Share this on

Many poker players laugh at the notion of free-play online poker. For those who have been playing the game competitively for years and working hard to move up in stakes, playing for meaningless coins may seem like a waste of time.

However, it is important to remember from whence the good players came.

Understanding the basics of poker may come easy for some players who have backgrounds in other games like Magic: The Gathering. And grasping the math concepts in poker is likely more straightforward for those players who studied finance or worked in stock trading business.

The majority of players take up poker as a hobby and slowly improve their skills to include calculating pot odds and understanding position. For them, the easiest way to learn is to play without money on the line.

Free-play online poker gives them the opportunity to learn anonymously and through experience. They are free to make mistakes without being embarrassed in front of friends or losing their starting bankroll. They can use those online cash games and tournaments to pinpoint the aspects of their game that need work and spend the time necessary to improve.

By learning the ins and outs of online poker with play money, every player has the chance to garner the knowledge necessary to play well, and the confidence gained there enables them to eventually deposit real money on the site.

There are other benefits of free-play games, such as freeroll tournaments that award real money with which to launch a bankroll. Some sites offer prizes for the free-play poker as well, though those who enjoy competition for the sake of competition will get the satisfaction needed from merely winning play chips.

Most websites that offer free-play online poker also give players game advice and tips. There is typically information on position, bluffing, bet sizing, pot odds, and playing styles. Tutorials can be offered via articles or videos, and players can learn at their own pace. The ability to learn online without embarrassment and in one’s free time is attractive to the vast majority of players who do not hope to become full-time professionals but would like to make a little money from the games and become winning players.

Another perk of free-play online poker is the chance to learn games besides Texas Hold’em. Since all games require different strategies, free-play is the best way to get a feel for games like Omaha, Stud, and Deuce-to-Seven. The key to being a well-rounded poker player is mastering all of the games, and free-play sites offer the opportunity to do that without going broke in the process.

The best part about free-play online poker is that a player doesn’t need to live in a state or country in which Internet gaming is legal. With many laws in flux in 2015 and 2016, everyone does not have the luxury of safe and regulated online poker. Those players can take that time to hone their skills with play money. By the time they do have the chance to play online for money – or even play in a live cash game or tournament – the player knows the basics, has developed a strategy, and is fully prepared to compete.

So, if your New Year’s resolutions include learning poker or improving your skills, find a free-play site and sign up. Some sites even offer the option to play online home games with friends for play chips and bragging rights. Whether you are waiting for your area to legalize online poker or just trying to build a bankroll the right way, free-play online poker is the way to go.

Related Articles

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.