All of the online poker rooms offer you the opportunity to play poker without risking a penny of your own money. You just download and install the software, open an account and then login. You don’t have to give any payment details to do this. If a poker room does ask you for a credit card number, just to open an account, leave and choose another one.
When you create the account you are given a certain amount of play chips. If you lose them all you will be given more.
One of the advantages of Fun money, is that you can learn to play, without risking your own money doing so. Or if you join a new poker room you can get used to the software before you have to put hard cash on the table.
The main disadvantage you’ll tend to find is that because there is no real money at risk, people generally play a lot looser than they would at a real money table. Some players will call every hand down to the river (last community card dealt in holdem), with hands that most good players would fold without question in a real money game.
That said you can get a realistic game sometimes, and for a complete beginner it is a valuable aid to learning the different games and strategies.
If you do decide to play at these tables you should try and make the play chips as important to you as you can. Don’t see every flop and call everything just because other players are doing so. Try to play as you would on a real money table and accumulate chips though tight skillful play rather than pure luck. At Absolute Poker you can earn $50 of real money if you can build up 15 million play chips. Sounds impossible ? Well over one hundred players in the Absolute Poker 15 million chip Hall of Fame would probably disagree. Some of them have done it five times !
Some poker rooms also offer ‘freeroll’ tournaments which are free to enter but have a real cash prize.
Absolute Poker currently have a $50 freeroll every two to three hours which pays $10 to the winner and $5 to the other players who made the final table. There can be up to 2000 players in these freerolls at times so the competition is hot, but its a risk free way to get acquainted with Multi Table tournaments.