Practising with Play Money
Practising with Play Money at PokerStars
After setting up a PokerStars account you can practise with play money before you are ready to play for real money.
PokerStars provides a number of tables to this end. You can access these tables via the play money tab located next to the tabs for the desired limit, i.e. fixed-limit or no-limit/pot-limit.
The type of play money table can also be selected from the sub-menu that opens when we click on the play money tab. The following options are available:
The list of play money tables will be automatically adjusted according to the type of limit you choose. Play money tables can be recognised by the word "Fun" before the name.
A table can be opened by clicking on its name in the lobby and, if available, we can take a free seat.
The procedure at play money tables is identical to that at real money tables. The software is therefore the same except that players are playing for virtual chips instead of real dollars.
Particularities at play money tables
In general we have as many chips as we want. So if we have lost all of our play money chips, we can request some more via the "Options" button:
This "reload" is however limited to 3 x 1,000 chips per hour.
Another important difference to real money tables is the playing style of our opponents. As we are playing for love, so to speak, we will often encounter wild and reckless players, known as maniacs. This will unfortunately have a negative effect on our learning effect, since we can only play against weak opponents who often don't take the game seriously.
A lot of play money players are betting all the time and it is almost impossible to force them to fold. Thus, we can barely bluff and have to show a very good hand at the showdown in order to be able to win the pot.
Is it actually possible to learn something at play money tables?
As we can't really lose something, many players don't really take play money games seriously. This means that strategic considerations play a minor role. All-in battles will thus occur far more often than sophisticated moves.
Anyone who already has some experience and is interested in poker strategy should rather start with the lower real money limits.
For beginners play money tables are however an excellent way of getting used to the course of the game and the software.