Sharp graphics are essential in order to follow patterns of play and to react without any delays to the flop, the turn and the river. By comparison, it may not be as vital to have especially sharp sound but it will certainly be useful to hear the dealer clearly and also any players – particularly if you are playing in a live casino room. The advice here is to focus on graphics first and only go into any expense of investing in expensive sound upgrades if there is any muffling or distortion – which is unlikely.
The true poker grinder will have a set up dedicated to their craft, but this can be taxing on their equipment. In order to keep pace with heavy usage, experienced online players suggest having 4 Gig of RAM set aside just for poker.
The CPU is another integral part of the operation and an Intel Core Duo 2 is one that the professionals tend to use. It’s all very technical but this is important stuff at an advanced level. However, for all players of any standing, it’s important to cover a few essentials.
Back to Basics
We’ve discussed some very technical points so far but if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to this type of upgrade, you can still make a difference by looking at some basic requirements.
First of all, you should consider the type of monitor that you have laid out in front of you. Remember, it’s essential that you can easily follow all of the action on the table and with that in mind, there are two key elements. In this instance, size is important, but this factor needs to be backed up by high-res images. The perfect combination of the two will set you on your way and many of those who have been here before have recommended a 27 inch screen backed by 1920 x 1080 p resolution.
Depending on your level of expertise, you can combine all, or just some of this information when setting up your poker grinding station. Whatever you decide, it is important to take this on board in a game where high stakes can be won by the finest of margins.