Poker Mavens - Port Forwarding

Updated 2021-09-21


When running Poker Mavens on a home PC behind a router, that router acts as a hardware firewall that will block all incoming connections to your poker server by default. Fortunately all modern routers have a feature called "port forwarding" which allows you to log into your router's admin functions with your web browser, open selected ports, and direct them to a specific device in your home network.

Poker Mavens uses two ports, the "File Port" which has a default setting of 8087 and handles the initial HTTP connection that serves the client app to your players. The client app makes a WebSocket connection back to the server on the "Packet Port" which has a default setting of 8088. So your router needs to forward these two ports to your PC so Poker Mavens can get the connections from your players.

The specific instructions for doing this vary by router manufacturer as they all have their own interface. You can just search Google for "port forward my_router_name my_router_model" and find instructions. Most likely the result will just return a link to (see below).

Internet Service Providers

Be aware that not all internet service providers (ISP) even allow a game server to be operated on a residential plan. In fact it's not even possible on most of the wireless types like satellite and cell-phone based systems as they don't give you a publically addressible IP address. If that is your situation then see "Plan B" below. You will need a landline-based internet service like cable, DLS, or fiber optic. And some of those may block certain ports. Poker Mavens is not restricted to using 8087 and 8088, however. It can use any two ports and you can change them in the File Port and Packet Port settings. is a web site that lists port forwarding guides for most routers available. They also have a handy (and free) Port Checker utility that will confirm your ports are open (more on that below). Visit and select "Port Forwarding Guide" in their left side menu under the Routers section. Locate your router manufacturer from the list presented and click on it. Click "Close" to skip past their Utilities ad. Then you will see a list of router models from that manufacturer. If they don't have the exact model as yours listed, click on one that is most similiar as it probably has the same interface. They will show you how to log into your router's admin interface and will typically show an example of how to forward port 3074 for an XBox.

You will instead forward port 8087 and 8088 (or whatever you currently have set as the File Port and Packet Port setting in Poker Mavens). If they allow a range of ports you may be able to enter 8087-8088 in a single entry. Otherwise make separate entries for 8087 and 8088. If asked for a protocol, select "TCP". If asked for External Port and Internal Port, make them the same (i.e., both are 8087-8088 (if range is allowed) or both are 8087 in the first entry and both are 8088 in the second entry. Finally the router needs to know which device to forward to. Typically you would type in your PC's local IP address that the router assigned to it. Local IPs either start with 192.168.x.x or 10.0.x.x. You can see your local IP by double clicking the "Local IP Address" setting in the Poker Mavens "Server Settings" group. It will appear in the list right after "All" and "". Some routers will let you pick the target device from a drop menu instead, which may identify the PC by its MAC address (network card serial number). Save your settings and test your connection.

Test Your Connection

Once your port forwarding has been saved, test the connection on your Internet IP Address. First click that setting in Poker Mavens and then click the Lookup button to make sure it is current. Then type that address in your browser URL bar followed by a colon and your file port (8087) like this: This is a 32-bit IPv4 example. If your ISP has given you the longer 128-bit IPv6 address, you must put it in square brackets like this: http://[1234:1234:1234:1234:1234:1234:1234:1234]:8087. If the client interface loads then you are good to go. If not, your router might not support NAT Loopback which means you won't be able to connect to your own Internet IP address from inside your network. So get someone on the outside of your network to test that for you. Or turn off WiFi in your phone and try connecting over the cell network. If that works you are good to go and people inside your network can just connect to your Local IP Address (i.e., 192.168.x.x:8087). If you still cannot connect, try testing your ports with the Port Checker Utility, described below.

One note on listing your site at or when you enable "Directory listing" in your settings. Seeing your site listed is NOT an indication that your ports are open because Poker Mavens made an outbound connection to make that happen. Outbound connections pass through your router unobstructed. It's the inbound connections that require the port forwarding.

PF Port Checker

This free utility is made by the same people who run the web site and it will test any port to see if it is really open from the outside all the way through your router to your PC. Download it from Even though this utility is free, they have packaged it inside their Network Utilites Bundle, which they charge for. You do NOT need to purchase this bundle just to get the Port Checker. During the install, click the Trial button when you get to the license key prompt. Run Port Checker while Poker Mavens is in an offline state (so that PM is not binding those ports) and test 8087 and 8088 individually. If it shows both to be open then you are good to go, otherwise see next section.

Blocked Ports

If the Port Checker utility finds your ports to be closed then it's likely due to one of these conditions that you will need to resolve:

Regarding that last item, you may have two routers in your network and not even know it. Trace the line from the outside all the way to your router and see what hardware it passes through. Some modems provided by ISPs are actually gateway devices that also contain a router. If you add your own router to that then you may be double-firewalled and that complicates things greatly. Your options in that case include doing one of these things:

Plan B: Remote Windows Server

If all else fails, you can always just rent a Windows server from a hosting service. This is not as difficult as you might think. The only downside is paying a monthly fee, which start at around $15 per month, depending on the server specs. But there are lots of upsides including:

See items 1 and 2 in the Poker Mavens FAQ page for more information, including a recommendation for a hosting service.