How to Set Up Your Computer for an Online Poker Tournament
a month ago
A big win in 2020 was the rise of online poker. States like New Jersey even reported a 118% increase in revenue, with Pennsylvania doubling its online casino gaming revenue in April. Moreover, Google searches for online poker hit a five-year high last March. And even as Poker.org points out that some of the world’s biggest poker tournaments, like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), are set to return to live venues this year, many poker events and competitions will likely remain online. Last year's inaugural online WSOP tournament showed that it is more than possible to host competitions for the professional and amateur levels remotely, all the while keeping the stakes and the excitement high. So if you’re thinking about getting into a more competitive level of play, here’s a breakdown of what you'll need to set up your own gaming computer.
First get a baseline on your current setup's performance
Building your own competitive PC setup doesn't just mean going out and buying parts. Assessing what you have and what you need is step one. So before making your shopping list, you may want to download the SpeedFan application if you have an existing system. This is a useful monitoring tool you can use to check your PC’s internal parts and see how their performance is while you play. It’s best to test your PC playing casual games, as this should give you a good idea of whether or not your system is up to par. You don’t want your PC crashes mid-tournament. Following that, you can more efficiently go about purchasing the rest of the items on this list.
Make sure your processor is at least 2.5GHz
When picking a processor or CPU, you want to look at the base clock, which is labeled with GHz. These days, there are many affordable variations that are already quad-core. Simply look at the numbers and make sure you aren’t going below 2.5GHz. This can determine how efficient your PC can handle operations without overheating — you certainly don't want your system to fail during vital hand! Some reliable budget processors are the AMD Athlon 240GE or Intel Core i3 9100.
Get yourself enough RAM
You generally don’t want to get anything below 4GB when it comes to RAM. A safe and solid base point would be to get sticks that total to 8GB of RAM so that you can keep multiple tabs open and run several applications at the same time without risk of your PC crashing or slowing down. It’s easy to upgrade RAM down the line as long as you get the same generation and frequency, which the packaging always states, anyway. ItStillWorks.com notes how playing games and running many programs will definitely require more memory, so consider starting with either a DDR4 Corsair Vengeance pair or a DDR3 duo of Kingston HyperX Fury’s.
Buy a reliable hard drive
A failing hard drive is the last thing you want as it could cause your computer to freeze mid-game. Aim for long-term use and buy from reputable brands like Seagate, Western Digital, or Toshiba. HowToGeek.com lists significant signs that show hard drive failure, such as constant PC freezes, loud noises during regular use, or corrupted data. A good size to have is at least 500GB of storage, so you also have room for your Operating System and any updates.
Consider getting a second monitor
This is a good idea for those who want to keep notes or other lobbies open at the same time as their game. You can only take up so much screen without sacrificing resolution or readability, so consider getting a second monitor instead of shelling out for a single big display. Having two monitors is especially useful for multi-tabling, or playing two tournaments at once. A study by Fujitsu Siemens even says that multiple monitor set-ups boost productivity by at least 25%, so it can’t hurt.
As far as video cards, poker games don’t require a lot of demanding rendering, so you should be able to happily scrape by with any video card that has at least 512MB of memory unless you plan to stream.
Go for Ethernet
If you’re going to be joining online tournaments, your success will be highly reliant on the consistency of your internet connection. If you can, get yourself an Ethernet cable and plug your computer directly to your router instead of going for Wi-Fi. This results in higher connection speeds and lower latency.\ \ This list covers the essential components to think about — aside from the obvious must-haves like peripherals, the power supply, and the motherboard. Once you’ve got that covered, you should be all geared up for the next online poker tournament. You can focus on strategy instead of getting distracted by a setup that's not up to par.