Online gambling sites or poker rooms that offer to play poker for free are great options for new players who would like to get a feel for how exactly a Texas Hold'em game works without spending a single cent.
When you are totally new to the game, it is perfectly understandable that you do not want to invest your hard-earned money in a game you know little or nothing about.
The pros and cons of playing poker for free
If you check online, there are many poker rooms available. If you are complete beginner in the game, you will surely go to particular rooms which allow you to play poker for free, so you can learn the basics first without having to worry about losing real money.
When you play poker for free, you get to learn along the way about poker terms/jargon, hand rankings, hand flow, different bet types, speed of play, chatting, taking notes, interacting with players, learning how other players play, and much more.
However, let's not forget there are some drawbacks when playing poker for free.
In poker, players highly value their chips (which is equivalent to real money in cash games). When a player bluffs with his real money on the line, he is actually risking something tangible to win the pot in the middle of the table. His bluff would equate to his real money, thus he will have to make this decision very carefully.
Meanwhile, in the absence of actual risks, since "money" going around at the free poker tables is only "virtual chips", some players will tend not to play the way they naturally would if their chips were real money. Simply put, a player shall call a lot more and bluff even more than they would in a regular game of Texas Hold'em.
Of course, it still holds true that some people will still play as they do if it were real money, but others will definitely not. To conclude, real money poker play will be entirely different from free poker. Therefore, it is advisable not to jump to conclusions when it comes to your level of play - if you were a big winner at one of the free poker game rooms, it doesn't mean you will instantly be a big winner as well at the real money tables.
Another thing to consider is that majority of the poker rooms that allow you to play poker for free only offer the no-limit Texas Hold'em variant. Obviously this is the most popular variant, but it would also be great if other types of poker variants are made available for free, so beginners and even the seasoned veterans can dip their fingers on a poker variant they haven't yet tried out.
After you have gained ample experience and confidence in your abilities by learning the game via free-to-play poker rooms, you can begin playing micro-limits in a real money poker room. The most important thing to remember is to always advance gradually, only when you feel comfortable doing so.
Another alternative to consider is to play poker for free on legitimate online poker rooms, which offers play money tables. Playing poker for free will allow you to become familiar with your chosen online poker room's software.
Whether you wish to play poker for free or you're ready to play poker with real money, we wish you the best of luck at the tables!