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Before the Flop

Practicing Poker for Free

An introduction to play money: the best way to practice poker. Here's how you set up your account and how you get involved for the first time, all without investing a penny.

We will shortly be moving on to more specific lessons about how to play poker, but before you are even dealt any cards - much less see a flop, turn or river - you will need to know how to find a table and sit down.

There is no better way to learn poker than through hands-on experience. You will learn a good deal more if you are able to put the theory from these lessons into practice straight away.

The PokerStars software allows players to join the action without depositing any money. All players are given a balance of "play money" chips, which have no monetary value, but which allow beginners to learn the mechanics of the game in exactly the same fashion as if at a real money table.

Playing with play money chips at a play money table is a great way to develop your poker skills.

You can start playing free online poker, and practicing in a poker club, as soon as you have set up your PokerStars account. The play money tables are located under the "Play Money" tab in the PokerStars lobby. You then have the following options:
  • All
  • Fixed limit
  • No limit
  • Pot limit

The list of available tables will update when you click on one of the different options, and the poker tables can be opened by clicking on their names. If there is a seat available, you take it by clicking "Seat Open".

If you lose all your play money chips, you can reload 1,000 more chips up to three times every hour.

One important thing to remember about play money tables is that some players can play very recklessly because no money is at stake. They might enter pots with any two cards.

Many of the strategy considerations we teach at PokerSchoolOnline may not be as effective at a play money table. Therefore, if you have been reading our articles and already have a fairly good grasp of how to play, you will probably benefit more from playing at PokerStars micro-stakes tables.

Play money tables are however ideal for absolute beginners to get familiar with the mechanics of poker: when to act, how to bet, call or fold, etc.

THE ACTION IS ON YOU

Time to throw yourself into the thick of the action - and remember the PokerSchoolOnline trainers are on hand to guide you through the first steps.

 

Join a live training session to learn how to find the play money tables, know what is required of you when it is your turn to act, keep the games flowing and capture hand histories.

Register ATTEND LIVE TRAINING

Starting Hands

Understand the value of your hole cards and determine what makes one starting hand better than another. Have yo ...

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