For some time now, arguments for the supremacy of gaming on a PC versus a console have been gaining steam. While there is no objective truth to the idea of one option being definitely better than the other, the general perception is increasingly that the most serious gamers opt for PCs. This is primarily on the grounds that PCs can be built more powerfully and can be customized to suit an individual gamer’s (or game’s) needs.
With that said, this whole conversation tends to take place with regard to console games. That is to say, when we discuss gaming PCs as console alternatives, we do so concerning the biggest and best AAA games that can be played on both platforms. This is perfectly appropriate given that these are the games for which the comparison is relevant. However, it also means that we often neglect whole categories of computer games when we talk about PC gaming.
One such category is online poker, which arguably accounts for some of the most consistent and popular computer-based gaming activity in the world. And consideration of this category leads us to one straightforward question: Do online poker players actually need gaming PCs? Or are these high-powered machines overkill?
On the one hand, there are a few reasons that a gaming PC certainly can’t hurt for an online poker player.
The first is that online poker tends to involve other people playing in real time. Some will log on to join virtual tables and tournaments against strangers; some will play online poker with friends on any number of platforms. And in either case, it can’t hurt to have a gaming PC built for quick processing and fast connections. When engaging in any sort of live multiplayer gaming — including in a poker room — it’s nice to be able to rely on your equipment to stay up to speed.
The other reason a gaming PC can’t hurt actually has to do with gaming-specific laptops. Simply put, portability is among the chief benefits of gaming laptops, and can be every bit as helpful to poker players as other gamers. Being able to log onto your poker platform of choice while traveling, away from home, and so on simply gives you more access to the game. And per the first benefit mentioned, a gaming laptop may just handle a live poker platform a little better than an ordinary laptop.
On the other hand though, it’s hard to say that a gaming PC or laptop is particularly necessary for a poker player, compared to another type of gamer.
This is essentially because the cost of a gaming computer, when it’s truly built up to perform, can get quite high. A mid-range gaming PC can cost as much as $1,500 or so (more than a standard laptop), and a high-end option can go for several thousand dollars. These are worthwhile investments for avid gamers who play games with heavy graphics and processing demands on a regular basis. But for someone whose primary online gaming activity lies in the poker realm, devices like these may be overkill.
All in all then, it seems clear that a gaming PC can be helpful to an online poker player, but is rarely necessary. The simple fact is that these devices are built to make virtually any kind of gaming smoother and more impressive, and this can affect poker experiences in a positive way. But for those who spend most of their online gaming time in poker rooms, there is seldom a true need for a PC of this nature.