Online Poker With Friends (Private Games and Tournaments)

Some of the best poker sites have private games or clubs that you can create where you can enjoy real money or play money poker with your friends. This article is a guide to where to play private poker games online.

Playing poker online with friends is not new. In fact, PokerStars has been offering private home games for years since the early 2010s. These types of private online poker games have gained more and more attention and many more operators nowadays offer the option to play online in private games. In this guide, we’ve put together all the information you need to enjoy poker with your friends at some of the most popular sites.

Setting up online home games at our recommended sites is easy, fast and free. You can usually choose from play money or real money options. Just make sure that you and your fellow players have an account at the same poker room and that you all are members of the same poker club that you created.

Best Poker Sites to Play Poker With Friends Online

SiteTournamentsCash GamesVariantsAccepts US players
PokerStars Logo
PokerStars
NLH, PLO, Stud, Razz, H.O.R.S.E., …
888poker Logo
888poker
NLH
Americas Cardroom Logo
Americas Cardroom
NLH, PLO, PLO-8
Overview of all Poker Operators With Private Home Games

See also: Largest Online Poker Sites

Play Online Poker With Friends at PokerStars

PokerStars Logo
  • In PokerStars Home Games you can host cash games and tournaments.
  • You can play any variant and all games are available with real and play money.
  • Leaderboards are available so you can set up your own leagues.

One of the easiest ways to play online poker with friends is probably the Home Game section of the PokerStars app. Pokerstars Home Games, available for over a decade, allows you to create your own poker club with both real and play money.

The PokerStars Software is fast and easy to understand and the PokerStars Home Games mobile is also available for Android, iPad or any device. And we can definitely say it’s a complete home gaming setup available online. You can create cash games and tournaments with two, six or nine players at a table. Plus, what is perhaps most impressive, is the fact that you can choose any variant. When you play poker online with friends on other sites, Hold’em and Omaha may be your only options. At PokerStars, you can play H.O.R.S.E., Stud, 8-Game and any other variant you can think of.

Finally, you can adjust the speed of a game, whether there are breaks or not, how many people get paid, late registration and much more. In addition, as a club administrator, you can cancel memberships, display real names, schedule various events and create leaderboards. In short, the PokerStars Home Games application offers the most complete private online gaming setup on the market today.

How to create your Private Club on Pokerstars

Simply follow these steps:

  • Click on Home Games in the top menu of the PokerStars App and then click on “Create Club”.
  • Enter a club name and set an invitation code (at least eight characters).
  • Select “+ Create” in the club window to create new games.

Cash games can be any variant, between two and nine players, and played in USD, EUR or play money. Stakes range from $0.01/$0.02 to $0.50/$1 and players can sit down with stack sized between 40bbs and 100bbs. Please note that PokerStars takes regular rake in those games.

Tournaments can have any start date and time, be any variant and have between two and nine players at the table. You can set the buy-in from $0.11 to $33 and use USD, EUR, GBP, CAD or play money. Finally, you can select the MTT type, starting stacks, speed, late registration and payouts.

» Create your Home Games at PokerStars

Play Online Poker With Friends at 888poker

888poker Logo
  • You can set up No Limit Hold’em Cash Games and Tournaments.
  • Tournament buy-ins are available for up to $100 and Cash Games up to $5 / $10.
  • You can create freerolls but not play money cash games.

888poker created and adapted its home games on mobile in June 2020 to accommodate the huge demand that occurred at the time. There are fewer variants to play with your friends than you can choose from on PokerStars, but it’s still a great option to set up and play different types of games. The software is perfect for beginners and easy to navigate and understand.

However, be warned that you can’t set up private table games on mobile, you can only join them. So, the player setting up the game must do so from the desktop software and then play the games on mobile if they want to.

How to Create Private Poker Games at 888poker

  • Start by creating your account (if you don’t already have one) below: go to 888poker
  • Log in and click on your avatar in the main lobby. Click ‘Play with friends’.
  • You will be taken to a screen where you can choose whether to join the game your friends invited you to or create a private game yourself.
  • You then choose whether you want to set up a cash game or a tournament via tab.
  • Fill in your preferences in the corresponding boxes and click ‘Create’.

How to Invite Friends to Private Games at 888poker

Once you click ‘Create’, your game will be created. But you will still need to invite your friends to join. You can do this by email or share the link anywhere.

  • Email – Enter your email address on the confirmation page and click “Send” to receive a personalized message with the game details. You can forward this email to your friends or contacts.
  • Link – Share the link via social networks, direct messages, forums – anywhere. Your friends just click and join in. Make sure the people you want to join know the password you set for the game.

» Set Up Home Games at 888poker

Set Up Private Tournaments at Americas Cardroom

Americas Cardroom Logo
  • You can set up private tourneys at ACR.
  • The buy-in is limited to $1.65.
  • ACR accepts players from all over the US and most other countries.

For many US players, PokerStars and 888poker are not an option yet to play online. But the operator Americas Cardroom also has the option to create private tournaments. To create those you need to send the operator a short email and the tournament will be created within 24 hours. While the option of having private games at ACR is not as comprehensive as the options available elsewhere, the poker site accepts players from all over the US.

How to set up Private Tournaments at Americas Cardroom

Send an email to friends@americascardroom.eu with the following information:

  • Variant – Choose from NLH, PLO and PLO-8
  • Structure: Choose from Fast (~ 60 minutes) / Medium (~ 90 minutes) / Slow (~ 180 minutes)
  • Name of tourney
  • Password for the tourney

The buy-in for those private tournaments is restricted to $1.65.

» Join Americas Cardroom

Some Tips for Playing Private Online Poker Games

The biggest plus of private online home games is being able to play a fun game and connect with friends despite physical distance. The poker rooms make it easy for you to set up any game. You don’t have to worry about having enough chips, who is dealing on which hand, and how to keep track of time and level structures.

On the downside, it’s hard to enjoy the true spirit of the game if there’s no physical betting involved. One thing is for sure, the game is going to be more exciting if your table is playing for real money. Both cash games and tournaments are available for play money on PokerStars and 888poker allows free tournaments.

Finally, chat is always available to the customer (except in some cases of mobile play) to keep the table friendly and entertaining. But it is possible to take the game to a higher level, for example via video chat or Zoom for additional banter?

Top Online Poker Sites

FAQ: Private Online Poker Games

Can you play Online Poker with your friends?

Yes, for several years, online home games were already quite popular. However, the market has exploded in the past years. Today, you can play poker with your friends on various real-money sites, such as PokerStars or 888poker and many free money apps are also available.

Where can you play Poker Online with your friends?

You need to download a poker app or desktop poker program to play private poker games with friends. Next, you can read our online poker reviews or look at the options we list on this page to get an idea of which operators are worth trying for online home games. Among the biggest operators to provide Online Poker Home Games are PokerStars and 888poker.

Does PokerStars charge rake for their home games?

The rake for PokerStars home games is the same as for regular cash games and tournaments. The rake for a tournament is paid at registration and is a percentage of the buy-in (usually between 6%-10%). For cash games, the rake is taken per pot and ranges between 3.5% and 5%. The amount depends on the type of game, the number of players and the blind level. For lower stakes, the home game rake is smaller.

Are Online Poker Home Games legal?

You can always play on free money apps, but we only recommend regulated and licensed poker rooms for our players. Real money online poker games are legal if you play at a site with valid licenses in your jurisdiction, just like the ones we recommend on this page that have licenses in multiple territories.

Can you play Private Tournaments or Cash Games at GGPoker?

GGPoker currently doesn’t offer private home games or tournaments. Instead, the operator focuses on their own games and no home game section is planned for the foreseeable future at GGPoker.