We suspect that almost everybody has played a game of poker at one time or another. But that is generally not the kind of poker that is played inside some of the world's biggest casinos or online poker rooms. What most people usually play around the kitchen table as they are growing up is a five-card draw game or something similar. But the game that has become the dominant force in poker, and the one that a whole generation of new players is most intimately familiar with, since it is that which is televised - is Texas Hold'em.
We encourage everybody to sit down and learn how to play the game. However, we also know that the intimidation factor is very high, and for that reason we note that there are plenty of outlets for you to learn about the game without having to risk any money, or at least a lot of it. And perhaps we should launch into a basic exploration of those outlets.
Naturally, you can't walk into a brick and mortar casino environment and be able to play with training wheels; that is, you're not going to be able to play for fun only. And it's doubtful your friends are going to engage in too many games like that at home. So if you are starting virtually from scratch, you are going to have to find your "poker education" elsewhere. You're in luck; most of the major poker sites out there have ".net" versions in which they allow people to play for free, as a quasi-promo over to their ".com" version, although there are certain laws that govern promoting one over to the other.
These sites generally present themselves as a "poker school," in the sense that they have lessons you can avail yourself of in the way of written word, audio or video. You can go from one level to the next, and you get to test yourself in an environment where presumably there are other beginning-level players. This is the place where you will truly be "playing for fun," and for the most part, they do a pretty good job. They are also free of charge, so that is not a bad way to get started. If you are looking for something a little more comprehensive, to eventually take you to the point where you can play with just about anybody, you can turn to some of subscription-based instruction sites, and that is what we will explore next time.