I want to learn to play poker, but I don't know where to start. I thought about finding computer program, something like Microsoft's Solitaire, to start practicing and learning it. I am searching for an offline client with online option. As with any game that is played in casino, I have always been very skeptical about it, so it is hard for me to find a valid free software on the internet. The final goal is learn it and teach my own friends.

P.S. I am asking here because there are a lot of scam sites on the internet and it is hard to get started without any knowledge of this field.

  • It seem like there would be a market for a poker training tool that you play against bots but I have not found one. A help mode it would tell you number of outs. For a bet calculate pot odds. I wrote one but it go too complex so I did not try and take it to market.
    – paparazzo
    May 16, 2018 at 18:29
  • There was a now defunct software company called Wilson Software that put out some reasonable good for the time(late 90's) practice software. You would really have to search around to find a copy.
    – Jon
    May 18, 2018 at 10:28

2 Answers 2


So pretty much all of the major online card rooms offer play money to learn how to play the game, pokerstars, 888 & partypoker. I'm sure other reputable ones offer play money options too.

As for a client that allows for offline and online options, I don't think one exists from my knowledge. Your best bet would probably to download a poker video game, something like governor of poker or Poker Night at the Inventory.

So some things with the relevance as these as a learning tool to consider:

  1. People won't play seriously with play money as such it's not a great way to learn anything other than the very basics.
  2. Playing offline against bots will only again teach you the basics as often these games against bots end up being find how to exploit them do that every time.

As a side and something that I think would be a better way to learn would be to pick up some poker books, there are many great ones out there, even though it's rather old Harrington on Hold'em is a nice starting book, especially to a basic solid ABC style of poker. Once you've finished reading some basic books, you can move onto more advanced books, Jonathan Little has several great poker books, Essential Poker Math by Alton Hardin, The Raiser's Edge (Old but still good), etc.

Honestly you're a blank canvas, and my biggest piece of advice to learning poker as someone who hasn't played before, is learn it the right way. Don't learn the way a lot of people do by playing first. I think a huge percentage of poker players who are winning players will tell you all of their initial bad habits from learning the game which they had to then go unlearn over the years. It's extremely hard to unlearn a bad habit and there is no better way to pick up a bad habit than to jump into something you have no idea about and end up getting lucky.

TL;DR I'd recommend picking up a few books, read them, then play some play money or low stakes cash. Really though you have an amazing opportunity, with a huge wealth of poker knowledge shared now in books for you from some of the greatest minds in Poker, use that rather than playing initially.


You may prefer if a initial cost is not a trouble to search for an AI based training system, this is gona be future poker, but you will need to play at low tables to seriously perform your level, as you need to analyze you playing with humans, not with the bot.

As you program and you should feel confortable on linux, I will tell you there is a project called holding nuts and another one pokerth, they are alive on ubuntu software at least, not sure if with online activity. Best you can do if it is competitive is to learn there, and don't forget to store all your hands. That may be the best way to have for free human played hands (by you) and search for weakness with a more sofisticated program. I played 10 years ago on ubuntu and there was some kind of online competition environment, with a rank, ELO system I think it was.

Free poker at the sites are not real hands, is people just playing crazy. This may change shortly. You would need then to start at low tables I agree, and at least read one good book before starting to put chips on the table.

I have seen some recent poker coaches at the web rounding 200$, and they migth arise cheaper training systems in some time with AI comming, I recommend you to envolve in new technologies. The bot analyzes your games and becomes your personal coach.


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