Online gaming is an incredibly popular pastime around the world. Studies found that current engagement with online games is very high, with as many as 12.4% of respondents in a survey of Canadian adolescents stating they recently played a social video game, while numerous Twitch gamers are streaming their online matches for viewer entertainment across the globe.
Moreover, the explosion of legal sites like WSOP.com allow classic card game lovers to play online for real money 24/7. Whether you’re joining cash games, sit-n-go events, or tournaments, real-money online games are incredibly fast-paced, as you don’t have to make everyone at the table wait while you try to figure out how to play. Playing sites will automatically let you know when it’s your turn to act.
These modern platforms are constantly upgrading as well. Now, players can engage in live voice chat with other players for more organic interactions. This allows them to listen for in-game audio cues, which may give them additional information on how their opponents will play based on changes in vocal tone.
As such, it may be a good idea to spend some money on a decent microphone or set of headphones for your online games. You want to be heard clearly and avoid technical difficulties, and you need to hear what other players are saying. Here are some great microphone and headphone choices for online gaming:
Razer Seiren X
We’ve previously covered this model in our article on the best microphones for gaming, but the Razer Seiren X is one of the most affordable mics on the market with great, uncompressed audio quality. Designed as a streaming mic specifically for gaming, the Razer Seiren X’s single pattern and super-cardioid condenser capsules, along with a built-in shock mount, are good at eliminating unwanted background noise and vibrations that may derail your poker performance.
It also has a built-in zero-latency monitoring system that allows games to stream with perfect audio syncing, capturing details without lag for only around $100.
Another mic that was previously on our list is the Audio-Technica AT2020. This entry-level cardioid condenser mic costs only around $150, but it’s still a top choice model for many audio professionals.
Most people recommend using it in a home studio setting, but online poker players who want to continue playing even as they travel would appreciate that the Audio-Technica AT2020 comes with a custom carrying case for easy storage and transportation. This USB-compatible mic also has a low-mass diaphragm, so you can capture high-quality sound anywhere you go.
The HyperX Cloudline from HP offers comfort and quality for $200. The lightweight headset is easy to wear for long periods of time, and its surround-sound capability captures deep bass and crisp vocals, making it easy to catch other players’ vocal tells and bringing you closer to a physical casino experience.
One review of a wireless headset model in the HyperX Cloud line – specifically the Cloud Alpha Wireless – noted that this model boasts 300 hours of battery life, so it won’t die on you suddenly while you’re playing. Using a USB-A dongle to plug into your PC also lets HyperX Cloud headsets communicate wirelessly with your computer, so there’s less hassle with wires or Bluetooth.
Sennheiser GSP 670
If you have $250 to $300 to spare, the Sennheiser GSP 670 is a high-end gaming headset with all the qualities you’d need for online poker live chat: surround sound, low latency, and a noise-canceling mic to immerse you into the experience.
However, if you want another gaming headset with long battery life, the GSP 370 model may be a better choice with 100 hours on one charge. Still, both models offer detailed audio so you can pick out elements you really need to hear in a tense poker match.