Update!! Click here to see a full list of the best iPhone poker sites online.
Even though Apple refuses to allow any iPhone (or iPod Touch) app used for gambling, it's still possible to play real poker on the device with a little help from Jaadu.
If you've read some of my other blogs, such as Quick Guide to Poker on the iPhone, you'll already know that it's possible to play real-money poker on your iPhone using a VNC or RDP app.
This blog is going to show you exactly how to do that, with some video to show you what kind of performance you can expect.
RDP versus VNC
In 1998 Microsoft released a revised version of its business operating system Windows NT 4.0 Server, Terminal Server Edition.
This re-release of the NT OS included its first consumer version of the T.128 application sharing protocol - at that time named Terminal Services.
Terminal Services was a free add-on for Windows 2000, but was renamed Remote Desktop (RDP) with its inclusion in Windows XP. Since that point, RDP has been included in all the business or "Ultimate" versions of their operating systems.
At the same time, VNC (Virtual Networked Computing) was being created by a bunch of geeks who had a pretty fantastic idea: Let's jet anyone use and control his or her home computer from any other computer in the world.
VNC was fully functional and available to the public for almost any computer, regardless of OS, as of 2002.
Although each idea does the same thing, giving you complete control over the "server" computer from any other computer with the "viewer" program, the two applications do it slightly differently.
RDP ships with specific versions of Windows. If you're not running XP Pro, Vista Ultimate or Win7 Ultimate, you're going to have to check to make sure your computer has RDP at all. If you don't, you're going to have to use VNC.
When you log on to a computer with RDP, the computer is locked, meaning if someone was sitting at the desk with the actual computer being used remotely they would only see a log-in screen. Only one user can use the computer at a time.
VNC is an application that can be installed on almost any computer. Once the VNC server is running, anyone with the address and password of the computer can log in and operate the computer.
Anyone sitting at the desk with the computer can see what the remote user is doing and can fully interact with them with the local controls.
When the remote user moves the mouse, the pointer moves on the screen of the physical computer and vice versa. Basically, a VNC viewer is just a remote control for the computer (often, this is exactly how VNC is used).
If you want to control your screen from your iPhone (say, lie in bed and still operate your computer), then VLC might be a better option.
But, since RDP is a native Windows function while VNC is a program running in Windows, RDP will almost always be faster than VNC.
Since connection speed and lag is an issue to avoid when playing real-money poker, RDP might be the best choice.
Setting Up Your PC
The first thing you need to do is set up your home PC to be remotely controlled. The setup details will be different depending on if you're using RDP of VNC.
I'll give you instructions for both; you can just ignore the one you don't want.
The first thing you need to do is enable RDP on your computer. To do this, go to Start - Control Panel - System.
In the popped-up window you'll see a tab named "Remote." Select this and make sure the check box for "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer" is checked.
If you don't see this option and the only check box is "Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer," then you don't have a version of Windows with RDP. You need to use VNC instead.
Once you have this box checked, click apply, then ok. Now you just need to reboot the computer.
NOTE: RDP will not work unless you have a password on your user account. If you do not need to type in a password to start Windows, you need to go to User Accounts in control panel and add one.
First you need to install the VNC server program on your PC. To do that, go here:
Apparently they've decided to start charging for the program if you're running certain operating systems. First try installing the free version. If that doesn't work then you might have to pay for it.
Once you have the server installed (you'll see a little icon in your task bar when it's installed and running) you should open the program settings and choose a password (and change any options you like).
RDP and VNC
If you have a firewall, either software or hardware (a router has a firewall, as does Windows and any internet security suites) you need to make sure you allow access to the ports used by RDP or VNC.
Explaining how to do this would require an article of its own, so if you don't know how to do this head to Google for the answer.
- RDP - 3389 (TCP)
- VNC - 5900 (TCP)
Reboot your computer again for good measure and your PC is ready to go. Now you need to set up a client.
Before purchasing the VNC or RDP app on your iPhone, it's a good idea to use some other computer to make sure your RDP or VNC setup is actually functioning.
To connect to your PC you need your IP address and your password. You can get your IP address by going to: http://www.whatismyipaddress.com
You'll see "Your IP Address IS: #.#.#.#"
Write down those numbers and head to your client-testing computer. If you're using RDP simply go to your Start menu - All programs - Accessories - Remote Desktop Connection.
Put the IP into the box and log on like you would at home.
For VNC you need to install the VNC viewer on to the second computer first and then put in the IP and password to connect.
Finally, the iPhone
Once you've tested your Remote setup and have full control over your home computer, it's time to bring the iPhone into the mix.
You want to head to your app store and purchase a VNC or RDP app. Although there are some free ones, they're simply too slow and laggy to do the job.
Of all the apps I've tried Jaadu is by far the best. It costs $25, but if you want control over your home PC, this is the only way to do it.
Make sure you purchase the proper version of Jaadu. They have one for RDP and one for VNC. In the video I'm using the RDP app.
Buy, install and add your server (the IP your wrote down plus password for VNC), then hit connect.
After watching the funky portal while it tries to connect, you should find yourself on your Windows log-in screen. Log in and you're ready to go.
Using the App
The app is pretty straight forward to use and has a lot of video and instructional advice. I highly recommend you go to your advanced server setting on the app and turn off all sound.
The less data you need to have sent from your PC to your phone, the less lag you're going to deal with.
Changing the colors from thousands to hundreds will help speed things up as well, but it will also make everything look terrible. I left that on in the video.
Finally, the default resolution is 800x600. This is slightly too small for playing poker, so up the resolution one notch to 1024x768.
After changing those settings, connect and play around with the app for a little while. Get used to it and be sure you're comfortable with how it all works.
Once you have the app running, you're now using your home PC via your iPhone. Anything you can do on your home PC while you're there you can now do on your iPhone.
This includes playing poker on any poker site you can access from home.
Remember, graphic-intensive programs on the PC require a lot of data to be sent from the PC to the phone. The more graphics and animations your have up, the more lag and delay your connection is going to have.
Keep everything as minimal as you can to help keep a smooth connection.
Here's a quick video showing me doing all of the above on my iPhone 2G. I realise the video quality if very poor, but at least you can see it working.
In the video I'm running Jaadu over wireless internet. If you have a first-gen iPhone, you're going to need wireless as the Edge network is simply too slow for this.
If your 3G connection is strong, you should have no problem using this system on the go.
In general, you want to stick to wireless when playing for real money. Dropping off the 3G network in the middle of a big pot might be a very expensive mistake.
As usual, if you have any questions, drop them below.