All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Texas Hold'em
Poker Beginners:
How to get Play Money

Beginner's guide to playing Texas Hold'em
with play money and becoming familliar with the
various types of Texas Hold'em games...

Texas Holdem Beginners: How to get Play Money

Play money tables are the way most people get started with online poker. The “play money” games give you all the experience you’ll need to compete for real cash.
Start by opening the online poker client and click “tables” in the lobby area. A long list of tables will offer you all the game details. The play money tables are clearly marked. Double click on your selection. Once you’ve taken your seat a cashier window will open allowing you to stock up on play chips. Tick the box for how many chips you want and they’ll be delivered to you. If you run out of chips simply click the chip rack marked “Main Pot”. This will activate a menu displaying “Buy More Chips”. Whatever you order will be delivered after the next hand is over. If you run out completely you have to go back to the cashier in the lobby to be given another 1,000 chips. A lot of players become eccentric using play money which teaches them nothing except how to get slaughtered when they play for real. Treat the free fun games as seriously as you would if your rent was on the line. That’s the way to be a winner. Another tip.

Keep good honest records of your successes and failures. Categorise the type of game played when successful. Poker Icons like Brunson, Berman and Crandell Addington all started by being meticulous. To them the fun in poker was WINNING and winning means gaining an edge.

Poker doesn’t really come alive until you’re playing for real cash. Play money is a great way to learn some strategies and earn your stripes but when you take that plunge into betting with real money, suddenly Texas Hold’em takes on a whole new excitement.

Once you’ve worked on your strategy, go onto and take your time to select the game that’s right for you. Just click the “table tab” and you’ll be offered an impressive list of tables currently available and with valuable info to assist you in making your choice.

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Let’s give you a taster of three different types of Texas Hold’em: There’s limit Hold’em, pot limit and no limit. In a limit game the table stakes establish the bet sizes permitted. In a $3/$6 game each bet starts at $3 and increases to $6 after the turn card is dealt and you are confined to bet, raise or call in those established units. In such a game, it follows that the big blind would be $3 and the small blind $1.50. Whilst selecting games be clear that the type of game can make a big difference to outcome.

If you’re a rookie a limit game makes huge sense as the downside is kept well under control and you can’t get snared by any large, aggressive bets. In no limit poker, pots can reach very large amounts even where low stakes are involved. Even in limit poker, pot sizes can often end up being far larger than a beginner might imagine. offers table stakes from 5c/10c right up to $30/$60. Choose wisely to suit your wallet.  You’ll need at least ten times the lower stake levels in chips to take a seat at any table. In a $3/$6 limit game you’ll need a minimum of $30. You won’t want to find yourself “short-stacked” if a game gets interesting, so in practice you want to make sure you have enough funding.

A serious player will have fifty times the small blind in front of him at least. Remember, you don’t have to charge into a game where you might need $500 to give a good account of yourself. Scroll down the table list and find a price structure that’s going to be fun rather than a white knuckle ride. Unless you’re into extreme sports.

Pot size is the last detail you need to check out. On average, even low level pot limit and no limit games can produce healthy pots. A $2/$4 no limit game will often average a $120 pot. So choose your starting game level with this info as a guide. It’s good advice to open up a  table and watch the play for a little while before taking a seat. You’ll be able to draw conclusions about the various players and whether or not the amount of chips infront of each of them affect the outcome. The level of betting will become clear and you may see an opening that encourages you to take your seat.     

As a housewife reading about poker and wanting to play can you define the following basic terms for me? Fold. Raise. Check and Call.
A: Fold: Put down your hand and quit the game. Raise: To increase someone else’s bet. Check: You pass the action to the next player but you can only do this and stay in the game if there are no prior bets. Call: You simply are matching the bet of the previous player.

Q: I keep hearing the term “ring” games. Can you explain it?
A: A “ring” game is a term professional poker players use to describe an ordinary game of poker as opposed to a tournament. Any game of poker where you sit around a table, online or off, to play a single game of poker, is a “ring” game.

Q: Can I play roulette if I visit
A: Certainly! When you arrive on the site you’ll see a large button marked: CASINO. Just click on that and roulette will come up as one of the eighty games you can choose from, including the favourite: Blackjack.


Bert and Sid are enjoying their usual late night boozey poker game.

Bert: “What’s yer wife gonna say when you roll in broke and drunk tonight, Sid?”

Sid: “She’ll say nothin’. My wife’s an angel!”

Bert: “Lucky you. Mine’s still alive and kickin’!” 

ALL THE ACES poker column:
October 23, 2005: 
Texas Hold'em Poker Beginners: How to get Play Money