Poker practice online not for cash
July 2, 2012 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Where can one play good online poker with real players (or a program w/*really* good AI with weaknesses and styles)? Not for cash - just for practice. Ipad app or website fine. *Not* just Texas Hold'em/7 card stud, but finishing off the HORSE class and beyond (Hi/Lo Omaha, Hi/Lo 7 card stud, Razz). Don't want scummy spyware or to have to give credit card info.

I'm getting into playing low-limit poker with a bunch of people with LOTS more experience than me. (Don't worry, won't be losing my shirt).

I want to practice playing a lot of hands so I can start applying what I've learned about reasonable plays, and make my response quicker and more natural at the table.

Before I go to their games, I just want to practice online against real humans..…..or if the practice partners must be bots, not ones that play obv. statistics or are scared of high raises, but may have personalities…….

Ipad app or website OK.

I'm not looking to win or play for money. Would pay 1-off to join somwehere or buy an app if it was good. only has the non hi/lo versions. Fulltilt poker, party poker and pokerstars appear to be downloads with probably sketchy provenance, and the CEO of one was just arrested…..

Hope me mefi poker players.
posted by lalochezia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Both Party Poker and PokerStars have cut themselves off from real money American players, paid everything back, and have been operating completely above board, unlike Full Tilt which crashed and burned spectacularly. If you can access either of their software from the US to play for free, I would absolutely not think twice about it. It's not like you'll have to put in a credit card or anything.

Still, you'd best be served either playing for microstakes online (like one cent/two cent blinds) or not at all. Beyond learning the basics like hand rankings and order of play, play money games are just going to teach you bad habits.
posted by ODiV at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2012

Response by poster: I am playing from the US, from NYC.
Software spyware free?
Good legal microstake sites for the US?
posted by lalochezia at 1:38 PM on July 2, 2012

Online poker for real money is currently completely shut down in the United States. It was called Black Friday and it happened in April of last year:

Foreign-based poker entities (UK, Europe) will not accept American players.
posted by gsh at 1:56 PM on July 2, 2012

Playing for free (play money) is still allowed for US players I believe. I just logged on to Pokerstars and there are at least a few players supposedly based in the US playing for play money there right now.

Playing for real money anywhere online is extremely dubious for a US at this point. I wouldn't recommend it, and you'll have the additional problem of finding enough players on third-tier sites.

My recommendation is to sign up for and play on Pokerstars (they have the largest player base by far), and just play around a bit on the play money side of it.

Don't expect to be able to beat real people once you amass 1,000,000 dollars in play money though. People tend to take things more seriously when real money is on the line (even if it's just a few bucks). Good luck!
posted by Elachim at 2:26 PM on July 2, 2012

OP doesn't want to play for real money. You can still (as an american) play for play-money on pokerstars. I have not logged in there in a long time, so I don't know if they have HORSE games running for play money that often or not. If they do have mixed games going I expect that 8-game or 10-game would be more popular, because that was definitely true for cash. 8-game totally killed HORSE. (8-game is HORSE plus NLHE, PLO and some kind of draw game, I don't remember, probably badugi)

Pokerstars is totally legit and will not have spyware, trojans, etc. It's still the largest poker website.
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2012

I would be wary of play money games. People tend to stay in too long when it doesn't matter.

DD Poker 3 has a pretty good AI, I think, and a wide variety of Hold'em situations.
posted by musofire at 2:54 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Nthing free play on Poker Stars (iirc, is the play-money site.)
posted by rmd1023 at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2012

It's been a while since I logged into Stars, but iirc badugi was in the 10game. I think 8-game was limit 2-7 triple draw, LHE, Omaha Hi/Lo, razz, 7 card stud, stud Hi/Lo, NLHE, PLO. 10-game added badugi and... don't remember. Five card draw maybe?
posted by catlet at 5:29 PM on July 2, 2012

Best answer: I would recommend depositing a small amount of money, like $20-$50, on a site like Carbon Poker and playing microstakes. (Contrary to what others have said, U.S. players can play there. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that it's not illegal to play in most states. Of course the sites could fold at any time like Full Tilt, but Carbon is one of the more reputable ones, such as it is.) Playing play money stakes is basically worthless, but playing microstakes will be enough to make you much better than the average real-life player.

Also, go to twoplustwo and start reading.
posted by callmejay at 6:33 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a professional internet poker player from America.

Carbon poker and Cake poker are 2 real money sites that still offer poker to American's, the legality is a gray area, but thousands of American's still play for real money daily on those sites.

The difference between play money games, and 1 cent 2 cent is night and day, I'd recommend against playing fake money games. I'd recommend depositing like 10 dollars or something to one of those sites. Although cashouts are taking 4 months on cake poker and 3 months on carbon.

twoplustwo poker forums are pretty advanced, but you can post questions and get good answers too.

There are lots of poker training sites that are probably the best thing for you though, like, or (i have no affiliation)

They post video's of themselves playing and talk you through why they are doing what they are doing. It's the best way to learn poker now adays.

also any book by two plus two book store are good.

if you must play fake money games, i wouldn't do it for strategy, but only to familiarize yourself with the rules, betting structure and format of the games. As soon as you understand the format smoothly, you must stop playing pay money games, if you continue to play it will be highly detrimental to you.

feel free to message me if you have any more questions, and GL :)
posted by crawltopslow at 7:16 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Twoplutwo is great. Wealth of info there, esp in the FAQs. Lots of other answers are good, and will get back to them asap.
posted by lalochezia at 8:01 AM on July 3, 2012

Response by poster: OSX/Mac

" is using an invalid security certificate" when going to their website to register. Dubious. No admin password required to launch the app. (good).

Pokerstars app requires administrator password to install, even from a managed account.....and makes the request using a non-standard window....sigh.Super dubious.

Cake poker has no way to connect via a mac.

Why won't these people run these simple apps over a web connection.....I DON'T TRUST THESE PEOPLE GIVEN THE HAZY LEGALITY OF THEIR ACTIONS.
posted by lalochezia at 2:35 PM on July 3, 2012

Best answer: Look, you're going to have to accept that pokerstars (and carbon, and cake) are about as legit as it gets. These are not fly-by-night organiszations, they're huge gaming sites with hundreds of thousands to millions of users, with shitloads of money at play. I'm surprised pokerstars has a mac client at all, last I heard they did not. I guess these sites seem weird/scary if you're outside the loop. I've been playing poker online for almost 10 years and pokerstars has been around for much of that. They have an excellent reputation, really the top notch among all the sites.

You do NOT want to play poker for money over some web app. Installed apps are probably going to be considerably better performing (hint: lots of online players play *many many* tables at a time) and probably more secure. Also they allow the site to have a lot more control (which is what they want - they try to avoid people cheating, running bots or other non-allowed software, etc)
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:37 PM on July 3, 2012

Response by poster: OK, So carbonpoker works, but damn you're right about play money, esp pot limit games.
Loosest goosey loose loose mcloose.
posted by lalochezia at 11:57 AM on July 6, 2012

« Older How to find a public domain image that's similar...   |   Life of a Salesman - how to find one! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.