Is playing online poker a serious hobby of yours, or is it even the way you make a living? Any job is done much better and easier when you have the proper tools and equipment, and online poker is no different. To maximize your online poker success, you need the best tool for the job, and that’s the perfect poker computer.
There are many different items which make up the perfect poker computer, and we’ll cover all of them in this article. When you’re running multiple programs, multi-tabling, and streaming music to keep you in the zone, it becomes critical that you have a good amount of computing power to run everything at the same time. Having a good PC setup for your online poker game can make the software run much more smoothly, plus you’ll encounter fewer errors, so it ends up being a much better experience.
If you’re serious about your online poker, having the perfect poker computer can be the difference between growing your bankroll and going bankrupt. In this article, we’ll go over all of the requirements that your poker computer should have, the best monitor to use, work area considerations, and laptops that are good for online poker as well. If you’re not into computers, don’t worry because we’ll keep everything in simple, easy to understand terms that anyone can understand.
The Perfect Online Poker Computer Setup
Many of you are probably wondering the usual question, “Apple or PC?” The online poker world is still lagging considerably behind when it comes to compatibility with Apple products. Many poker sites don’t have Apple software or even apps to use on your iPhone, despite the popularity of Apple products worldwide. As such, the ultimate poker computer should absolutely be a PC. Since this computer is for your new grinding station, we’ll use a desktop model to keep costs down, and this also gives us the budget and ability to get the interior components that we want and maximize our computing power for the money.
Any desktop computer box contains the same interior components. They are the motherboard, sound, network, and graphics cards, CPU, RAM, and the hard drive. You can usually order your new desktop PC with all of these components exactly the way you want them, or maybe you can find one in the store that will suit your needs perfectly. Let’s go over each item one at a time:
The motherboard is like the nervous system for your new PC. It controls everything and connects all of the hardware and allows the different pieces to function as a single unit. A good motherboard is the foundation of any quality computer. The main item to consider when selecting a motherboard is that it is compatible with the CPU you select.
If you’re buying a complete PC, you won’t have to consider this at all. Most modern motherboards will have sound and network cards built in, so you don’t have to purchase them separately. For everyday use, these built-in cards will work just fine, so don’t shop for a sound or network card, just a good motherboard with them built in. MSI and ASUS are quality brands of motherboards.
Most serious gamers pay close attention to this component of their computer. What makes a graphics card important to poker players is the ability to display more information at higher resolutions. This is especially important when multi-tabling across one or more monitors, where low resolutions can make it difficult to see.
Choose a graphics card with two or more outputs depending upon the number of monitors you want to use. When multi-tabling, two monitors is a minimum. A good graphics card will cost more, but for the perfect poker computer, it’s definitely worth it.
CPU stands for central processing unit. In layman’s terms, this component is the brain of your computer. The CPU’s performance is usually measured in hertz, which indicates the speed at which it can perform a number of instructions per second. Your poker computer should have the fastest CPU you can afford. This will allow you to run software error-free and very fast, and it will extend the life of your computer. Spending a little more now will allow you to use your poker computer for a few years before it becomes obsolete, rather than a few months. An Intel Core i7 that runs at 4.2 GHz is currently a state of the art CPU.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. This is the single most important consideration when buying any computer. Buy as much RAM as you can possibly afford. The more RAM your computer has, the faster it runs, and the longer it will last before you outgrow your computer. Every program you run takes up RAM, and the more items you have running at once, the more RAM you need. Four Gigabytes is a good place to start for your RAM requirements on your poker computer, but get more if you can afford to. When you run out of RAM, it’s time for a new PC.
The hard drive of your computer is its long-term storage, like a library. Similar to RAM, the more memory your computer has, the better. The hard drive is where your computer stores all of its programs and information, and with the size of programs and software these days, it can fill up pretty fast. A 500 Gigabyte hard drive would be our minimum recommendation, but a 1 Terabyte or higher hard drive would be even better for your perfect poker computer.
Best Poker Monitor
There are several great computer monitors available that will work great for your perfect poker computer. We recommend running at least two 24” monitors side-by-side to allow you to multi-table up to 16 tables or do other tasks on the second monitor. Many professional grinders use three monitors at once, multi-tabling on two and performing other tasks on the third.
The choice is up to you, but you should have at least two for the perfect poker computer. Monitors from Samsung, Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are all well-suited for your poker playing needs. The main factors to compare are power usage and screen resolution. The higher the resolution the better, and resolution is expressed in pixels. Look for an LED LCD monitor with 1920 x 1080 pixels.
What To Do With It All
So now you’re ready to start shopping around or order your new poker computer. Here are all of our recommendations in a nice tidy list:
- Get a desktop PC, no Apple computers
- A motherboard compatible with your CPU with sound and network cards built-in
- Highest resolution graphics card you can afford with two or three outputs for running multiple monitors
- Intel i5 3.3GHz or Intel Core i7 4.2GHz CPU
- 4+ Gigabytes of RAM, preferably 8
- 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
Of course, you’ll need a keyboard, mouse, speakers, and a monitor or two to round out the total package, unless you already have them. If you don’t have one already, also acquire a large desk to work from and a comfortable chair that promotes good posture, not slouching. You need to be comfortable but alert and working while you are grinding, not leaning back taking it easy.
What we’ve introduced you to here is the tip of the iceberg. Many PC enthusiast sites exist out there, and they can give you tons of information. PC Gamer is a particularly large and well-known site, with lots of rig-building advice. Many build projects feature on Youtube, too. If you’re just starting out with your poker endeavors, this article may be of use to you as well.
Whenever you’re undertaking a PC-build project like this, it’s pretty common to run into snags. Luckily, with so many going before you, there’s a community of people out there who, between them, have almost certainly had the same (or similar) issues. One of the best forums for advice is Tom’s Hardware. If you’re having trouble getting your perfect poker computer up and running, it’s a great place to ask some questions.
Keep Your Mind and Work Area Clear
Grinding out a large number of poker hands in order to earn money is not an easy task. To be successful, you need to keep your mind focused on the task at hand for a long period of time. To do this, it’s helpful to practice some good habits in your work area. Keep your desk clean and uncluttered. A messy work area tends to lead to distraction, which is something you don’t need when you have 9 poker games going at once. Also, limit all distractions that will divert your attention. A good way to do this is to wear headphones and stream your favorite music while you’re playing, to keep you in the zone.
Best Laptop for Online Poker
If you’re going to be grinding for a living, using a laptop computer probably isn’t the best way to do it. There are some serious physical consequences that can result from long-term laptop use, including head, back and neck issues from long periods of time in poor ergonomic situations. However, there will be times when you need to play some hands when you’re not home, or you need a backup for your PC.
When considering a laptop for playing poker, one of the biggest concerns is screen size for multi-tabling. Get the best resolution and largest screen you can get for your poker laptop. After that, the considerations are much the same as for your desktop. Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Acer all make great laptops that can meet your online poker needs very well.
Perfect Poker Computer Conclusion
If you’re looking to create a workstation where you can grind out a few thousand poker hands a day, then you need the right computer. To make sure you can access all of the poker sites you want to, you need to use a PC or Windows-based computer. We have listed all of the requirements necessary for the perfect poker computer above, but these are by no means the only ones.
It’s up to each individual player to decide what they need to function most effectively while they’re grinding out their poker hands, whether it’s a desk, a chair, headphones, music, or how many monitors they like to run for multi-tabling. Just follow our recommendations for your new poker PC, and you can figure out what works best for you. Good luck! We look forward to your comments on the perfect poker computer, send them in below!