Mobile gambling looks like it will be the next big platform for online poker play in the near future. The idea is simple – allow customer to play poker for real money while they wait in line at the pharmacy, take a break at work, or just sit anywhere they can access the Web.

Fully-mobile poker for real money is a relatively new phenomenon, but innovation in both hardware and software means that the mobile market has quickly caught up to traditional Web-based gaming. It’s easy to imagine the majority of online poker taking place on smartphones and tablet devices in the near future.

Here are details on five of the most popular mobile poker sites currently available.

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Note: for the most part, this list focuses on US-friendly mobile poker sites. Plenty of other options exist, but they’re aimed at people outside of my jurisdiction, which is the United States.

The Five Best Mobile-Friendly Poker Sites

    • Bovada

Compatible with iPads, tablet computers, and iPhone 4 or later, the Bovada mobile experience is also Android friendly. Once you create an account, all you need to do is visit their mobile URL. From there, you can start playing without any hassles or downloads. A full range of cash games is available, and you can even make deposits and withdrawals by clicking on your screen.

The site offers Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, and Omaha Hi/Lo. As far as limitations go, you’ll only be able to play at one table at a time. You’re also restricted to Zone Poker, which is an innovation that immediately transfers a folded player to another table where a new hand is about to be dealt.

    • Carbon Poker

Compatible with any mobile device, this site has been in operation since 2006 and still accepts players from the United States. Once you’ve created a free account on their desktop client, head over to their mobile URL and you’ll be ready to get started. In addition to Fixed Limit and No Limit Texas Hold’em, you also be able to enjoy innovative tournaments such as Knockouts or Double or Nothing. The game speed can also be set on three different levels: regular, turbo, and hyper turbo.

While deposits can be made via mobile, you’ll need to get on their regular site to request a withdrawal. Only one table can be played at a time, and hand histories are not yet available to customers.

    • PokerStars

While I want to focus on sites that accept American players, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest and most well-known poker destination on the Internet. While they’re currently out of the U.S. market, sharks and fishes in other parts of the world can still enjoy all they have to offer. Thanks to their mobile app, you can compete against millions of other players on using your iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

Due to the site’s overall popularity, PokerStars has a unique array of games to play around with. One of my favorites is the ability to create a personalized tournament, where you and a select group of friends can compete with custom buy-ins, rebuys, and blind levels. I have a British pal who uses this feature all the time, and he takes great delight in thrashing his co-workers and brother-in-law. A download is required to get started, but it’s easy to obtain at the iTunes online store. From there, you can play poker, watch PokerStars TV, and even enjoy episodes of the European Poker Tour.

    • Sportsbook Poker

This site opened in 2006 and became notable for only accepting players from the United States and Canada. This is a great place to find inexperienced players, as most wind up on the site while looking for casino or sportsbook action. Mobile players can choose from an instant or downloadable option, and signing up also gives you access to sportsbetting, a racebook, and their suite of casino games. Your poker options are divided into three categories: tournaments, sit and go, and cash games. A handy screen lists all upcoming games, including the types of poker, number of current players, and buy-in amount. I’m partial to their $125K Sunday Big Ticket, although the cash prizes have eluded me to this point.

    • Borgata Online Casino

Whether or not you’re a resident of New Jersey, as long as you’re within the state’s borders you can enjoy mobile poker with the Borgata app, available for all Android and Apple products. Keep in mind that this only applies in New Jersey, as recent laws allow legal online gambling to anyone within the borders of the state who play at a licensed casino or poker room. You can download the necessary app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod device by visiting the iTunes store. Android users are also welcome, and there’s even a helpful section that provides details on installation.

Both deposits and withdrawals can be made from your mobile device, and fans of ring game should find more than enough options to meet their needs. Borgata uses an option known as Fast Forward Poker, which is similar to the Zone Poker option offered by Bovada. If you decide to fold, you’ll be transferred to another table within seconds. You can play at up to four of these tables at the same time, and they can be in the same pool or across multiple pools.

More and more options for mobile casino and poker play are appearing every year. As more people buy devices that are capable of accessing mobile games of chance and skill, expect that number to increase. If you’re looking for a poker site that’s accessible on your iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or other tablet device, start with the services listed above, particularly if you’re based in the United States.