Flash / No Download Poker Sites
If you've been researching how to play poker without downloading software, you've probably come across the term "Flash Poker." What is a Flash poker room, which sites offer Flash poker and how do you play at a Flash poker room? Those are all actually pretty easy questions to answer - let's talk about each one and then learn a touch more about exactly what Flash is.
The Top No Download / Flash Poker Sites
If you're already familiar with Flash and are just looking for the top-rated Flash poker sites available to US players, here are our best picks for legal Flash poker sites that accept players from the United States.
What is a Flash Poker Room?
It might sound like a new version of Zoom Poker or Rush Poker, but a Flash poker room just refers to a poker room software that has been created using the Flash platform. The Flash platform is a product offered by Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE), and if you've ever browsed the web there's a very high chance that you've encountered Flash-powered content.
While it's not always the case, Flash is usually one option that a poker room offers players, along with a desktop client (and perhaps some mobile clients). There are a few rooms that only offer a Flash version, but they are in the minority. The top Flash poker sites for US players listed above all offer both a desktop and a Flash version of their poker room software, so players looking to play legal Flash poker for real money will always have their choice of poker room clients.
So why do rooms offer a Flash poker version? Simple: A Flash-powered poker room requires no download and can be played just by using a standard web browser like Safari or Firefox. There are a number of players who prefer no download poker rooms - some cannot install software on the computer they are using, while others just want to jump right into the game. It doesn't ultimately matter what your reasons are; if you're looking to play online poker with no download, then Flash poker sites will be one of your primary options.
Can I Play at Flash Poker Rooms on Mobile Devices?
The answer to this question is more often "no" than "yes." If you're using an iPhone or iPad to play poker online, you'll be completely out of luck (unless you're willing to jailbreak your phone) as the operating system for the iPhone does not support Flash - and therefore doesn't support Flash poker sites. Android currently offers some Flash support, but that support is being quickly phased out. Some other operating systems might offer support for Flash in their mobile browser, but one thing is clear: The number of choices players have to play legal US poker at Flash-based rooms on their mobile device is getting smaller, not larger.
Adobe Flash: Facts and History
Flash is a fairly senior technology by Internet standards, with a history that stretches back into the early 1990s. The platform was developed by an independent company, a company that was taken over by Macromedia in 1995. Macromedia, in turn, was purchased by Adobe Systems in 2005, making Adobe the current home for the Flash platform. Online poker sites for players from the United States have been offering Flash software for over a decade, with recent rooms offering experiences that are very close to what you'd get playing the desktop version of the poker site.
Flash has been somewhat of a lightning rod for controversy (outside of online poker). The technology was at the heart of a long-running feud between Adobe and Apple when the latter refused to support the Flash platform on mobile devices. Flash has also come under attack from security experts, who by and large regard it as a potential threat that can be easily exploited by even novice hackers. Despite these issues, Flash has continued to be the platform of choice for developers building no download poker sites for players from the United States and other major online poker markets.
It should be noted that using Flash isn't in and of itself a risk. The risk comes from running Flash-driven content on untrusted sites. Because of this, it's considered best practice for users to disable Flash in their web browser by default and only activate it on pages where you feel secure. Running a Flash online poker site provided by a reputable room in your browser doesn't present any threat.
Adobe Company News and Information
Adobe trades on the NASDAQ under symbol ADBE. Investors were taken for a bit of a wild ride with Adobe in 2012, with several shots above the $30 mark, followed by just as many drops below. The stock rallied in mid-2012 on news that Adobe's software subscription package - which includes the Flash development platform - was outperforming early expectations.
The company went public all the way back in 1986, making it one of the most tenured technology stocks on any exchange. In 2011, Adobe generated roughly $4.2 in annual revenue. Winner of dozens of awards stretching back to the company's 1983 inception in California, Adobe now employs over 10,000 individuals worldwide with primary headquarters located in San Jose.