As much as all poker players think about themselves as winners, the truth is that most people lose more than they win. Some estimates suggest that as many as 70% of poker players take losses. And one need only look at a recent revenue report at The Nevada Independent to see how much popular casinos rake in cash from gamers. Said report concerned all gaming, but still revealed that Nevada casinos can easily take in $1 billion in an average month –– providing some sense of how much money is coughed up at the tables.
This isn’t meant to dissuade those with interest in the game. Rather, it’s to encourage a careful approach –– because those who do win tend to do so on account of strategic thinking and a thorough understanding of the game. Some of this comes from study. But it also comes from practice, which is why we want to highlight not just some of the best poker video games that can help teach you how to play.
Zynga Poker is one of the most popular poker games, and is known in particular for its relationship with Facebook. Users can play poker through the social media platform, or use the connection to link up with friends within the app. Beyond these social perks though, it’s also an excellent game on which to train oneself, and one of the “best casual poker apps to learn how to play” on, according to the poker app recommendations at Poker.org. This is largely on the grounds that new players are gifted two million free chips (allowing for a great deal of free play and practice), as well as that people can choose whether to play with friends or strangers. With this app, you can take the game at your pace and compete in an environment that feels very much like real poker, without real stakes.
The same list of app recommendations just mentioned also highlights Easy Poker as a non-threatening option that makes it easy to “play poker with people you know and love” rather than strangers online. It’s a simple, straightforward online option that feels a bit more like a digital version of a home poker night with friends than most. Additionally, if you purchase in-app upgrades, you have the option to set up tables with more players, and customize your own blinds to organize games as you please.
As noted in a past piece on “5 Exciting VR Applications Other Than Gaming”, there’s plenty to enjoy from this spectacular technology aside from gaming. We’re seeing applications in retail, military training, and more. Gaming remains one of the primary areas of innovation, however, and some of the early triumphs in this space have been virtual poker games that simulate the real thing. That alone makes them excellent training tools; they inevitably feel more like playing live poker than the average app or video game. Furthermore, some such games –– like Poker VR –– even bring body language into play. Per a Medium.com article on Poker VR, this game uses avatars that “mimic your mouth movements” and extrapolate interactions. The process isn’t perfect, but it does make Poker VR a game in which you can even practice trying to read opponents’ body language.
HD Poker: Texas Hold’em
This is a popular poker game that can be downloaded from Steam, and another one that makes for terrific practice. HD Poker’s calling cards are its extensive character avatar customization and its varied, creative background environments. But it also makes it easy to play and compete extensively. You get $1 million in chips upon sign-up and bonus chips added to your stash every two hours. This enables you to play as much as you like either with friends or in open competition –– and through the latter you can actually gain ranking points and climb leaderboards. This gives you a sense of stakes and true competition despite there being no money at hand.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Finally, we’ll briefly touch on the poker inside of the game Red Dead Redemption 2, because –– much as it is not the game’s main focus –– it’s perfect practice. As TheGamer.com’s guide to RDR2 poker states, the game follows traditional Texas Hold’em rules, but does so at “rather small” buy-ins of $1 to $5 worth of in-game money. That means that even in terms of the artificial stakes of in-game money, you’re ultimately risking very little on each hand. As such, you can play freely and gain experience as you like, all within a pleasant Old West setting with surprisingly strong poker mechanics.
Give these games a try and you’ll get all the practice you need to make wins in real poker that much more likely.