Ways to play free poker online in 2023

One of the greatest things about online poker is you can play for free or just a few pennies per hand/street if you so choose. Most even offer "play money" where you're not even using real money – truly free poker online.

Especially when starting out, learning free poker is a great way to get your feet wet without risking any money. Plus it’s just fun to play poker! If you already know how to play poker (if not watch that video above) we will explain below how – and where – to find free online poker games.

Can you play poker for free?

Yes, you can absolutely play free online poker. In fact some of the best poker sites offer both real-money and play-money options. This allows people to learn how to play poker online for free while learning the software and getting comfortable with the concept before they deposit and play real-money poker.

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Is free online poker legal?

Yes, there are tons of legit free online poker sites available. All of the sites we recommend on this page are all licensed and regulated and offer a free play option. Some may have geographic restrictions, however, and only be available in certain areas around the world. For example, our top pick is poker for most places but may not be available in Washington and Maryland. We suggest checking out all of our free online poker game sites below to see which one works best for you.

How to play free poker online

The process of playing free online poker is quite simple really, as you can see from the steps listed below.

  • Head to your chosen site (we review the best ones below).
  • Open an account (you might have to validate it later by clicking a link in an email).
  • Search for a “Play Money” or “Free Play” tab (or just search for a table stake that’s low enough).
  • Choose a table and begin playing.

Keep in mind that even if you are technically playing free online poker, you might still be required to put up some sort of buy-in for that specific table. It could be a couple pennies, though, so it’s still very cheap and affordable. Look for tables with extremely low minimum buy-ins, or specifically look for free play tables or play-money tables depending on the site/app.

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Can you win real money on free poker games?

No, obviously you cannot win actual money on play money poker games. If you are looking to play free poker online for real money then simply look for tables with unbelievably cheap minimum buy-ins. This will make it so you are playing for real money but it won’t take much out of your pocket if you lose or it gives you the chance to run up a nice stack if you play well.

Can you play tournaments for free?

Yep, many sites feature Sit-and-Go’s and even Multi-Table Tournaments that are free. Granted you don’t win any actual cash, but rather “play money.” Still, it’s plenty fun to compete against others and try to bluff your way to a free online poker tournament victory. And if you sign up at through one of our review links above you’ll have the opportunity to play for real cash with very small buy-ins.

Why play free poker online?

There are many reasons why people love to play internet poker free, whether it be play money or low stakes for real cash. Let’s go over a few of them quickly.

To Learn the Game – This is perhaps the biggest reason why so many players seek out no-deposit bonuses or low-stakes games. Tough it out in the shallow end of the pool before you dive into the deep waters of no limit holdem.

To Relive Your College Days – Let’s face it, one of the big reasons we all played poker in the first place was because of the money. We could make some extra dough in our free time. When you remove the financial gains from the equation, though, poker becomes a fun brain teaser and not much more. Sounds like college to me.

For Fun – At the end of the day, after you’ve made the money you wanted to, had your fill of competitive play and want to wind down a bit, poker can be a ton of fun. You’d be surprised how quickly three hours flies by during a full ring No-Limit Hold’em game when you’re really good at blocking out the action and totally focusing on the hand at hand. It’s kind of like meditation. Except you can win money. But if you’re playing for free, I guess if offers a bit of Zen.

Because You Can’t Deposit – Sometimes countries or states decide that they don’t want their citizens to play online poker for real cash. Sometimes banks or credit card companies decline the transactions. Whatever the reason if you really want to fire up some poker software you can always play free poker online.

Best websites for free Texas Holdem poker

Below is our list of the top five sites for free online poker. As we mentioned, most of these do offer play-money options as well as very low-stakes cash games and tourneys.

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All of the above sites also have stellar reputations and are considered the best of the best. They are tried, tested and trusted for more than a decade now and continue to improve their software, security and bonus structures each year.

1. PokerStars

This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows online poker. PokerStars has long been the leader in the industry for real-cash volume and overall innovation, too. So it only makes sense that its “play money” version would be heads and tails above the rest. There is literally more than 1 million players online at any given moment on PokerStars play money. Which means you'll never have trouble finding a game - at any hour of the day.

What we really love - besides the impeccable software and customization features - is that you can easily transfer from your play money account to your real-money account with a single login. This is unique among the free Texas Holdem poker sites. Plus there's literally endless games to choose from including Texas Holdem, Omaha, Stud, Draw, Mixed Games and more. Also, the sheer size of the playerbase means huge fields in the free Texas Holdem poker tournaments. We're talking dozens of games starting every day with buy-ins as low as a penny!

New to this free online poker site? Get started here for access to the biggest games and best software available. Rakeback is offered through our link for those ready to deposit real money.

2. Zynga

Zynga used to be the free poker app on Facebook but now operates independently although it still has a very robust social network with millions of players. The software isn’t nearly as good as PokerStars but it gets the job done and there are plenty of games available. Like all Facebook apps it does have some limitations being a free poker app. The biggest one is you have to allow the app to post to your Facebook wall. It’s not hardcore poker snob status updates you’re putting out there either. It’s stuff like, “John Doe just beat you 3-0 in a sit & go!” Very humiliating when it happens to me during a Tiger Woods session.

The good news is you barely interact with the Facebook wall anyway because Zynga has a great poker application built. It plays smoothly, has lots of customization and you can even use chat to talk to friends on Facebook. There’s also a nice progression of tournaments leading to a penny entry $250,000 guarantee which is pretty insane when you think about it.

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You can download the Zynga Poker app on your smartphone via iTunes or Google Play. Or just visit their website on your computer to play online. See why so many consider this the best free private poker game 2023 has to offer.

3. Pokio

Pok is an interesting app because it’s designed for mobile only. Available on iOS, Android and Windows devices there’s no desktop client which streamlines the experience and makes it very easy to navigate and join games. The number of players is limited so you won’t find massive traffic here but what traffic there is, is incredibly active. The entire system is set up so that players are encouraged to play often and move up in stakes.

Here’s how it works. You get 100 Gold chips when you sign up and can earn more by challenging friends on Facebook and Twitter, or by completing various missions such as winning a certain number of hands. The only problem with this model is you can’t buy any more chips so if you bleed too many you have to either quit or find more ways to earn Gold Chips.

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Most mission payments are so ridiculous easy, however, that it shouldn’t be a problem. For instance one said Win Three Hands in a Row and paid 75 Gold Chips. Another was Play Three Hands Out of the Big Blind and paid 40 Gold Chips. Obviously these missions are designed to get people to play and play often which helps drive up the overall activity on the site. And it works. Even though there’s no real money to be made there, I found myself frantically trying to complete as many missions as possible just to up my Gold Chip count.

4. Tonypoker

TonyG has long been known as the Tony bet, which is essentially a straddle. He’s sort of a legendary home game host in LA and has played online in the past under the screen name mistersoft. Well he’s back and has launched his own poker site which currently operates on the play money / freeroll model but will soon launch with real-cash wagering.

As you can imagine the software is top notch with a variety of games including fast fold PLO and Holdem, Rush Poker-style tourneys and lots of juicy tonys. Yes, there are tonys given out at random which range from $0.50 to $100. The games are soft as expected and the community seems very receptive to thetonypoker.com at this point in its development.

We will keep you posted when real-cash betting is enabled and turn this into one of the best sites for real-money poker. For now enjoy it for what it is: A fun, free online poker app.

5. Your Own Private Game

There are a number of ways to host a private poker game online. We’ve listed a couple of sites above but there are tons out there. Most of them are pay services but there are a few free online poker programs out there like PokerHost.com which has both a free and paid version.

You might be thinking that a private game hosted on the Internet is super risky since there are bound to be hackers and cheaters and guys sitting in China watching your hole cards, but it really isn’t that bad. The private poker hosting sites worth their salt invest a lot of money in security and have systems in place to monitor play and ban guys who cheat.

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Plus even if it wasn’t super safe and secure you’re only playing for pride or bragging rights anyways. No one’s deposited and building a online poker roll from nothing is an extremely difficult thing to do so there’s basically no real cash at steaks anyway. At worst you’ll lose your virtual credits and find a better site. At best you’ll find a fantastic new home for your regular poker games online.

How to win more frequently

Even if you’re playing for free poker online it’s natural to want to win more than losn. If you’re tired of living in second place check below for some quick tips to help you crush the virtual felt.

  • Don’t showdown anything but two pair or better – This is probably the biggest mistake beginners make when they first start playing internet poker free or for real cash. You aren’t trying to impress anyone. You aren’t trying to turn some heads with some crazy bluff or by turning over pocket threes that got sucked out by an offsuit A-6 because it pairs its six on the river. That gets old really fast and it costs a lot of chips. Only showdown a hand when you’re pretty sure you’re going to win a pot or you’re trying to bluff. Other than that put your cards over the top of the stack and wait until a better hand presents itself.
  • Mix it up – This ties in a little bit with the previous tip. If you’re checking and calling your way to losing free online poker game after another it’s time to change things up. Throw in some raises, bluffs and semi-bluffs to keep your opponents guessing. Just remember what our last tip was.
  • Don’t limp – Limping in preflop, especially from late position, is setting yourself up to fail. The reason everyone limps is because they want to see a cheap flop and hope for a cheap showdown. Well if that happens odds are you’re going to lose. So either shut the limpers down with a raise or just fold and wait for a better hand.
  • Know your table image – Your image at a poker table can be more valuable than gold. If everyone thinks you’re a maniac they’re going to call you down a lot more when you bet. If they think you’re super tight they’re going to get folding when you bet. Know what image you want and then do the exact opposite. If everyone thinks you’re a maniac then you should sit quiet for a level or so and wait for a good bluff opportunity. Conversely if you’re thought to be über tight then it’s OK to open up a little more and steal some blinds or limp along with a solid hand.
  • Have fun – At the end of the day this is just a game. If you’re tilted and angry you’re probably making some boneheaded moves. Take a step back, breathe deeply and refocus. Unless you’re playing for real cash no one cares if you lose a few pots or the whole tournament. Losing virtual chips is embarrassing for about four seconds. Don’t let a little tilt ruin what should be a fun experience.
  • Use online poker odds chart: Keep a printout of poker odds chart next to your computer to avoid calculations and focus on the game.
  • Read a book: There are many great beginner poker books. Reading books on is a great way to learn fundamentals and strategies, which will translate well into your online poker game.
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Top Five Free Online Poker Tournaments

Online poker tournaments are great because they don’t cost very much to enter and there’s actually a chance you can win some serious cash. Ok, ok, so the chances are pretty slim but have you seen the numbers on the Powerball lately?

Playing in free online poker tournaments, of course, eliminates the financial risk yet still provides a fair shot at winning. Below are five of our favorite free poker tournaments online.

Sunday Thrill – PokerStars has a free rolls section in its lobby that’s busting at the seams. By far the biggest and best free online poker tournament on the schedule is the Sunday Thrill which takes place most weeks on Sunday at 2:05pm ET. The prize pool isn’t guaranteed but it routinely cracks the $100,000 mark and the entry fee is absolutely free. The Sunday Treasure Hunt immediately following the Thrill has a $53,000 guaranteed prize pool with an entry fee of … you guessed it … zero dollars.

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$100 Rebuy – The $100 Rebuy is another free online poker tournament worth mentioning on PokerStars. It takes place almost every day at 8:30am ET and, yes, you get 100 rebuyes in the eight-minute levels for the price of admission. Good luck trying to reach that 100th rebuy, though. As soon as the levels turn 10 minutes the price to regenerate your stack doubles to 200 CHips. Soon after it jumps to 300 and eventually 400. By the time the levels are 20 minutes long it costs that many chips to get your stack back. Needless to say there aren’t very many big rebuy festivals in this free poker event.

888poker Crazy Twisters – If you really want to go nuts and rebel without a clue there are plenty of free online poker tournaments where you can win 888x your buy-in. The highest multiplier possible is 888x so technically you could win $10,000 for entering a $.10 tournament. The odds of actually achieving this feat are fairly slim, however, since you’d have to hit a final table exclusively composed of your opponents. At that point someone is going to have to win $888,000 and there’s only one winner. Still, it’s fun to give it a shot every once in awhile. There are lots of different Twister variants on 888poker with buy-ins as low as free.

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Full Contact – If you’re sick of playing in massive free online poker tournaments with thousands of players and hours-long sessions you might be interested in Full Contact. This is more of a club-like experience where members (there are currently 169 of them) host very small, very fast tournaments exclusively for each other. The games are full ring but they only last nine hands. Everyone gets a specified amount of time on each hand so everyone finishes at the same time. The blinds are very high so hands end quickly. Each member pays a $0.50 entry fee and wins are randomly generated using a formula based on each player’s finish. Wins are capped at 1.5 million chips with 10,000 reserved for giving out as bonuses.

Nosebleeds – This isn’t necessarily just one tournament but more of a genre. Lots of home games pop up on PokerStars, Titan Poker and other sites with buy-ins so low they might as well be free. One such tournament that regularly pops up is a $0.01 Buy-in No-Limit Holdem tournament with a $100 Guaranteed prize pool. What kind of tournament has a buy-in of one cent? Needless to say everyone is gunning for the prize pool meaning nosebleed tight at the beginning. As the tournament progresses people loosen up a little but someone who shoves their whole stack with pocket tens is still going to get called sometimes. These are a lot of fun if you’re tired of everyone going broke within the first hour.

How to play free poker on your phone

Want to learn how to play poker online for free with friends on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone or any other Smartphone? Yep, you can do that too. Of course you can always just fire up your mobile browser and log onto one of the sites we recommended above. Most of them have very functional mobile software that lets you navigate and play in all of the site’s cash games and free poker tournaments.

If you want a free download app there aren’t as many options but there are still a couple good ones out there including:

  • Zynga Poker: By far the most popular choice with more than 35 million players Zynga’s free poker app is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and through Facebook. As we mentioned earlier you’ll have to allow the app to post to your wall but once you turn those off it’s a very competent piece of software that runs very smooth on most phones. Zynga also has lots of very soft games and constant opportunities to earn free chips by completing missions.

  • Jackpot Poker: Formerly known as Play65 this free poker app for iPhone, iPad and Android has been vastly improved thanks to a partnership with PokerListings. It looks great, runs flawlessly and has lots of very soft games at very low stakes.

  • TonyBet: The free download app from Tony G is also a very capable piece of software. You can’t use it to access the free play money games unfortunately but you will be able to when the real-cash version goes live later this year. Until then you’re stuck using Tony’s browser software which isn’t bad at all.

  • *Image courtesy www.freepokerapps.net.

  • **When signing up for free no deposit poker always use a secondary e-mail address or modify your primary e-mail slightly so you know exactly where your information is coming from.

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Can I play free poker games online anonymously?

While it's not possible on major sites like PokerStars, it is possible to hide or nickname your username on small poker sites. This can add an entirely new aspect of competition to the game, especially when a large portion of anonymous players are fish.

If you’re curious to learn how to play poker anonymously online, we suggest visiting a cardroom specifically designed for this style of play - such as . On PPPoker, players are referred to by their avatars instead of usernames - and you can even use a picture of yourself if you wish.

The main draw to playing poker anonymously is that it shields your true identity. Unlike playing online with a traditional poker alias, your opponents have no way of DOSing you (short for "dropping s--- on you"), so to speak. This makes it tougher to intimidate or read players, and thus easier to exploit them.

Along with increased anonymity, PPPoker doesn’t require you to download any software to play on your desktop, and has fully functional Android and iOS apps. This means you can play whenever and wherever you like, without any distractions or complications.

Finally, PPPoker offers a VIP program that rewards you for simply showing up, plus lucrative promos such as weekly NLHE and Omaha Booster races, monthly cashback bonuses and more. To learn more, please consult our .

Remember, regardless of where you play, learning how to play poker free online is a great way to prepare yourself for (and ).

Why do casinos offer free poker online?

It may sound counterintuitive for a casino to offer free to play, but it’s actually part of a strategic move to get you to play for real money. By letting you test drive poker software for free, operators increase your likelihood of becoming a paying customer further down the line.

Moreover, offering free no deposit poker gives the cardroom a chance to prove to you that it has healthy liquidity, quality software and games that fit your playing style and bankroll. In turn, you are afforded the opportunity to evaluate numerous poker rooms from a consumer standpoint and determine which ones are right for you.

Thus free online poker games provide a win-win situation for both operator and player. Just be sure to read and understand any terms and conditions of that no deposit bonus before accepting it. This is particularly important where bonuses, promotions and wagers are concerned.

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