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How to Play Online Poker with Friends

Play Poker Online With Friends

Looking for a way to play online poker with your friends and keep your home games running?

Some of the best online poker sites give you everything you need to create a private poker club, invite people to join you there, and play online poker with your friends for free and real money.

PokerStars and 888poker are the two largest poker rooms to offer a service like this one and by far the best ones to play poker with friends.

Setting up poker games with friends on these two sites is easy, fast and free. All you need is to make sure you and your friends have an account on the poker site of your choice and the right codes to access your private games.

Note: to compile this guide to the best poker apps to play online poker with friends, we tried other (supposedly) free apps like Pokerrrr 2, Poker Heat, and more.

We did not include them here because a) they are nowhere near PokerStars and 888poker in terms of options and features and, b) they are not really free. All the apps we tried forced us to complete in-app purchases to keep our games going. And that's not cool.

Best Poker Apps to Play Poker with Friends

Poker SiteHowReal Money GamesFree MoneyCountriesCreate Game
PokerStarsCreate your poker club and invite your friends to play cash games and tournamentsYesYesRegulated (US: NJ Only)Register (Free)
888pokerInvite your friends to play private games of virtual poker. Cash games and tournaments available.YesYesRegulated (US: NJ Only)Register (Free)

Online Home Games on PokerStars

Right now, PokerStars is your best choice to play private poker games online with friends.

On March 18, PokerNews Chief Editor William Shillibier published an extensive guide on how to set up a home game online on PokerStars. There, you find everything you need to get started in no time.

When you register for the PokerStars Home Games, you can choose between cash games and tournaments-

To create private poker "Home Games" and launch your first private poker game online, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Register a free account on PokerStars
  2. Install the PokerStars poker client
  3. Access the "Home Games" section
  4. Create your private poker game to play with friends

In the client, you find the 'Home Games' section at the bottom of the menu on the right-hand side.

How to play poker online with friends on PokerStars
Click on that tiny little icon on the right to enter a whole new world...

Once you are there, click on the 'Manage Games' tab and choose the type of game you want to play with your friends. You can choose between cash games and tournaments.

How to Set Up a Cash Game on PokerStars

Play private cash games online with friends
Pick your favorite game and get the table ready for your friends

To launch your table, choose the game, the format, the number of players you want in the game, and the currency.

The poker games you can play with your friends online are:

Poker VariantReal MoneyFree Play
Texas hold'emYesYes
Omaha H/LNoYes
Stud H/LYesYes
5-Card DrawYesYes
2-7 Single DrawYesYes
2-7 Triple DrawYesYes
8 GameYesYes

The stakes change whether you want to play with real money or not. For example, real money private games of Texas hold'em begin at $0.01 / $0.02 and go up to $0.50 / $1.

The free money equivalents have a completely different range with stakes moving from 100/200 up to 500,000/1,000,000.

Omaha cash games are available only in the play-money version.

How to Set Up a Private Poker Tournament on PokerStars

Creating a private online tournament to play online poker with your friends is equally simple.

Select the type of game you want to play, the number of players per table, the buy-in, the format, and you are good to go.

Play Online Poker Tournament with friends
Don't forget to give your tournament an E P I C name!

PokerStars gives you plenty of poker games to choose from. You can challenge your friends on your favourite variant — or you can set up a nice private game to discover some new poker games with them.

Your online private poker tournaments can be in any of the following variants:

Poker VariantReal MoneyFree Play
Texas hold'emYesYes
Omaha H/LYesYes
Stud H/LYesYes
5-Card DrawYesYes
2-7 Single DrawYesYes
2-7 Triple DrawYesYes
8 GameYesYes

Once you are all set, click on 'Create Tournament' and invite your friends to play.

How to Invite Friends to the PokerStars Home Games

To invite your friends to play online poker games with you, you need to add them as members of your poker club.

To do so, open the 'Manage Club' tab and click on 'How to Invite New Members'.

At this point, you get a message containing the only two info your friends need:

  • the Club ID Number
  • the invitation code

Copy the text and send it to your friends. Once they have it, they can join you in the club and see all the private poker games available.

Private Home Games Online on 888poker

888poker is another poker site where you can set up private games to play online poker with friends for free.

As explained by 888poker Ambassador Chris Moorman in the video below, the process is straightforward.

To get started, you need to download the 888poker client.


Once you have it, register a free gaming account (think of a cool username, please) and click on the 'Extra Games' link in the toolbar.

texas hold'em online with friends
Organizing private poker games on 888poker is faster

That's where you find the 'Play with Friends' feature.

If you have received an invite to play an online private poker game, click on 'Join the Game' and continue with the details you have.

But if you want to be the one 'to host' your next poker game with friends, click on 'Create New Game' to continue.

Private Tournaments vs Cash Games

The process at 888poker is faster as you do not need to create a poker club to host an online game of poker with your friends.

Decide whether you want to play a private poker cash game or a tournament and follow the instructions on the screen to select the stakes, starting time, and format.

online poker with friends no download
Use the in-browser client to play online poker with friends with no download

If you pick the tournament option, you can choose between a wide range of options that include freeroll tournaments and recurring events.

After you have made your choices, click on the 'Create' button to make the event or private cash game available.

Once the event is created, the process is the same as the one we have seen at PokerStars. You'll receive a text to share with your contacts where they find all the details to join the event and play an exciting game of online poker with friends!

Want to Get Better at Poker? Don't Miss These Articles!

  • How to Play Texas Hold'em Poker: a comprehensive guide to learning the ins and outs of the most popular poker game out there. Since everyone knows the game, your first games of virtual poker with friends are most likely going to be Texas hold'em ones.
  • Poker Hands Rankings: If not all of your friends are poker pro, this page will help them find out what-beats-what in poker
  • How to Play Poker for Beginners: A quick guide to learn the ropes in five minutes or less. From the betting rounds to the different formats — it's all in there.
  • Free Online Poker: A collection of all the best sites and apps to play free poker games online. Some of these pay out real money prizes, too.
  • How to Play Omaha Poker: Want to try something new? Check out how to get started with PLO and wow all your friends with exciting new games of virtual poker.
  • Types of Poker Games to Play Online: A collection of even more poker games to challenge your friends on PokerStars and 888poker!

Frequently Asked Question

Can I play online poker with friends on iPhone and Android?

Yes. The sites listed here work on iOS and Android devices. You can play online poker games with friends from desktop and mobile.

How much does it cost to play poker games with friends?

All these services are free. You and your friends only need to register a (free) account to play.

Can I play online poker for money?

Both PokerStars and 888poker offer real money games so - yes, you can play online poker for money with your friends. However, this option might not be available if real money poker games online are not legal in your country or state.

Can you play poker with only 2 players?

Yes, both sites require a minimum of two players for a poker game to begin.

Is it legal to play online poker with friends?

PokerStars and 888poker have licenses to operate in a large number of territories, including some states in the US. If you are able to register an account on their site, it means it is legal for you to play online poker with your friends.

Need More Friends for Your Home Games Online?

Want to add some new 'virtual' friends to your private poker games online? Share your Club ID in the comments below and get ready to welcome your new players!

  • Looking for a way to play poker online with friends? These sites let you run home games online for free and real money

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