Most people are surprised to learn that play-money poker is extremely popular, with the most common space being Zynga poker on Facebook and some online platforms. And while it isn’t real money, there are definite strategies to help you win even at Zynga poker tables.
Some simple and effective Zynga poker strategies include playing a tight game, betting aggressively, and avoiding the bluff as much as possible. It’s crucial to remember that the norms of regular poker don’t apply here as there’s play money involved.
In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper into some strategies and see how you can leverage them to make the most of your Zynga poker games. Below we’ve listed some practical tips to make the most of your Zynga poker games.
1. Collect as Many Chips as You Can
First off, it’s crucial to remember that Zynga poker uses play money, so the games are pretty different from real money games.
The platform wants you to keep playing and will give you several opportunities to collect play-money chips. Most people who go broke on Zynga poker end up spending real money to get play chips. However, if you pay attention to the various offers, you can replenish your chips without spending any money:
- Turn on your Facebook notifications. If you log in through your phone, you should receive a few thousand free chips daily.
- Enter the Zynga poker league. It doesn’t matter where you finish because there are rewards at every level of the game. However, if you play well, you can earn plenty of chips through league rewards.
- Complete specific challenges on the platform. The challenges are quite straightforward, like ‘win five hands’ or ‘bet on fifteen hands.’ Each accomplishment gives you a specific number of chips you can add to your play-money bankroll.
- Refer Friends and get them to sign up on Zynga. The best part is they don’t even have to play for you to receive your chip bonus!
- Spin the Zynga slot machine. And if you spin the wheel every day for a week, you receive a ‘spin streak’ and make significant bonus chips. You have to spin once a day to maintain the streak, but you can increase your chip count by spinning once every four hours when the slot machine resets.
- Watch video ads. Zynga gives this option to players in some countries. So if you have that option, you can spend a few minutes watching videos to earn chips quickly.
The reason you want to collect more chips in Zynga poker is so you can increase your tolerance for risk and play higher stakes if you want to. Since there’s play money involved, people are sure to bet heavily in these games, and having more chips allows you to get in on the action.
2. Play a Tight Game
As mentioned, Zynga involves play-money chips, and people don’t care too much about how they’re spent. As such, they will bet on almost any two hole cards, and you can take advantage of that by playing a tight game.
Playing tight means folding everything other than premium and strong hands. Cards like AA, KK, QQ, JJ, and pocket tens are ideal. You may also play AK, AQ, and specific suited connectors. But ensure you’re playing only pairs or face cards, so you increase your chances of winning.
Most people throw away chips just to see all five community cards, so you significantly increase your chances of winning if you have a strong hand.
The hands you choose to play will have a considerable impact on your success at Zynga poker. So, play fewer hands and go big on the ones you play.
You don’t need to be the biggest nit, but playing tight will increase your chips consistently. Wonder what qualifies as a nit? Read here.
3. Bet Aggressively
Aggressive betting may seem counterintuitive to playing a tight game, but it’s crucial to leveling up in the Zynga poker world.
While playing Zynga poker, the worst thing you can do is to limp into the pot with a good hand. Limping means calling someone’s raise or the blinds just to enter the pot. However, if you’re playing a hand, you want to raise aggressively before the flop. It’s best to do this for a few reasons:
- You build the pot, so when you win at the end, you receive a significant number of chips.
- You push out players with marginal hands. People will play almost any hand since this is a play money game, even forfeiting chips just to see the flop.
- You can place a range on those who enter the pot after you’ve bet aggressively pre-flop.
Aside from an aggressive pre-flop game, you want to continue an aggressive betting style as the game progresses. Remember, many players will see their hands to showdown if they don’t have to pay too much for it. And in some instances, the river card can change the entire game.
If you don’t bet aggressively with a good hand, you’re letting too many people into the pot, and one of them may get lucky on the flop. It’s not uncommon for all nine players to be part of a Zynga poker hand, especially when the pre-flop cost is low. So it’s best to push out as many people as you can.
Raise enough so that most players drop out of the hand. And since there’s play money at stake, betting aggressively doesn’t lead to dire consequences.
You can read more about what to do if you keep missing every flop in this article. It should show you how missed flops need to be played in order for you to increase the chips stack size.
4. Don’t Play Real Poker
The most helpful tip when playing Zynga poker is to remember that this isn’t a real poker game, so the typical rules and styles won’t work here. It’s best to avoid applying what you’ve learned at regular tables to your Zynga poker games.
When there’s play-money at stake, the regular rules of poker go out the window. People don’t raise or call depending on their hands and whether the bet is justified. Most people playing Zynga poker want to enjoy the thrill of the game without investing any real money into this pastime.
So to play Zynga poker effectively, you need to let go of the regular rules of poker and play a different game. As mentioned already, tight play with an aggressive betting style is the most effective way to guarantee success at the Zynga table.
5. Avoid Using Your Entire Bankroll
Rationing your bankroll out over several games is the most fundamental aspect of poker, whether you’re using real or play money. On Zynga, you’ll have the chance to replenish your bankroll regularly, but it’s best if you set aside some chips for later games.
By saving chips, you can eventually start to play at higher stakes, resembling real poker games.
Proper bankroll management is also a valuable skill to have if you ever plan on transitioning to actual games.
6. Don’t Bluff or Overcall Draws
Since there’s only play money involved here, people don’t care what you’re playing with most of the time; they just want to see what they’re going to land on the river.
As such, bluffing is a terrible strategy to win a hand at Zynga poker. Anyone with a bottom pair is likely to call, and you’ll lose your chips for no reason. Instead, wait till you have a decent hand and bet heavily when you do.
Another common mistake people make in Zynga is calling too often when they have a draw. A ‘draw’ is when you haven’t landed a hand yet, but the potential of landing that hand is pretty high.
For example, if you’ve got four diamonds, the likelihood of a fifth is pretty high, considering there are nine other diamonds in the deck. And in a real money game, hands like these hold a higher value because there are often fewer people in the pot.
However, in Zynga poker, you can expect eight or even all nine players to be in the hand till the river. More players mean if you’re betting on a draw, a few other players are betting on one too.
And the chance of them having a higher draw than you is a possibility.
For example, if you have a three and there’s four, five, and six on the table, you only need a seven to make a straight. While a straight is a strong hand, another player at the table may have an eight. So if the fourth card is a seven, you’ll both have a straight, but theirs will be higher.
As such, it’s best to avoid overcalling on draws because sometimes landing the right card can make it much harder to fold when someone raises.
7. Avoid All-Ins Without Premium Hands pre-flop
In Zynga poker, you’ll see a lot of players going all-in pre-flop. It’s pretty standard, and you’ve probably done it a few times after getting mad at someone for re-raising you.
Most of the time, though, you should consider folding when someone goes all-in unless you have a premium hand. Cards like AA, KK, QQ, and JJ are perhaps the only hands you want to go all-in with, especially if there are multiple players in the pot already or left to act after you.
You may have to deal with all-ins after the flop as well, but that’s a more straightforward call as you can gauge the relative strength of your hand here.
Most of the time I would not go all-in with AK preflop unless I see the opponent playing very wide. Remember AK is worse than a flip against the QQ.
The most important thing to remember when playing Zynga poker is that almost everyone on the platform is a recreational player looking to gamble and have a good time. You can’t afford to take their playing style seriously as they’re playing without any strategy or structure in mind.
However, you can still make the most of these games by following the strategies laid out for you here.
If you however want to become a serious poker player making 3 or 4 figures regularly per month, then I recommend you this micro stakes course (I watched all of the videos there and it has great fundamental knowledge to become a winner in poker.).