5 Best Play Money Poker Sites

With online poker still gaining in popularity, it seems like everyone and their mother is playing poker over the internet. However, what do you do if you want to play with other people, but don’t want to lose your life savings in the process? Similarly, what options do you have if you don’t know how to play at all, but want to learn on real tables without spending a fortune?

Thankfully, there is a solution: play money poker. If you’re starting your poker career, just want to have fun, or are looking to play without surrendering your bank account, then play money poker sites are the best bet for you. These sites allow you to play all your favorite games without putting up a dime. How does it all work? First, let’s show you some of the best play money poker sites out there, and then we’ll break down how the whole process works.

Play Money Poker Sites Summary

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Editors Choice

Winner

PokerStars

4.9/5

Play Money Poker Site

  • ProsPROS
  • Biggest poker site in the world
  • Play for free or for real money
  • Significant action all day long
  • Generous bonuses
  • Lots of free money players
  • ConsCONS
  • Competition can be fierce

First on our list is Pokerstars. Whether for play money or real money, this is one of the best poker rooms online, anywhere. Despite the fact that it doesn’t accept US players, Pokerstars still has the largest pool of players overall, which means you get more action here than almost anywhere. So what does that mean for you? It means that you should be able to find an open table, day or night, no matter where you are. Obviously, there peak times with higher traffic, but since Pokerstars gets players from around the world, you can find open tables even during off hours too.

That being said, the wide selection of players also means that you can come up against some hardcore sharks while on the tables. For the most part, pro players and veterans tend to avoid play money tables since they don’t offer any value, but they do sometimes like to take advantage of freeroll options, so be aware if you join in any free tournaments that pay cash prizes. Overall, this is a fantastic site to learn and hone your skills.

Go to the Best Play Money Poker Site right now!

Visit PokerStars »

100% Deposit Match To $600!

2nd place

Full Tilt Poker

4.5/5

FullTilt

  • ProsPROS
  • Excellent game selection
  • Easy to use software
  • Free or real money games
  • Great tournament selection
  • ConsCONS
  • Limited play money options
  • Not open to US players

Next, we have Full Tilt Poker. What sets this site apart from the others is the extensive game selection, which applies to both real and play money tables. Most poker rooms only spread the hot games like Hold Em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud. However, at Full Tilt, you can also find Hi-Lo versions of Omaha and Stud, as well as Razz. For those that aren’t familiar, Razz is a variation on Seven-Card, although the pot only goes to the lowest hand.

Another great thing about Full Tilt is the awesome selection of tournaments and freerolls. Since freerolls are the best way to make money without spending money, you want to get on these tournaments as much as possible, both to improve your standing and increase your winnings.

Visit Full Tilt Poker »


3rd place

888 Poker

4.3/5

888Poker

  • ProsPROS
  • Large pool of players
  • More casual atmosphere
  • Play for free or real money
  • ConsCONS
  • Not open to US players
  • Software is somewhat limited

While Pokerstars is probably the best online poker room out there, 888 is not too far behind. One primary difference between 888 and Pokerstars, however, is that this site has a much bigger deposit bonus. Even if you want to play for free, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of deposit bonuses so that you can win extra money right away. That way, it’s almost as if you’re playing for free, since they’ll match your initial deposit 100% (up to $888, that is).

Another reason to join 888 is that they have a vast player pool to compete against. While it’s not quite as large as Pokerstars, it is more user-friendly and casual, which means that you don’t get as many sharks on the tables so that you can gamble a little more relaxed. You can play for free or real money at 888, but the free money games are limited, so be aware of that. This site also has good freerolls if you want to play for free but win cash.

Visit 888 Poker »


4th place

Party Poker

4/5

PartyPoker

  • ProsPROS
  • Fun, casual atmosphere
  • Play for free or for real money
  • Large bonuses when playing real money
  • ConsCONS
  • Not a lot of action on free money games
  • Limited high stakes games

If you are looking for a place to play without heavy competition, one of the best sites to join is Party Poker. While this site doesn’t have all the players and bonuses that a larger site like 888 might have, it is a fantastic place to play poker without having to look over your shoulder (so to speak). Both cash and play money games have soft competition so that you can hone your skills without busting your bankroll.

Another reason to join Party Poker is that they have a good game selection, as well as daily freerolls and high stakes tournaments.

Visit Party Poker »


5th place

Carbon Poker

3.7/5

CarbonPoker

  • ProsPROS
  • Good selection of games
  • Soft competition
  • Great range of stakes and tournaments
  • ConsCONS
  • Limited free play options
  • Smaller pool of players compared to other sites

Finally, we come to Carbon Poker. This is probably the smallest site on this list, but it is ideal for anyone who wants soft competition and nice, easy games to play. Overall, Carbon Poker has the atmosphere of Party Poker, but less action on the tables.

Nonetheless, if you’re just starting to get into online poker or only play on occasion, then Carbon Poker is a great place to be. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you need to play during peak hours if you want to be guaranteed a spot on a table or in a tournament. Otherwise, you may not find an open seat.

Visit Carbon Poker »


Considerations for Play Money Poker

What is play money poker?

Simply put, play money poker is when you play regular poker games like Omaha and Hold Em, but without risking any of your bankroll. Many online poker rooms have free play options, which you can use to your heart’s content without worrying about losing it all. After all, it’s free money! Generally speaking, though, play money poker comes in two flavors:

First, you can play for free with chips, which are used just like regular chips, although they are worthless. Some sites will give you points or something similar to play with as well, but the point is that each point or chip is traded as if it has cash value, although it doesn’t.

Second, you can get what are called freerolls. A freeroll is when you are fronted cash to play a game or a tournament, but the difference is that you win real money at the end. In this way, it’s almost as if a friend is fronting your entry fee to a tournament, except you don’t have to pay it back ever.

What are the benefits of play money poker sites?

If you’re new to the game, then play money sites can be a real help to you. Many of these online poker rooms attract newbies and fish, specifically because there is no risk involved. If you play on an entirely free site, there is usually a monthly fee to join since the site doesn’t make anything from rakebacks (table collections). If you join a real money site that has play money options, you may have to keep a minimum balance in your account, but that doesn’t mean you have to play with it.

Best Play Money Poker Sites

Overall, the best reason to join a play money site is to either play the games for fun, learn the rules of the game, or practice your skills against new and amateur players. There is one thing to remember, however, if improving your game is the end goal. You have to bear in mind that people play a lot differently when real money is on the line than with fake chips. On play money sites, you’ll have people going all in or betting to the last round, even if they have nothing. That also means that people will get great hands that they would not otherwise get if they had folded earlier.

Thus, use play money sites to practice your fundamentals, but not necessarily to practice any betting or bluffing strategy.  Also, another benefit to play money poker sites is that you can win cash without fronting a bankroll, which means you can have a fantastic profit margin overall.

What kind of Poker games can I play with play money?

Realistically, the types of games you can play will depend on the site you join. Some poker rooms will only spread top games like Omaha and Hold Em, whereas others may have Seven-Card Stud or even Hi-Lo. Generally speaking, if the poker room does both play and real money, they will usually have only big games in the free money section. However, if the site only deals in fake chips, then they usually have a broader selection (including casino games like Blackjack) since the players are paying a monthly fee.

Converting Play Money to Real Money

At some sites, you may be able to trade in your play chips for real money or prizes. Typically speaking, you have to earn quite a few fake chips to qualify or join a more “premium” membership. Overall, the better you are at the play money tables, the better chances you have of converting those fake chips into real cash or real-world prizes (which you can then sell for cash).

Also, one thing to keep in mind is that you can also train your skills on the play money tables to get better at real money games. Let’s say you spend ten hours on a play money table; that could be worth a fraction of the time on a real money table, depending on the game you play, the other players, and how seriously everyone treats the game itself. Overall, you can learn a lot on play money tables, which could then mean big rewards on the real money games.

Finally, don’t forget about freeroll tournaments. Tournament play is a little different from regular gameplay since everyone is usually forced to bet a minimum and the end goal is to place, rather than win a big pot. Ultimately, however, freeroll tournaments are a great way to take your skills from the play money tables and turn them into cash.

Play Money Poker Rooms Conclusion

Play money poker sites in and of themselves are a rarity, but we found the sites on this list to provide the best gaming experience without costing you top (or even bottom) dollar.  If tournament play is more your speed, you can almost certainly find good freeroll tournaments to play in. Among our favorite of these is the On-Demand Freeroll tournament at Americas CardRoom. Each one starts as soon as 270 players are registered.  The best thing about playing this way is that if you do consistently place well in the tournament, you can earn a little cash from it too! Maybe even start up your own poker bankroll

Whether you’re playing for fun or just starting to learn the game, play money poker can be hugely enjoyable.  All the fun of the game with none of the pressure of the finances! We hope you enjoyed reading our list of the 5 Best Play Money Poker Sites and we wish you best of luck at the tables.

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I am a poker enthusiast who also enjoys sailing, rugby, and gaming. A relative newcomer to the world of online poker, I will be putting our strategy guides to the test as I start the Bankroll Challenge: how far can I get without depositing a single penny? Keep an eye out for updates.


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