Teh Online Pokers with a Controller!

Hai there!  Curious about playing online poker with a video game controller?   Well, you’re in luck!  Read on…

What you’ll need:

Xpadder can be purchased for ~$10 and is well worth it IMO.  If you’re too cheap for that, you can find an older free version of Xpadder (not easily compatible with Windows 7) or look for some other free equivalent.

TableNinja works on both Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker (obvious hyperlink bias towards my employer ;)).


1. Download Xpadder.

2. Optional: Find and download a background that matches your controller.  Here are some sexy backgrounds I found for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 online.  Note: The image must be a 512 x 256 BMP.

Xbox 360 background
Xbox 360 background (source: http://www.jtheissen.com/)
PS3 background
PS3 background (source: http://horc.sourceforge.net/)

A lot of the backgrounds are simply created from camera shots of controllers.  However, the PS3 controller above was done with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Photoshop.  Sooo sexy!  The person who created it is currently working on a Xbox 360 background (but from a 3D model!).  If you want to read more, check out his website (admittedly, the web design doesn’t match the graphic design…).

3.  Optional: Image->Open->Choose the background image you downloaded.

4.  Add as much controller functionality as you like (use the “Image”, “Sticks”, “DPad”, “Buttons”, “Triggers” tabs).  If you have a background, overlay the Xpadder buttons onto the controller buttons.

5.  Assign a button-to-key mapping: click on each button and select a key from the visual keyboard.  I like to assign keys that I rarely ever use so that I can still takes notes on players if I so choose (see my setup below).

My Xpadder Controller-to-Keyboard Mapping


1. Download TableNinja.  It can also be conveniently plugged into Hold’em Manager and purchased through the HM Apps store: Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars.

2. Make your way through the tabs and assign your key presses to game client actions.  For example, notice that I use F7, F8, and F9 for fold, call, bet respectively (same order you see in almost all poker clients).


3.  Optional:  You can also configure TableNinja to get rid of a lot of annoyances:

  • auto-click OK popups
  • auto-click time bank
  • auto-click “Check” on “Checking is free” popup
  • auto-refresh “info” tab for tourneys
  • auto-close tournaments X seconds after finishing
  • auto-close tournament lobbies
  • auto-set bet amount to user-defined presets (e.g. 3bb+1bb per limper pre, 80% cbet on flop, 70% cbet turn, 60% cbet river)
  • plenty of others

4.  Have fun!  You’re ready to play 🙂

TN is great for every game but I think the controller + TN duo is especially good for the games I play most often: Limit Hold’em cash games and No-Limit Hold’em turbo tournaments.  In LHE, you don’t have to worry about bet sizes.  In NL tourneys, you often have a push-or-fold stack and TN allows you to map a button to all-in.

My controller setup is something like:
  • Left trigger:     Fold to any bet [advanced action]
  • Right trigger:  All-in (for MTTs); Raise [advanced action] (for LHE)
  • DPad Left:        Cycle tables backward
  • DPad Right:     Cycle tables forward
  • DPad Up:           Cycle to “First in Line” Table
  • X Button:          Fold
  • A Button:          Check/Call
  • B Button:          Bet/Raise
  • Y Button:          Pot (for MTTs)
  • Joystick Up:    Increment bet by 1 bb (for MTTs)
  • Joystick Down: Decrement bet by 1 bb (for MTTs)

I also get TN to overlay my stack size in BBs in MTTs in big red letters.  Below is a screenshot of the setup using a controller, TN, and a HM HUD to multi-table:

Using my Xbox 360 controller with TableNinja to play poker!

If you want to read more discussion from others, check out this 2p2 thread about poker and controllers.

9 comments Add yours
  1. Just what we need: more kids playing poker like it was a video game… 😉

    Daniel was using a hand-held mouse thingy. Looks like it might be handy.

  2. In the process of setting this up for myself right now, and I’m following your button layout for the most part. However, I’m a little bit unsure how to setup the right trigger for all-in bets in MTT’s.

    I guess this would more so be a function of Table Ninja, but for the life of me I can’t seem to find a hotkey assignment for all-in bets.

    Any help would be appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Kevin,

      If you have TableNinja, click on the “Fixed Bets” tab and you’ll find a “ALL IN!” field at the top of the frame. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Hi,
    Thx for the great writeup!

    One noob question…..do i need an adapter if im getting an Xbox350 wireless controller?


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