Free online poker can be very tempting and it's easy to understand why so many people play it. When there's no money being wagered, people that enjoy poker as a purely recreational activity can pass the time effortlessly, and that means that free games are frequently packed. They're a great way to learn the rules of any particular poker game, and it's always recommended that new players start with them, but after a while, you're going to need to improve your game, and that's something free play can't do.


Free poker Games Lack Realistic Gameplay

Free poker games are very limited in how much they can teach a player beyond the basics and the ins and outs of any given online poker site's software. With no money on the line, free players tend to play every hand they're dealt. After all, there's no real consequence if they lose a batch of "play money" because there's always more there for the clicking.

This is a marked contrast to real-money games where people are much more interested in getting the most out of good hands. When you play in real-money games, it's rare that you're holding a good hand and a board that matches up and someone goes buck wild and bets heavy with their off-suit low-ended connectors. That situation, though, happens constantly in free games.


Strategies Change from Play Money to Real Money Poker

Your focus on being loose in the pre-flop stage where your passable hand might become truly great and if the flop doesn't hit, you fold. This tightening up after the flop is actually quite different from how great real-money players approach the game, where they'll only play premium hands and then use the flop as a place to be aggressive and wean out the rest of the pack. Ready to try real money poker?

Being good at free-money games does not mean that you're a good poker player, any more than playing a game like Modern Warfare will mean you're ready to hit the ground in Afghanistan. Players that use free games only to learn the very basics and then move into lower-stakes cash games to improve their skill set are going to be much more prepared to win.

To get you started on your poker journey, you can read our Fixed Limit Poker Strategy for Beginners.