A problem Mac poker players have had to deal with is the lack of Mac compatible poker rooms. There are a few high quality Mac compatible poker rooms, but some of the major ones, like Party Poker and PokerStars, only work on Windows. But with the help of a program called Virtual PC, you can emulate a windows computer on a Mac OS X computer.
Virtual PC runs just like any other Macintosh program. After installing Virtual PC, you also have to install and activate a full version of windows to run on the PC. Most people recommended installing windows 2000 because it runs the fastest. When it’s fully installed and running, you can run PC programs, otherwise not Mac compatible, on your virtual PC.
There are a few drawbacks when using Virtual PC on a Mac. You should have at least a Gigabyte of ram because it uses a lot of your Mac computer’s resources. Even some of the simplest applications, that run fine on an average PC, can slow down to a near standstill. This occurs because Windows is optimized to work with all the components of a real PC, not a Mac.
Some poker rooms, including the two largest, do work really well though. PokerStars runs flawless on Virtual PC. The software is always quick with no signs of lagging. PokerStars is my favorite room to play at on my PowerBook. Party Poker works all right, but nothing like on a regular PC. You’ll be fine if you play just one or two tables, but once you get into serious multi-tabling or multi-tasking, your Macs ram will get eaten up for the session. I haven’t had too much luck with other poker rooms on Virtual PC.
There’s a bunch of ways to optimize windows for a better poker experience, but most of them are so minimal that you won’t notice any differences and can be harmful if done wrong. Just make sure you use Windows 2000 on your Virtual PC because it runs better then all of the other versions.
Virtual PC’s a great program, but don’t expect too much. It was a lot more useful when there were less Mac poker rooms, but it still serves a good purpose. Whenever I have my Mac on, I usually have virtual PC running so I can play on PokerStars. For that it makes the $300 program completely worth it for me. If you have no interest in PokerStars, Party Poker, or other little PC applications, then you’ll be fine without Virtual PC.