There is no better way to learn poker than through hands-on experience. You will learn a good deal more if you are able to put the theory from these lessons into practice straight away.
The PokerStars software allows players to join the action without depositing any money. All players are given a balance of "play money" chips, which have no monetary value, but which allow beginners to learn the mechanics of the game in exactly the same fashion as if at a real money table.
Playing with play money chips at a play money table is a great way to develop your poker skills.
You can start playing free online poker, and practicing in a poker club, as soon as you have set up your PokerStars account. The play money tables are located under the "Play Money" tab in the PokerStars lobby. Once you are there you will see a wide variety of game choices and formats to choose from. Pick a game to try out, sit down at a table, and start enjoying poker straight-away, you'll find it's a lot of fun!
As a beginner you won't be expected to start winning right away so don't worry of you lose your play money chips during those early games. At PokerStars you can top up your play money chips for free every few hours so you'll always be able to continue playing and enjoying the game.
One important thing to remember about play money tables is that some players can play very recklessly because no real money is at stake. Don't get discouraged or intimidated by this and instead focus on playing the best game you can with the skills and knowledge you have learned so far.
Many of the strategy considerations we teach at PokerStars School may not be as effective at a play money table. Therefore, if you have been reading our articles and already have a fairly good grasp of how to play, you will probably benefit more from playing at the PokerStars micro-stakes real money tables.
Play money tables are however ideal for absolute beginners to get familiar with the mechanics of poker: when to act, how to bet, call or fold, etc.
Best of luck at the tables!