Pretty much all of the US online poker sites allow you to play for free but is it the same as playing for actual real money? Good question. The answer is no it is not the same at all in fact it’s vastly different. That is not to suggest you shouldn’t start out in the realm of online poker by playing free poker games. However, the main difference is there is nothing to lose and nothing much to win.
Free online poker games attract all the new players. They barely know anything about the game. As a result, you can expect the free poker games to be packed full of beginners, commonly referred to as fish. The free Texas holdem games are good if you are a beginner and if are new to a site and want to check it out. The free tables are more relaxed with more chat and socializing. Although you probably want to have some thick skin if getting involved in the banter in the online chat box.
Remember that when a player has nothing to lose then they are more likely to take chances and generally play loose. On the real money poker tables the play is a lot tighter with players only playing with premium cards. One crazy strategy I see a lot when playing in free sit and go tournaments is to go all-in on the first hand with anything. I think a lot of the freeroll players are looking to double up straight away to increase their chances of winning.
If you lose so what all you have to do is click on another tournament and start again and if you get lucky and win your in a good position to win the tournament. Strategies like this will not work at money table. The much looser play is what makes free Texas holdem poker seem like a different game then playing for real money online in the USA.
The free tables are also full of beginner players. These players are unpredictable and make crazy plays. Poker is a game of reading your opponents as much as your cards and beginners are hard to read and frustrating to play with if you are an experienced player. Everyone has a story of busting out of a tournament when going all-in with pocket aces and some wild man makes a terrible call with rags and sucks out and wins the hand. You need more skill and experience then lucky at the money tables.
There are good reasons to play on the free tables. The fastest way for a beginner to learn the basics of texas hold’em, or any poker game that interests you, is to play at the play money tables in the lobby. Simply load up your play money balance with free poker chips, and you’ll get to play instantly.
Another good reason is to check out a new site like Ignition Poker and see if it is a site that you want to deposit money with. You can evaluate the sites software and even things like the graphics. There are so many sites that if you don’t like the colors or anything about a site then you can go and check out another without wasting any money.
Sometimes I just want to relax and maybe drink a beer or two and not take the game so seriously. This is when I play free poker. The other players from all around the world chat more and the free games are generally more social. I even like to try some crazy plays now and then. Winning money is not the only reason to play poker and the free tables do have their place but they are nothing like playing at a money table.