Does it Make Sense to Play Free Poker?
The first thing you should know about playing free poker online is that there are no such things as ‘free’ when it comes to playing poker online. Even though a poker room may advertise that they offer free money to play poker or something similar, the fact of the matter is that those who want to play poker for money have to register at the poker room before they can start playing. There are no exceptions. Once you register and login, you are ready to go!
Now, the good news is that generally, you don’t need to fear online players using this illegal software at free poker websites. However, there is certainly no incentive for other poker players to utilize these illegal websites either, because there is no money to be won here. And if there were, any legitimate websites would ban (and block) these players from ever playing real cash for money on their site again.
On the other hand, there are still some people out there who believe that playing free poker games is a bad thing. After all, what’s the harm in taking an hour or two playing a few tournament style games against other players, rather than sit in the comfort of your living room and play the same games you would play if you where playing in a real tournament? These people think that they are hurting the game by allowing other players to take advantage of them by taking advantage of the lack of competition in a poker room. They would argue that there is nowhere for the top players to go and that they are being cheated out of their fair share of the pie.
This is a very convincing argument, which we must agree with completely. However, what the top players do have the leverage over the rest of the players is the fact that the Internet provides a large pool of qualified players to play against which can either result in them winning a large pot (if their opponent folds) or in them advancing to the final table if their opponent cannot make it to the final table. Therefore, while it may be true that some people play free poker games against inferior players to sharpen their skills, the top players have far more control over the outcome of those tournaments.
Indeed, the recent trend of putting up huge payouts in cash games at live casinos has shown that some of these big dogs actually do not even come close to competing against the best players in some of the bigger online tournament games. While it is true that the free games offer a valuable training tool for many of today’s top players, the fact is that they are not meant to replace real money games. While it is true that the big tournament pros can take advantage of smaller online tables by throwing money at them, it is also true that they can do the same in regards to smaller low buy-in games as well. In fact, the only real way for these players to improve is to play against the better players in the low buy-in and high stakes rooms. The bottom line is that there are a lot of skill involved in playing poker and no matter how skilled you are there is always going to be someone better than you at playing poker.
As such, players must take into consideration the fact that they do not necessarily need to play the highest hands in order to win a game. For example, in seven-card stud, a player may choose to flop with three hole cards and use the value of those hole cards to bet on the flop. If this player ends up betting out, then there is no need for him to raise. Likewise, in the three hole card game, players may choose to play tighter and simply play a high hand. However, before they make that decision they must weigh the benefit of whether they will take the pot today versus if they will miss out on a payout tomorrow.