Play money versus real money poker
Online Poker offers the players the chance play free poker. You do not have to pay the buy-in for some online poker rooms. In this way, you can still enjoy poker, learn more about the game, and improve your strategy without hurting your wallet. However, is this really good for beginners? Do they really learn how to play better by practicing in free online poker as compared to real money poker?
On one hand, play money poker is a good venue to improve as a player because you are able to play tons of games, without spending money. But on the other hand, playing real money poker obviously teaches more than play money poker can. In real money poker, you have your money, or lack thereof to worry about. Thus, you tend to be more cautious with your moves. You learn how to think more, how to strategize. This is not to say that play money poker players do not strategize in their games. Of course they do think about their actions, only with lesser caution because they can still go on playing even if they lose because the chips are free.
In this regard, real money poker players tend to value their money more, or their chips more. If they lose the pot, they will remember it, they will remember how they lost. This is because they have something to remember each loss by. That "something" is the depletion of their resources, which is real money. Most mentors would want their novice poker players to play real money as soon as possible because they believe in the concept of baptism by fire. They believe that novice players remember the lessons better when these lessons are accompanied by money.
Of course, if you have meager resources, you may choose the play money poker. The trouble is, live poker is usually played with real money, so this leaves you with online poker. Not a bad thing really as remember the time when there was no internet and poker was played in one only way and that was live. However, as a novice player, playing too much online poker and no live poker at all will hinder you from learning how to spot tells.
It is advisable therefore, that if you have a tight budget, then you should play a number of free online poker games and at the same time try playing real money poker every once in a while. By doing this, you will familiarize yourself more with the game and the strategies, and you will remember the lessons better.