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Home > Strategy> Play Money

Poker Strategy - Play Money

Games for "play money" are very popular on the internet. These are poker games where no real money is wagered, and players just play with fake, virtual chips. There are many more play-money players than real-money players on the internet because it is a form of free entertainment. Many people play these games to pass the time or to learn the basics of poker.

Play-money games can be entertaining. However, play-money games are very limited in their ability to help a player improve his skills. Play-money games are generally only useful to accomplish the following purposes:

Play-money games are not helpful for a playe r to refine his or her poker skills. Learning to excel at play-money games will only help you beat play-money games. The "skills" you learn at play-money games may be helpful at real-money games, but there is also the chance that you will learn bad habits that will actually cause your real-money poker skills to deteriorate.

Play-money players tend to play almost any hand dealt to them. They will hardly ever fold because there is no consequence if they lose a lot of "play money." In this sort of environment, winning is extremely easy. You can see the flop with a lot of hands and hope to hit a solid hand. Since you will definitely be paid off, it pays to play extremely loose preflop in a play-money game, provided you use some sense during your postflop play.

In a real-money game, people are not nearly as idiotic as they are in play-money games. If you go all-in on a board of A K 5, very rarely will someone call you with 2 3 in a real-money game. In a play-money game, this sort of move would certainly not be out of the ordinary. In short, people in play-money games are more than happy to give their "virtual money" away. In a real-money game, players are not nearly as generous.

This important difference between the two games greatly affects the strategy of the games. Successful play-money strategy incorporates loose preflop play because one can expect a huge payoff if one flops a strong hand. Since people will not simply throw their money at you in real-money games, players need to play tighter preflop and only see the flop with certain hands.

Furthermore, winning at play-money will often give players false confidence. Winning at play-money games is absolutely no guarantee someone will win at real-money games. Often, winning play-money players lose at real-money games. These players frequently fail to realize what mistakes they are making at real-money games because the habits they have learned have been successful at play-money games.

While play-money ring games have little in common with real-money ring games, there are certain types of play-money games that are somewhat similar to their real-money counterparts. The most clear example is large multi-table play-money tournaments and large freerolls. This is because a freeroll is essentially a play-money tournament, except there is a cash prize for the top winners.

Generally, the smaller the prize, the more similar a freeroll tournament is to a play-money tournament. After all, if first place only receives $50, people will not be as focused as in a tournament where first place receives an entry into the World Series of Poker.

Play-money single-table tournaments are also somewhat similar to very low-buy-in ($5 or lower) single-table tournaments. The basic strategy of these two types of tournaments are similar. For both types of tournaments, it pays to be more cautious at the beginning of the tournament and more aggressive at the end of the tournament.

Nevertheless, even at low-buy-in tournaments, people will still try a lot harder than in a play-money tournament. The only thing at stake in a play-money sit-and-go is pride, and pride alone is not nearly as important as $10.