Playing poker with friends can always be fun, regardless if play money or real money is involved. Since people cannot meet every Friday for game night, online poker with friends is an activity that continues to gain popularity.
But can the online poker experience get close to pushing your stack of chips while calling all-in at the same time? Our research indicates that this is the case. After reviewing some of the best places online where you can have fun playing poker with friends either for play or real money, we created this brief guide to the best options out there.
What Types of Online Poker Are Available?
Before jumping into playing online poker with friends, you need to know what types of games are available online. The most popular poker game is Texas Hold’em. Depending on the platform, players can also enjoy Seven Card Stud, Omaha, as well as 5-card Omaha.
Other poker variants such as HORSE, Badugi, and 2-7 Lowball are just as available via some online poker rooms. With that in mind, regardless of which poker variation you may choose to play with friends, there’s always the option to use play money instead of real money when still learning or just not too eager to spend real money because of your friendship with others or your relationship with other players.
Real Money vs Play Money Poker
Before starting to play online poker with friends it is important to determine whether you would like to create a friendly online tournament or play a cash game.
Organizing a friendly online poker tournament can be very exciting, especially if you have more friends who like the competitive side of the game. Depending on the platform which is picked, either real money or play money can be used within the tournament.
Whoever creates the tournament can also set up a starting date, time, buy-in as well as the number of seats. Furthermore, by organizing a poker tournament with friends, the creator can set the speed of the game, blinds increase speed, as well as options for rebuy. Most of these things you will discuss beforehand as a group before moving in on the real action.
Although a tournament can be fun, players who don’t have a lot of poker experience may find it difficult to level up, or even bust early.
This brings us to the next option – cash games. Cash games may be more appealing for inexperienced players simply because they can buy in whenever they are bust.
This applies especially to play-money games, because, if a player runs out of money, they can easily re-enter the game and the fun continues. Playing online poker cash games with friends may also be good for players who are still learning. If play money is involved in the cash game, inexperienced players can learn strategies, or even try bluffing without the fear of losing a dime.
Play Money Online Poker with Friends
Below are a few platforms that’ll allow you to play for free with your friends. Poker can be an exciting game even when you play without running a financial risk, and the websites listed below make the experience even more compelling and exciting.
One of the best ways for new players to learn poker is undoubtedly by betting play money. While most platforms require downloading an application, we have found a platform that enables poker fans to play together without the need of downloading anything.
Poker Now allows players to play for free only by sharing a room link. The platform further enables players to create a private poker room and play with friends using play money. Furthermore, Poker Now allows players to collaborate via an integrated video and voice chat. The functionality is free and it doesn’t require a third-party application to be used.
Although the platform is free to play, this doesn’t mean that the gameplay is limited. If the player chooses to host a poker tournament, they can set time limits, blinds, choose a poker game variant and select many more interesting and useful customization options.
Unlike platforms that encourage fast-paced gameplay, Poker Now enables players to slow down the gameplay. When in a private tournament, players can even pause the game and then resume it. This allows players to discuss what has happened during the hand and what the result is.
It is important to mention that Poker Now is a free poker client which allows players to use play money that does not have a monetary value. Furthermore, the platform currently doesn’t offer any real money prizes. With that out of the way, we can honestly say that Poker Now offers a seamless online poker experience, which players of all types will find appealing.
Another great and easy-to-use application to play poker with friends is Easy Poker. Rated #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt in July 2020, the free poker app offers an easy way to connect with friends and play online poker.
As a free application, players can enjoy as many poker tournament games as they would like, without the need to pay. Easy Poker does support “Plus Table” options, however, only the poker table creator needs to set up a Plus+ account to use the extra features. While free accounts offer a table of up to 6 players, Plus+ subscribers can increase this functionality to 12 players on a table.
But how do I start a game? Easy Poker lives up to its name while offering a hassle-free experience. Once a player installs the application, they can easily create a new poker table with one tap. Then, they would need to share a 4-digit code with their friends they want to play with. The receiving party needs to select the “Find Game” button and type in the unique 4-digit code in order to join the private poker table. And that’s it. No need to buy chips or go through extra settings.
Game-related functionalities can easily be accessed by hitting “Table Settings”. From that menu, the host can choose if the game would include increasing blinds or not; additionally, rebuys can also be allowed or deactivated. Here, it is important to mention that this functionality is a premium feature. Similar to Poker Now, Easy Poker currently does not support real money play.
Easy Poker is a free application that provides entertainment for all types of players that enjoy tournament-style poker. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a proven pro, playing tournament poker has never been easier with your friends.
Real Money Online Poker with Friends
Now that we have looked at what some of the best social platforms for friends looking to play poker are, it is time we swing our attention to the real money alternative. Bringing real cash to the table can make things a little more challenging at first, but you can use the knowledge you have garnered already playing with your friends to make better-informed decisions.
Besides, you never have to set up real money poker conditions that aren’t coordinated with the group, giving you some leeway in choosing appropriate betting limits, buy-ins, and the general pace of play.
Back in 2020, 888poker won the Best for Beginners Award. This undoubtedly proves that the platform is suitable for poker newcomers that are yet to garner enough experience. Having launched its mobile services in June 2020, 888poker remains one of the best online poker platforms. Playing poker with friends and showing off poker skills is easy and fun at 888poker. Plus, getting started is an intuitive and accessible process!
Hosting a new private game to play with friends can only be created on PC. However, once that is done, both PC users and mobile device users can join the game. First off, the host will need to select the “Play with Friends” option. In the PC version, the host needs to click on their avatar – while in the mobile version, the functionality is located under the menu. The next step is to choose whether a cash game or a tournament poker game will be played. Right before a game is created, the system allows the host to set up all game details.
When choosing a cash game, the host can choose the game name, game password as well as starting date and time. Furthermore, the game creator can also determine the stakes, the number of seats, as well as the action time, and maximum buy-in. Alternatively, when choosing a tournament poker game, the creator can choose the game name, password, and starting date and time, but also determine the buy-in and prize pool structure. Furthermore, when selecting a poker tournament the host can choose to allow re-buys, blinds increase, and action times.
Once the game is created, the host can invite their friends to join them. The invite is either done via forwarding an email to friends or via sharing a link. The link that is generated can be shared via Facebook, Skype, or any other social media. Players that want to join the hosted game can simply do so by clicking on the link.
As one of the world’s largest and most reliable poker networks, 888poker is a great place to play online poker with friends. The global platform offers real money play, free play mode, as well as plenty of online guides that can help new players. Furthermore, 888poker offers a huge variety of poker games such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha, PKO tournaments, as well as exciting variants like Blast and SNAP fast-fold poker.
Last but not least, the platform features strict security protocols ensuring player protection and safe play. World-famous poker pros such as Chris Moorman, Vivian Saliba, Dominik Nitsche, and more are currently 888poker Ambassadors and can often be seen in live events and streams.
Another great place to meet online with friends and play poker is Betfair Poker. Betfair’s platform offers an immersive experience for novices as well as experienced poker players. Although Betfair undoubtedly offers premium entertainment, it is important to mention that the platform doesn’t support free-play poker games.
To start playing poker at Betfair, users will need first to register and download the necessary software. After that, players can contact the Betfair team and send a request to play with friends. Although other poker platforms allow the players to create private poker rooms, at Betfair, the platform’s team creates the game for the players. However, this doesn’t limit the game specifications at all.
The host that requests to play with friends can ask Betfair’s team to create a private game by requesting a specific date and time. Furthermore, the host can pick a name of the game and a game password. The host also requests whether a cash game or a private tournament game is created.
Additional options that the host can request include seats per table, buy-ins as well as blind levels. Last but not least, the host can set the minimum or maximum entries and choose whether to allow rebuys. Once the request is submitted, the lobby is created within 48 hours by Betfair’s team based on the requirements set by the host.
Playing poker with friends at Betfair poker is a good option regardless if you are a new, experienced, or up-and-coming poker pro. At any given moment, visiting the homepage will indicate how many players and how many tournaments are active.
Furthermore, the website offers loyalty club options that feature 3 different monthly levels: bronze, silver, and gold. Each level requires players to have status points, which are achieved by playing on tables. Climbing through levels, players earn incentives such as cashback options. Last but not least, although Betfair poker provides good entertainment for poker fans, the platform also supports responsible betting and gambling.
Another great way to enjoy online poker with friends is by visiting Partypoker. Poker pros or even beginners can find a lot of useful information such as news and guides on how to play different types of poker such as Omaha or Texas hold ’em. Furthermore, the website informs players of upcoming tournaments with a ribbon that shows tournament info and a countdown timer.
Partypoker is suitable for both seasoned and newbie players. The platform offers many play money tables where new players can practice and build their skills for free. Additionally, Partypoker supports multiple tools which can help new players learn the game. Players can also enjoy the simple, yet functional and customizable table and lobby design.
To start playing poker at Partypoker, players need to first download the free poker software. The platform offers easy and safe service and it takes only a few minutes to get started. Players would then need to open an account and make a deposit to get their poker bonus.
Creating an online poker game with friends at Partypoker is easy. The host of the game needs to click on “Club Games”, and then select “Create Club.” After that the screen allows the player to select the club name, password, and an optional short description. Before creating the club the host needs to agree to the Partypoker’s Terms and Conditions. Although players can create up to five Clubs, there is no limit to the number of clubs a player can join.
Logging into the club allows the host to create a new game by selecting the “Game Admin” button and choosing “Create Game”. The next option which the host needs to choose is the game name and game variant. There are two variants offered which are No Limit Texas Hold Em or Omaha Poker. After that, the host needs to select how many seats are available per table: two, six, or eight. Next, the host determines the cost for blinds and bets as well as minimum and maximum buy-ins. Last but not least, a speed of play can be selected. Once that is completed the host can easily invite their friends by selecting the “Invite” button.
Partypoker is a solid platform that offers secure entertainment for poker fans. The platform offers multiple tournament options which make it incredibly attractive for experienced poker players. Although Partypoker offers two variants of poker, it is important to mention that players that want to play poker with friends can play only create cash games.
As one of the best online poker websites, Partypoker offers cashback options, as well as plenty of customizable game settings. Games and tournaments are available in both desktop and mobile variants so Partypoker players can take their game even on the go.
PokerStars is undoubtedly the most prestigious and popular online poker platform in the world. As a leader in online poker, the platform is home to multiple world-class poker tournaments. The site services millions of registered customers globally with the help of award-winning software. Furthermore, the platform is secure, offers player support, and is dedicated to player protection. All of this makes PokerStars a top pick for people who would want to play online poker with friends.
A big advantage that PokerStars has when compared to other online poker platforms is that it is available on all PC, iOS, and Android devices. Furthermore, as an online poker leader, PokerStars ensures that its app is running seamlessly so that players can receive the best online poker experience.
Another functionality that places PokerStars as a leader in online poker is the variety of games the platform offers. While other platforms may limit games to Texas Hold Em and Omaha, PokerStars offers Stud, Shortdeck, Badugi, and more poker variants.
PokerStars supports play money and real money games where state laws permit. The platform also enables players to host private rooms if they want to avoid public cash games and tournaments.
Starting online poker with friends at PokerStars is easy and the first step is downloading PokerStars mobile app. Players that do not have an account would need to register. Once the user is registered, they can log in and access the top drop-down menu which will bring up more options. Then the player that wants to host the game can do so by selecting “Home Games” and choosing “Create a Poker Club.”
The host is then prompted to create a poker club name and set an invitation code, which other players can use to join the club. Once the host creates the Poker Club, they can click on “Manage Games” which enables them to create an online table for cash games. Alternatively, the host can choose to create a tournament to launch a private tournament.
Once a cash game is selected there are plenty of options available for the host to pick such as type of game, number of players, and currency which can be play money, EUR, or USD. Additionally, the host can set bets range, speed of play, buy-ins, starting chips, and more.
On the other hand, when creating a private poker tournament to play with friends, the host can choose the start date and time. Then the host can pick the game type as well as player limit and currency. Buy-ins, rebuys, starting chips, speed of play, and more options are also available for the host to pick.
Millions of poker fans have already chosen PokerStars. This makes it an attractive platform to play online poker with friends. Similar to other platforms, PokerStars offers instructions and strategies available for fresh poker players. On the other hand, more experienced poker players can also benefit from some of the biggest online poker tournaments. A big benefit that PokerStars offers is that it supports both play money and real money tournaments (where permitted by law), which makes the platform attractive for any player type.
PokerStars is committed to secure entertainment and player protection. The platform supports responsible play by featuring deposit limits. Furthermore, PokerStars owner The Stars Group is an industry leader with the most licenses for online gambling games in the world.