The boffins in the partypoker technology team have devised poker software that does not require a powerful computer to run it. After all, you can even play partypoker via our Android and iOS apps and almost every computer out there has more power than most mobile phones or tablets.
It is important to have a solid base to build upon If you are looking to take your poker game to the next level. While it is your brain that is the most important tool when it comes to playing poker online, having a good computer setup, or grind station as we like to call it, can also be helpful for aspiring poker players.
Purchasing a new computer rig can be a daunting process thanks to the sheer number of different components you can buy and the vast number of specifications available when it comes to pre-built machines. Buying a new poker computer should be a far less complicated task by the time you have finished reading this guide.
Windows PC or Mac?
The first decision you are likely to face is whether to go down the route of a Windows-based PC or join the legions of Mac users. You’re likely to want to stay with Apple machines if you already use a Mac and will probably stay with a Windows PC if this is what you are used to.
It is mostly a matter of preference when it comes to choosing your operating system, but you should also consider that partypoker software updates are often released for Windows machines before Macs. This is not a bias towards one set of customers, it’s simply because almost 83 percent of the world uses Windows-based machines as of July 2018 compared to only 12.5 percent using Mac. It therefore makes sense to perfect updates for the platform that the vast majority of people use first.
Laptop or Desktop?
The next decision you are likely to make is whether to buy a laptop or a desktop computer; both have their positive and negative points.
Laptops are far more portable than a desktop; can you imagine having to lump your desktop to another room each time you wanted to play poker? This portability does come at a cost, however. You will often find laptops are far more expensive that desktop PCs when they have similar specifications.
Another feature to take into consideration is a laptop’s screen, which are far smaller than a typical computer monitor. Most modern laptops will have a good screen resolution – more on that a little later – but the size will be small, probably 15 inches. This will make the tables, cards, icons, everything in fact, much smaller and more difficult to see, which can be a strain on your eyes if you are playing for an extended period of time.
Desktop computers tend to be much easier to upgrade if you need to do that and the key components are cheaper if you plan to build your machine from scratch.
You should aim to have 16GB of RAM installed, although you could probably make do with 8GB. When it comes to your hard drive, consider forking out the little extra for a Solid State Hard Drive or SSD. These have no moving parts – think along the lines of the memory in your phone or table – so tend to be more reliable that a traditional disk drive, plus they boot up far quicker which is cool enough in itself to warrant buying one!
Some of poker’s elite players will only use a laptop in case of emergencies or if they are travelling. Having a desktop setup allows you to build a poker grind station in the optimal part of your home where you can have a desk, obviously, monitor or dual monitor setup, keyboard and mouse plus a high-quality chair rather than slumping on the sofa with the laptop on your knees.
It does make sense to have both a laptop and a desktop. Having both to hand helps if you experience a power cut or an internet outage. If either of these happen you can fire up your laptop and head somewhere that has power and internet without too much disruption. It also helps if you get caught short and need to make an impromptu toilet break before the scheduled break times!
It’s Not Only Monitor Size That Matters
We touched upon screen resolution earlier. Look for a monitor or laptop screen that is at least true HD. This means the screen displays at 1920 by 1080p. This will allow you to play on multiple tiled tables without much overlap, if multi-tabling is your thing.
Desktop users have a plethora of monitors to choose from and the size you go for is entirely up to you. Available space will be an obvious issue when it comes to deciding on your monitor, so bear that in mind if you are considering dual 40” 4K monitors! A sweet spot tends to be 27” with 1920×1080 or higher resolution as this will be big enough to use as a single monitor and two of them should fit on a standard-sized desk.
A Mechanical Keyboard
You’re only going to need to invest in a keyboard if you opt for a desktop computer and you may think you can cope with a cheap one off the shelf of your local supermarket. While it is true that online poker players won’t overly rely on a keyboard, a good gaming keyboard with mechanical buttons is the way forward.
This is because mechanical keyboards tend to last longer than they counterparts and the key stokes are deeper and more defined, which is great for when you’re typing in bet amounts and want to do so accurately.
Gaming keyboard usually have programmable hotkeys meaning you can set up a key combination to fold your hand, flip between tables or move all-in, making playing multiple tables a breeze.
Invest in a Quality Mouse
Whether you are in the process of deciding which desktop or laptop to purchase, make sure you invest in a high-quality mouse. Using a laptop’s touchpad will become tedious after a few minutes, especially with a handful of tiled tables on the go.
The mouse is going to be in your hand for extended periods if you are playing a long poker session, so having one that fits your hand perfectly is key. Don’t just buy an expensive mouse online, head to your local PC store and try some out. Is the mouse too heavy or too light? Is it comfortable? Does it have programmable buttons? Is it wired?
Gaming mice come in all shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find one that suits you with relative ease. A wired mouse is preferable as they don’t have any batteries that can run out during a key scenario and they tend to react a tad quicker than wireless mice.
If the mouse has programmable buttons, spend some time setting these up in a way that assists you at the tables. Buttons on the side of the mouse are ideal to fold or move all-in, for example. If your mouse has an adjustable DPI setting – essentially how sensitive it is – great because this is a sought-after feature especially if you have a large screen or multiple screens.
Pick Your Chair Carefully
It pays to pick your chair carefully because you could be sat it in for hours on end. Video games and poker players alike tend to opt for a style that is known as a racing seat. These are not too dissimilar to racing seats in a car.
Racing seats tend to be supportive in all the right places to keep you comfortable when using them for extended periods. Being comfortable is important because your energy levels and concentration levels will remain higher than they would if you develop an ache in the small of your back, for example. Like the mouse, go to a reputable distributor and try out several different chairs before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Back Up Internet
A computer or mobile aside, the one thing you need to play online poker is an internet connection. Even if your home internet connection is stable, it could still experience problems at any moment and disconnect you from your games.
Investing in a “wireless dongle” or mobile internet is a good idea because you can simply plug this into your computer or laptop and resume playing. You could also consider having two internet service providers supply your house as it is unlikely both a cable internet and a traditional telephone wire internet connection will break simultaneously; if they do, use the dongle mentioned earlier!
You don’t have to spend a small fortune on building a poker grind station, you just need to make sure that everything you plan to use suits what you need and how you will use it. If you play a dozen tables at once then a decent desktop could be the way ahead, but if you’re used to playing on one or two tables at a time a dual 30 inch monitor setup is probably going to be overkill!
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