Online poker is a hobby that’s enjoyed by untold millions of people around the world. Some play the game fairly casually via mobile apps, or on all-purpose laptops in their spare time. But the more serious hobbyists and the more successful players tend to have more elaborate setups. As with so many forms of online gaming, having the right equipment and materials in place can ultimately make a significant difference — both in enriching the experience in general and in making gamers more successful.
With that in mind we’re going to look into some of the factors and decisions that go into creating the optimal PC or laptop setup for playing online poker.
An OS You Prefer
There are some types of online games that may work better on one operating system or another, and which can thus influence which brand or specific model you turn to for gaming. Online poker platforms, however — even the good ones — simply aren’t as demanding. So, if you’re choosing an actual laptop or PC to start from scratch with, it’s best to focus on the brand and OS you’re most comfortable with. That will make for the best experience, and shouldn’t have much if any bearing on site performance.
1. Adequate RAM
What might make a difference in how a poker site performs on your PC or laptop is RAM. The good news is that 16GB is considered adequate RAM for gaming, at least of this kind. Some online gamers will splurge for more, and in some cases — for particularly large and complex games — 32GB can be necessary. But with 16GB of RAM most video games will work smoothly on your computer. Frankly, for the majority of online poker options, you might even get by with 8GB. But 16GB is a good choice if you want to ensure that you won’t experience any kind of lag during games.
2. An SSD
If you’ve never really looked into computer builds or gaming optimization before, the idea of choosing a particular type of hard drive might be relatively foreign to you. However, you do actually have two primary options: HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive). Generally speaking the SSD is considered the more capable, high-tech option. An HDD will still handle most basic needs just fine, but as one comparison of the hard drives put it, an SSD can help programs run more quickly. There are additional benefits as well, but that one alone is enough reason to invest in an SSD for your online poker activity. While adequate RAM decreases the likelihood of lag and delays, an SSD will ensure smooth and efficient performance throughout gaming sessions.
3. Personal Comfort
Beyond computer specs, you’ll also want to focus on your own personal comfort for gaming. Certain poker games can go on for a while, and the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable while you’re focusing on an important hand or a big pot. As to how you go about optimizing your comfort, it’s really a matter of personal preference and priority. From an equipment standpoint, you’ll want to ensure that any mouse or keyboard you’re using suits you well, and that you’re comfortable in your gaming chair for — potentially — hours at a time. Any additional steps (room temperature control, extra cushions, etc.) are up to you!
4. Game Aids
One reason some gravitate toward online poker in the first place (as opposed to in-person game) is that it’s easier to use helpful resources while playing. At the very least, you might want to incorporate a tab or a note application featuring regularly used poker terms into your setup. Beyond this, you can download a poker hands rankings chart to have at your disposal, or even bookmark resources that list the approximate odds for different scenarios. Advanced players may not need all of these things, but the average player can benefit from having information on hand. Furthermore, referencing these materials will actually help you learn the game more effectively.
5. Game Tracking
Another way to improve as you play is to track your game decisions and results so that you can look back and see what you’ve done well or poorly. The simplest way to do this is to have a note-taking application open when you play and saved on your computer, such that you can jot things down in whatever way makes the most sense to you as you play. However, you can also explore the option of using a screen recorder so that you can go back and watch whole hands or games. It’s a little bit studious for the casual player, but plenty of successful poker players make a habit of recapping their performances and drawing insight from them.
Through these steps, you can set up your PC or laptop for poker gaming with optimal performance, personal comfort, and even a bit of assistance that will improve your skill. All in all it’s a pretty easy setup, and it will make your online poker experience much more satisfying.