We all love a good game of poker, regardless if real money or play money is involved. However, organizing a public poker game every week can be tedious, especially when your guests’ timings don’t match. Since then, online poker meetups have been on a rise, due to their ease of accessibility and convenience.
With a vast plethora of fun and engaging poker websites to choose from, it’s easy for you to be spoilt for choice. If you’re interested in hosting your first online poker meetup, we’ve got you covered –– simply read on more to find out.
Types Of Online Poker
Before delving into a particular website, it’s important to understand what kinds of games are available online. By far, the most in-demand poker game is Texas Hold’em. Based on the platform of your choice, other popular games may include Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and 5-card Omaha. There are several well-known poker variants as well, such as 2-7 Lowball, Badugi, and HORSE, which are available in many online poker rooms. Additionally, you might want to check whether your state allows for poker play too –– for example, Global Poker allows for almost every state can play poker here.
Regardless of the poker variation that you end up choosing for game night, you’ll always have an option to play with in-game play money or real money. We recommend going for the former if you’re playing with people who aren’t eager to spend real money or are unfamiliar with poker.
Play Money and Real Money
Do you fancy having a friendly online tournament, or a fast-paced cash game? When it comes to playing poker, you and your friends should first decide if you guys will be playing with real cash or play money. Organizing an online poker tournament with your friends can be extremely exhilarating, especially if you’re going for competitive poker. However, depending on your friends’ preferences and level of comfortability, you might want to weigh the pros and cons of play money and real money carefully.
Before starting a game, the creator of the tournament should also discuss the following aspects with the rest of the group. These include organizing a starting date, amount of buy-ins, number of seats, speed of the game, blinds increase speed, as well as allowing options for re-buy.
Although tournaments can be exciting, it is tricky for newcomers or novice poker players to level up or bust early. In this case, you might opt to play cash games instead. These tend to be more attractive to newcomers as they’re able to buy in whenever they run out of money, which acts as a form of a helpline. Cash games are especially important for games that use play money, as they allow players who run out of money to easily re-enter the game and resume playing. Through this, novice players can gain experience through building strategies and bluffing with play money, without the fear of losing actual money.
Our Favorite Play-Money Poker Websites
We’ve listed a few of our favorite poker websites that would allow free play for you and your friends.
Rated as the Best Product of the Day on Product Hunt 2020, this free poker app provides an easy method to play online poker with your friends. It is completely free-of-charge too –– which means that you and your friends can play as many poker tournaments as you wish, without risking a dime. However, do note that Easy Poker contains a “Plus Table” option, which requires the player to set up a paid account to access the extra features. For example, whilst free accounts offer tables with vacancies of up to six people, Plus+ subscribers can hold up to twelve people at their table.
Easy Poker is a user-friendly application that provides entertainment for all forms of players that enjoy poker tournament matches. Whether you’re a novice or experienced player, playing tournament poker has never been more fun.
Another useful way for newcomers to experience poker is to bet play-money. Whilst the majority of platforms require downloading an application, Poker Now uses a shared room link to enable access for any player to join. Furthermore, it also allows players to create their private poker rooms to play with their friends using play money. Poker Now also has an integrated video and voice chat function on their site which allows players to conveniently communicate and collaborate with.
The best thing? Everything on this application is free –– including the list of amazing functions as well. Any player who chooses to host a poker tournament can set the time limit, blinds, poker game variant, and assess customization options to create the best possible experience. Plus, you’re also able to slow down, pause, and even resume the gameplay as and when you like. This allows players to take breaks and discuss what has happened during the match, which makes it particularly useful when introducing new players to the game.
However, it’s important to note that Poker Now uses play money that does not hold any monetary value, and does not give out real money prizes. With that being said, it still offers a seamless and smooth poker experience, which makes this website useful for newer players.
Our Favorite Real-Money Poker Websites
Alternatively, if you and your friends are ready to begin playing with real money, here are some options that provide engaging, yet safe, real-money poker games.
In 2020, 888poker won the best for beginners award, which is a good marker of how well-known the platform is for poker newcomers that have yet to garner enough experience playing with real money. It also has a mobile version that was launched in mid-2020, which allows it to retain itself as one of the most well-used online poker platforms.
Unfortunately, hosting a game can only be done through a computer, but it’s free for both PC and mobile users to use once the game has been set up. To do this, users must select the “Play with Friends” option and choose between hosting a cash game or a tournament poker game. For a cash game, the creator must determine the stakes, seats, action time, and maximum buy-in. On the other hand, creators must select the game name, password, buy-in, and prize pool structure when hosting online tournament matches. Hosting tournament matches also allows the creator to increase blinds, allow for re-buys, and action times.
Once the games have been set up, creators can send a link to their friends or invite them via email. 888poker offers both free play and real-money play modes, complete with plenty of guides that can help aid new players. Plus, it also hosts a wide variety of games, such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and PKO tournaments.
Another suitable real-money platform is Betfair Poker, which provides an immersive experience for all players. However, it’s worth noting that Betfair provides premium paid entertainment, and does not support free-play poker games at all.
To begin playing with Betfair, users would need to download and register the necessary software. After which, players will then need to contact the Betfair team and get them to create games to play with their friends –– subject to the host’s customizations and specific requirements, of course. Furthermore, Betfair offers a three-tiered monthly loyalty membership: either bronze, silver, or gold levels. Each stage requires players to amass a certain number of points, which are gathered through playing on tables. As players progress through the stages, they can earn incentives, such as cashback options.
Who says you can’t have fun, even if you may not be able to go out? We hope that our guide has provided you with some inspiration to make your Friday poker nights more interesting!