As online poker continues to grow in popularity, many poker enthusiasts are eager to enjoy the thrill of playing against real people instead of a non-human opponent. A way to achieve this is to play against your friends and family. And I’m being frequently asked by poker players about the best apps they can use to play online poker with their friends.
There are several apps you can use to play online poker with your friends with PokerStars and 888Poker being the most popular in 2023. These apps allow you to create private games where you can play with or against your friends.
It’s very easy to set up an online poker game with your friends. An internet connection, a mobile phone/tablet/laptop, an app, a few clicks and you are good to go. There are several poker variants available online for you and your friends to have fun with. In fact, online sites offer more games than you’ll see live in casinos.
The recent crop of poker enthusiasts are young people who are tech-savvy and are already used to playing games online. You’ve probably played a few online games yourself. So why should you play poker with your friends?
In this section, I’ll be talking about how to get started playing online poker with your friends. As I said earlier, you’ll be needing a device and an internet connection. Then you need to choose a platform, game type, and invite your friends to join you.
Choosing Your Platform and Game Type
The first thing you have to do if you intend to play poker online with your friends is to pick a platform that suits your needs. There are several apps and poker sites that let you set up private games. Like I said in the opening paragraph, PokerStars and 888Poker are the most popular. However, there are other good options. The platform you choose will depend on what you and your friends are looking for i.e your preferences.
I’ll be talking later about some of the best apps you can use to play online poker. Before I venture into that part, I’ll first implore you to consider the type of games you want to play. As you may already know, there are two formats of poker namely tournaments and cash games. Each format has its own pros and cons.
The obvious advantage of tournaments is that they are very competitive. However, there is the downside of players getting eliminated. A poker tournament is all fun until you get eliminated in the first round, haha. Then you spend a lot of time on the sidelines not able to participate in the action. This will result in a very short evening for you or some of your friends especially if there won’t be a second tournament.
A way to circumvent this is to set your tourneys as rebuys for the first few levels. This allows anyone eliminated early to get back in the tourney and continue playing.
Cash games on the other hand are more suitable for players that don’t have much experience. Unlike tournaments, players here don’t get eliminated and that can make cash games to be more fun than tournaments.
The con of cash games is that they are not very competitive and are usually not taken very seriously, especially if you are not playing with real money. Poker players in general don’t play their best games if there is nothing on the line. You see the most conservative player acting recklessly with their chips or even attempting to run up a big stack and continue to reload as necessary.
That’s okay since the game between you and your friends is about having fun and being entertained. But you guys will have more fun if the game is taken a little bit seriously. So how do you do that? It’s simple, allocate a certain bankroll to each player. For example, you can give everyone 2000 or 3000 chips if you guys are playing 1/2. Once a player exhausts his/her bankroll, he/she can no longer participate.
The situation will be very different if you and your friends are playing for real money. The game will be more competitive. And if someone decides to go all in, he/she has only himself/herself to blame.
Set Up Your Online Game With Friends
After deciding the format of poker you’ll be playing, the next thing to do is to set things up and then invite your friends to join. Most poker apps have all you need to create a private game after which you invite your friends to join. There is the option to play for free or with real money. You and your friends will have to create an account with the providers of the poker app.
If you on the other hand want to meet with your friends but have no chips, then check my article on how to play poker without money or chips.
Is it legal to play online poker with friends?
Online poker is not legal in all states in the United States. There are four states in which online poker is legalized and even regulated. Online poker sites such as PokerStars and 888Poker are licensed to operate in such states.
You’ll be able to register an account on the poker app you are using if online poker is legal in your area. It’s common to see people bypassing legislation in regions where online poker isn’t legal by using VPN.
How do you play online poker with friends?
I’ve already talked about the general overview of playing online poker with friends above. So by now, you should have a good idea of how to go about playing poker online. The process will even be clearer if you have already played online poker or online casino games before.
Since not everyone has played online poker before, I’ll like to elaborate more about how to play poker online with friends. So below is a step by step process of how to go about playing poker online with your peeps.
After deciding the poker apps you and your friends will be using, the next thing is to register by filling out a registration form. Biodata such as your real name, residential address, date of birth, and so on are usually required by the operator to verify your identity.
Also, you’ll have to choose a unique username and set up a password. These will be your login details. You’ll be sent an email with an activation link after filling out all the required information.
Some free poker apps may not ask for all this information since you aren’t playing with real money. Other apps may just ask for your email address during registration, then allow you to access your account using your Facebook profile.
If you and your friends will be playing with real money, then you guys need to fund your newly created accounts. And this is very easy to do. You just have to go to the deposit option in the poker app or site and choose one of the available payment methods.
Be sure to comply with the operator’s rules regarding minimum and maximum deposit limits. Deposits are almost instantaneous with the funds reflecting in your account shortly after making the deposit. There are times when deposit transactions take a few minutes to complete.
Most poker apps providers will reward you with a welcome bonus after making your first deposit. That’s one of the things I like about online poker. There are lots of bonuses and rewards for players.
Create a Private Poker Game or Tournament
After you and your amigos have created accounts on the same poker app, it’s time to start your private poker game. Depending on the poker app or website you are using, the process will differ. However, it’s not rocket science. You’ll easily get the hang of it by following the instructions provided in the app. If you are still having issues creating your private poker game, then you need to contact customer support. Most poker apps operators have responsive customer support that diligently attends to your queries.
You have full control over your private poker game and can customize it as you see fit.
You get to choose the game format, type, buy-in size, pot limits, blind limits, prize pool structure, number of players, and more. Also, an invitation code will have to be set up. This is the code you’ll share with your friends as only those with the code will be allowed to join the table. You guys just have to agree on a date and time that’ll be convenient for everybody.
There’s money to be won if you and your friends are playing with real money. Usually, people use the lowest stakes when playing against each other for fun. And after winning, you’ll most likely want to withdraw your money. Usually, you’ll withdraw using the same platform you use to deposit funds.
Go to the withdrawal/cashier page in the app and the list of available withdrawal methods will be shown to you. You can decide to withdraw all or part of your funds. It’s up to you. Withdrawals may be instantaneous or take some time, say 24 to 48 hours. The operator may have limits for withdrawals just like they have for deposits. Depending on the withdrawal method you are using, you may be charged a withdrawal fee. However, your funds will typically arrive within a few hours to a few days.
Best apps for playing poker with friends
There are several apps available for you to play poker online with your friends. I’ll be taking a look at some of the apps below;
You have probably heard of PokerStars. Anyone involved with the poker world would have heard of it one way or another. PokerStars is easily one of the largest, if not the largest, poker operators in the world. The operators have been known to sponsor several poker tourneys.
PokerStars mobile app is sensational. The interface is user-friendly, works flawlessly across different devices and platforms, and also has seamless touchscreen commands.
There are dozens of cash games, tourneys as well as SNGs for you to choose from, including freerolls. You can easily customize your table and also communicate with your pals. That’s what the live chat feature is for.
PokerStars is available to you whether you are on the Android platform or iOS. And I must mention that it costs you nothing to download and install the game.
888poker is another popular poker operator rivaled only by PokerStars. The 888poker app allows you to play with your buddies and showcase your skills. You can easily set up an online game in less than a minute using three easy steps.
The “Play with Friends” is always found under the “Extra Games” tab. Then you’ll have to choose the format of the game you are playing and then send the invitation link to your amigos. This app is available across different platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows.
This is another poker operator with an awesome app. The Partypoker mobile app is popular for its user-friendly features. One of the most liked features of this app is the best slider. The bet slider allows you to easily and effortlessly adjust your bets. There is also the multi-table view that many users of this app have said only good things about.
The multi-table view allows you to play at different tables simultaneously. You probably won’t be needing this when playing with your friends. Partypoker app is available on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms.
PPPoker is well known and loved by players using mobile apps to play the game online. What I like about this app is its simplicity. This app is one of the best user-friendly poker apps you’ll see out there. The design is simple and clean, a feature beginner players always look out for.
Also, poker games on the app are played using conditional play money that you buy. You can always and easily convert the play money into real cash later. It’s easy to create a private game with this app and then invite your friends to join the game.
EasyPoker lives up to its name as it allows you to easily play poker online with your friends. Setting up a private game is extremely easy and you can play the game wherever you are – your living room, office, at the bar, the beach, the restaurant, on the train, around the campfire – really everywhere. You just need to have a stable internet connection.
The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. You have complete control over your game as you can arrange the order of turns to match the way players are seated. The design of the app is also such that you can operate it using only one hand.
It’s time for you and your friends to play poker using the Pokerrr app. This game allows you to customize your game by setting antes, blinds, and limits. You and your friends will have to agree on the antes and the blinds of course.
The app also automatically records game data which you can review to keep track of all the games you’ve played with your friends. Also, the app helps you perform mathematics that would have been a bit annoying for you.
If for any reason your friends bailed on you when you are supposed to play, you can still play with random players. Yes, it may not be as fun as playing with your friends but you still get to enjoy the beautiful game called poker.
Pokerrr app is mainly for playing poker with friends and doesn’t use real money. You’ll instead be given a virtual bankroll when you open an account. You can win chips (or possibly lose chips) off other players, just like a real cash game.
Zynga poker is an app that lets you play poker for fun. It’s classified as a casual poker game and doesn’t involve real money. Zynga is actually a Facebook poker game that took off in 2007. The game quickly grew in popularity and has been one of the leading social poker games ever since.
The game really got a much-needed update in 2015 when Jump Poker was included. Jump Poker is a variant of poker, sometimes referred to as a “Fast Fold’ poker variant. In Jump Poker, players instantaneously get a new hand after folding. And this has been shown to increase action and excitement at the tables.
Playing on the Zynga app with your friends is very easy and fun. There are a number of cash games available with different blind limits. Like I said earlier, you don’t use real money in the Zynga app. Instead, you play with virtual chips. You’ll still find Sit & Go’s if you want something different from cash games.
The app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
This app is actually owned by PokerStars and is meant to be a rather robust free-to-play option. The name of the app used to be PokerStars play which used to be a popular Facebook app.
Jackpot Poker has a unique format of poker where three players compete for a jackpot. You’ll be familiar with this format of poker if you’ve participated in Spin & Go games on PokerStars online site which uses real money. There are also a number of cash games you can play with your friends.
Jackpot Poker app is a great platform for you to develop poker strategies as the game is usually action-packed. You can’t afford to just sit back and hope for strong holdings like pocket aces or pocket kings.
The app is available on Android, iOS, as well as Facebook. Jackpot poker supports only Hold’em though. You can’t play Pot Limit Omaha.
World Poker Club
Just like Zynga Poker, World Poker Club is also a casual poker game. Unless you are new to poker, you’ll most likely have heard of the World Series of Poker (WSOP)which is easily the most popular poker series in the world. The WSOP has developed a user-friendly and free-to-play poker app. As expected, the WSOP app is a really good one. After all, it’ll be a shame for a series as renowned as WSOP to create a mediocre app.
The WSOP app is designed by big-time game developer EA (hello, FIFA fans). The interface of the app is nice and clean. You also get rewarded with lots of free chips after opening an account.
One of the unique features of the WSOP app is that it has the Pot-Limit Omaha, one of the most popular variants of poker. It’s very rare to see free-to-play apps offering any other variant of poker than Hold’em. And let’s face it, playing Hold’em regularly can become boring. The WSOP brings more variety to your games.
The WSOP app is available on Android and iOS. It’s easy to download and install. There is also the ‘innovative gesture system’ of the app. This feature enables you to check or call by double-tapping the screen instead of clicking/tapping the action buttons.
Folding requires you to flick up while betting or raising is done by slowly holding down your finger and then pushing it up.
Taking Your Virtual Poker Game Up a Notch
Playing poker online with your friends already promises to be fun. But what if you can take things up a notch and create a truly memorable experience for your pack. Yeah, it’s possible, all you need is a little imagination and extra effort.
Thanks to advancement in technology, you’ll be able to create an atmosphere similar to one where you and your friends are seated at an actual table, sipping beers, eating snacks, and tossing chips around. And one of the platforms that can make this happen is Zoom. Yeah, that Zoom. Here is my article on How to Play Poker with Friends on Zoom.
All you need to do is set up a zoom conference, send invitations to your friends, and then play poker seeing each other on-screen.
Zoom is already been used for virtual meetings, so why can’t it be used for virtual poker.
Using the Zoom conference will create a virtual atmosphere where you and your friends are all in the same room. You guys can talk, laugh, and even yell. Haha, it’s part of the fun of playing with friends. Who knows, you may even be able to read their tells.
Poker operators are already integrating this video call functionality on their websites/apps especially for people playing private games.
Best sites for free online poker games with fake money
As you might have seen above there are quite many poker sites that allow you to play poker for free with fake money. While these sites still of course prefer for you to play with real currency, they are ok with you just being on their site and playing (they still hope that eventually, you will make a real money deposit).
This really plays to your advantage if you just want to play for fun with friends. There is no fee you need to pay, tables will look like the real money tables, and there is a satisfying feeling seeing thousands of fake money chips going into the pot. Not to mention the bragging rights after you win the game. And it doesn’t cost you a thing, neither will your buddies.
The best free online poker games with fake money can be found at:
How to play online poker with friends in the browser (no download needed)?
You can play poker online with your friends without downloading or installing any app.
You use the browser in your devices to access poker sites and play with friends.
Playing online poker with a browser is an excellent option for players looking to play games as fast as possible without delays, glitches, or hassles.
Since you are not downloading or installing any software, you won’t be using up space on your computer’s hard drive or phone’s memory. Also, playing online poker with a browser is more manageable if you have a limited internet connection from time to time.
You can play poker anywhere. Also, in-browser poker also solves the problem of a poker operator not having an app compatible with your device.
You just have to go to the poker sites and you’ll have access to all of the full options there. Many poker sites allow you to play in-browser poker free.
Please note that not all poker sites have the option to play from the browser. One of them with such functionality is PokerNow Club.
What poker game can you play online with friends?
There are several variants of poker and online poker sites try to offer as many versions of the game as they can. Generally, online poker has more games than live poker. Games such as Texas hold’em, Omaha, Omaha, Stud (and even 5 Card Stud), Stud H/L, Razz, 5-Card Draw, and so on can be found on online poker sites and apps.
This means you and your friends have a variety of games to choose from which will make the game more exciting. The most common variants of poker offered online are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud.
Texas Hold’em is easily the most popular form of poker you’ll find online today. You may have seen live tournaments of Texas Hold’em broadcasted on TV. One of the reasons for the popularity of this game is that it’s easy to learn. There are usually two blinds – the small and big blinds which must be paid by the two players left of the dealer.