3 Ways Play-Money Poker Can Improve Your Real-Money Game
Many people believe that their only purpose is to provide entertainment to those that cannot afford to play for real money.
The truth is that play-money poker games can be of benefit to serious players at all experience levels.
Here are three ways that play money poker can improve your game.
1. You Can Experiment With Different Styles of Play
Play-money games give you a way to experiment with different styles of play without destroying your bankroll.
For example if you're looking to improve your post-flop aggression, play-money games are a great way for you to experiment with this concept.
Many people view free-play games as simply a way to work on simple strategy or get comfortable with poker when in reality one can work on much more.
Experimenting with different styles in real-money games can cause huge bankroll fluctuations. Play-money games will have the same type of fluctuations but you're not risking any cash.
Your best bet is to use play-money games to work on different styles, develop your strategy and then test it out in real-money games. When something doesn't work, go back to the drawing board.
Testing new theories with play-money games won't prevent you from experiencing live bankroll swings but it will help reduce the frequency of them.
2. You Can Learn New Poker Variants
Prior to 2006, Texas Hold'em was the king of the live and online poker world. If you wanted to be a successful player, you had to be proficient at Hold'em.
Times have changed. There are so many Hold'em experts that the edges in many games are too small for some to make a consistent living.
In 2006, the World Series of Poker held the first ever $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event. While the televised final table was NL Hold'em, players had to play multiple forms of poker well to make the final.
Around this time online poker began an effort to push non-Hold'em games and, in time, the popularity of these games grew.
Play-money online poker games are a great way to learn many of these other forms of poker. You can learn Seven Card Stud, Omaha, Triple Draw, Badugi or most any other form of non-Hold'em poker.
These games are a great way for you to get your feet wet, get used to the flow of the game and work on your basic to intermediate strategy.
3. You Can Perfect Your Multi-Tabling
For those of you wanting to maximize your hourly rate, multi-tabling is a necessity. If you're new to online poker or new to multi-tabling, you cannot just start off playing five or more tables at a time as you will be unable to keep up.
Also, you don't want to work on your multi-tabling in real-money games because your focus will be divided amongst multiple games.
For some players this division of focus can cause massive bankroll swings and leads some to the land of busto.
If you want to learn how to multi-table, start with play-money games and start with two tables. When you're comfortable with that, move on to three tables.
At this point, try out some real-money games with two to three tables and see if you're playing well. If three tables are too many, go back to two.
When you're comfortable with three tables, try four or five tables in play money before trying the same in real play. In time, you will learn what you limit is for multi-tabling and you will do so without causing a major shift in your bankroll.
One last tip for multi-tabling would be to focus on one poker variant at a time. For example, do not mix up playing Texas Hold'em and Seven Card Stud at the same time.
When different variants require different strategy and sometimes you will find yourself making the wrong play in one game because you were thinking about the other.