No download poker sites are nowhere near as common as you might expect. The online casino industry made the switch to no-download software several years ago, but poker sites have been relatively slow in following their lead. There are valid reasons for this though, as there are some potential pitfalls of offering no download poker.
In this guide we’ll look at those issues more closely and we will also take a look at the very best no download poker sites out there right now for Canadian players.
Issues with No Download Poker
One of the biggest issues with no download poker is that it is more of a drain on the website’s servers. If there are a lot of players, this can take a lot out of the server as they need to render that software for each individual user and that means that thousands and potentially tens of thousands of users will be hogging the bandwidth.
This can be expensive for poker sites to try and contain, but it also raises a few other issues. Disconnections are much more common during instant play than they are on downloadable software. If someone disconnects while playing on an online casino, it doesn’t really matter that much.
You’ve probably been there yourself—you’re playing a slot, you have several other windows and apps open, and when that slot enters a bonus feature it seems to overload your computer’s capability and crashes the browser. But if you then reopen the browser and log back in, you can takeover exactly where you left off.
At worst you’ve just wasted 5 minutes of your time. But if you are playing on an online poker site then you could stand to lose a lot of money in those 5 minutes. If you’re heads-up then the other player will just bet every hand and then sit back as you’re forced to fold and they clean up.
Every online player has had something like this happen to them and it’s incredibly frustrating, but while it usually only results in a few folds and rarely occurs more often than once every 100 tournaments, with instant play it could be much more damaging and it could occur much more frequently.
Benefits of No Download Poker
There are a number of benefits to playing no download poker:
- Convenience: When you’re playing a poker site for the first time, you may not want to go through the download and installation process, especially when you consider that poker sites are getting bigger and more advanced, leading to huge downloads and installations. Of course, you lose some of this convenience for the additional times that you play as you have to then open your browser, navigate to the site and login, but there are ways to make the process quicker, such as shortcuts and minimized windows.
- Compatibility: Mac poker sites are not as common as they should be and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a poker site that works with Unix and Linux. Unless, that is, you use a no download poker site, as you can simply go through your web browser, rendering your platform, and its usual restrictions, redundant. It’s the same story with mobile platforms.
- No Malware: The biggest and best poker sites are not loaded with malware. In the past, even the better sites exploited the relaxed laws concerning online poker and data use, but these days that is not the case. However, there are still scam sites that fill their software with malware and if you use an instant play version then you don’t have to put yourself through this.
Downsides of No Download Poker
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, there are also a number of downsides to playing no download poker. We have mentioned the biggest one altogether, but there are a couple others worth mentioning:
- Lag: Browsers weren’t meant to play big games. There is a reason you download video games onto your computer and play them through there as opposed to just playing them through your web browser. It doesn’t have the capability and this causes lag for the individual. When you factor in every other player on the table and the fact that they may all be experiencing some form of lag, it really slows things down.
- Quality: To account for the potential lag, no download poker sites typically reduce the quality of the games in order to reduce the server load.
- Game Size: The bigger the tournament, the less likely you will be able to play it comfortably with a no download poker room. You should still be able to join, but it may prove to be more of a drain on your computer’s resources than usual.
No Download vs Download Poker
If you have a choice between no download and download poker, we would always recommend opting for the latter. It’s not that we dislike no download poker and don’t think that it serves a purpose, because it definitely does. We just feel like downloadable poker rooms offer more benefits.
There is minimal lag and bandwidth issues, you can click on the desktop shortcut/app as soon as you want to play, and you are not limited in terms of what you can do. On top of that, you also don’t have to worry about timing out and being folded out of major games. By all means use no download sites if you don’t have the choice. It’s still better than nothing at all and it’s not even that bad when compared to the alternative, but if you have the choice, always go for downloadable poker sites.
Best No Download Poker Sites
The best no download poker site is also the best download poker site. You can find it on the graphic at the top of this page. As it happens, they were one of the first to offer no download poker .Admittedly the software wasn’t very good back when they first launched it, but that was over 5 years ago, when other sites hadn’t even considered the possibility, and they have made some big changes since then.