Zynga poker is a wildly popular Facebook based game, boasting 35 million users worldwide. It is somewhat unique among free poker platforms as it offers players the ability to flaunt their money by tipping the dealer, buying avatars, purchasing gifts like drinks and cigars for themselves and even other players. You are likely here though because you want to learn how to win a lot of chips. We will do our best to tell you how. If you play well enough, you should NEVER have to buy chips from Zynga poker.
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Getting Free Chips From Zynga Poker
There are a few ways to get chips directly from Zynga, when you start an account you begin with 2,000 chips, which is not a lot, but the good news is that if you leave on push notifications, they will give you 2,000 more chips daily just by logging in. You also get free chips for leveling up. Be sure to log in daily, even if you aren’t going to play just to get those free chips. If you log in through you phone, it will be automatic, if you log-in through a computer, you will want to play the Lucky Bonus which gives you the chance to win up to win 1 million chips depending upon how many friends you have invited or made.
Winning at Cash Games
Building from Scratch: When you start, it is pretty tough because you have a very limited number of chips, but regardless, this can teach you proper bankroll management. This isn’t as important in the beginning though, because you can get 2,000 new chips every day if you bust your bank roll. You have two choices then, play on a game like a 10/20 table or try to grind it out playing on 1/2 games hoping to make a little, but accumulating chips daily from your daily bonus until you have enough to advance to a higher table. If you play the 10/20 game you are looking to get lucky and triple up or better. If you do triple or double up, leave the table and try to do it again on another table. I suggest buying in with $1000, that way you have one more chance in case you don’t get lucky the first time. Why am I saying get lucky? Because you are playing with your entire bankroll, it doesn’t matter how good you are, this is a risky strategy, but can work in the beginning since you can just get 2,000 more chips the next day to try again.
While Zynga poker is very different from real money poker, if you play a proper strategy you can learn some fundamentals that will give you an advantage if you ever want to transition to real money games. Once you get about 10,000 chips, you can start to play proper strategy.
Bankroll Management: First thing to know, what is a bankroll? A bankroll is the total amount of chips you have to play with. In this case, it will be the total amount in your Zynga poker account. In real money poker, the suggested bankroll for cash games is about 15 times the buy in for risky players who are starting out and want to build their stake. It is OK to use a risky range since this is play money. However, we recommend about 10 buy-ins for Zynga poker. This means that if you have 10,000 chips, you should be playing in a game where the max buy-in is NO LARGER than 1,000 chips.
There are a few reasons for using proper bankroll management:
1) It allows you to take some risks that you can’t take if you play with your entire bankroll. If you don’t have any back up chips, you may not be able to make some calls or plays you could with a larger bankroll behind you.
2) It helps to reduce the variance (risk) of the game.
Why Not Buy-in with Your Max Roll? The reason is simple, it doesn’t matter how good you are, you WILL get unlucky. While skill is a huge part of poker, a player will lose a big hand and even a buy-in or two due to getting unlucky. Flopping a set under another set, getting a smaller straight or flush vs a bigger flush or straight, getting run down by players who draw, or simply getting in a hand you can’t fold. This WILL happen and there is nothing you can do to get around it. What you CAN do is play in a way to reduce your variance. The biggest protection against getting unlucky is proper bankroll management. Playing with no more than 1/10th your bankroll gives you 10 buy-ins before you go broke. If you want even more protection, reduce your stakes to say 1/20th your bankroll, which would give you 20 buy-ins. We suggest playing about 1/20th or 1/30th your stake once you get above $5 million in chips. If you do this, you will have a much smaller chance of going broke.
Ever see players whose highest chip level was 10 Million plus and now they only have a few hundred thousand chips or none at all? They likely practiced poor bankroll management and the odds caught up with them. This means they played stakes far larger than they should have, which means they were probably playing 2M/4M games with only a 10 Million bankroll or even smaller bankrolls.
Losing all your chips can be frustrating and take the fun out of the game. However, this is easily avoided by using the simple rules of bankroll management. After all, you want to learn how to be a better poker player, right? Proper bankroll management is the first step.
Cash Game Pre-Flop Betting
Most tables are loose passive pre-flop, which is actually quite good even in real money games. Loose means that players will play a lot of different hands, including low ranking hands pre-flop even after raises. Passive means that when large bets are on the table there are rarely large re-raises, even when players are holding AA, KK or other big hands.
AA, KK, QQ: Raise big pre-flop. If you are in early position, raise 20-30 times the big blind. If you are in late position, just go all in. If you did not go all in pre-flop, go all in on the flop if you have top pair to the board. Of course AA is always top pair, so shove on the flop.
JJ, 10 10: Raise 10-15 times the big blind. If you have top pair to the board, go all-in or make huge bets 2-3 times the pot, whichever is bigger. Otherwise you are looking for sets or one card straights.
99 and smaller pocket pair: The likelihood that this will be the top pair to the board is much smaller, so just call smaller bets or raises to see a flop. You are looking for a set. If it happens that you do have top pair to the board, go all-in or make large bets like with JJ or 10 10.
You will mainly just want to call small bets/blinds with weak hands. You can call with nearly any two cards pre-flop for small bets, but I generally like any kind of connects (QK, 56, 79) suited or not, or any suited cards, and of course the stronger hands like pocket pairs and AK, AQ as well. Again, you can play a huge range here. There is no use trying to bluff pre-flop to pick up blinds as there will be at least one caller a majority of the time. If you pick up a high suited connector (AK, AQ, KQ, etc) raising it up 7 times the big blind should narrow down the field a bit. But be careful after the flop if you don’t connect with the board.
There are two main reasons to raise pre-flop:
1.) To protect your possible top pair if you hit from garbage two pairs and other possible hands.
2.) Build the pot in case you get a really good hand, including flush or straight draws.
If you get pocket QQ or higher, try to narrow down the field with an all-in. If the majority of the table will call anyway, you may just want to see a flop before betting. In which case you are looking for low flops or, of course, your set (3 of a kind). The point is, keep the pots small without large pre-flop hands. If you have big hands, make people pay to see the flop.
Cash Game Post-flop Betting
When you get a good hand, BET IT!!! Don’t slow play, especially with more than 2 people in a hand. The likelihood that there are draws out there increases with each additional player. Make people pay for their draws. The odds of a player hitting a flush draw are roughly 23%. If you think you have the best hand, make sure you bet about pot-size bets or higher to make them overpay for their draw. The more confident you are in your hand, the more you should bet.
NO BLUFFING!!! No kidding. You will likely get called. There is not enough fold equity in any hand to use this strategy. Remember, this is play money; people don’t really have anything to lose except for bragging rights. I will admit I have bluffed a few times on Zynga, but those were very rare situations, probably 1 in 250 hands.
You are looking for top pair or higher on the flop. Unless the bets are really small as a percentage of the pot, don’t try to draw to over-pairs. If you don’t hit on the flop with a good hand or draw, fold. The problem with drawing to over-pairs is that you may already be beat, it usually isn’t worth it. When you draw, look for straights and flushes.
Keep in mind the number of people in a hand after a flop. If there are 8 other people in a hand, your top pair is not very strong. If it is heads up, it is likely good (but not guaranteed). Still, you will make most of your money on big hands (two pair or higher) that give you confidence to bet. Most players still play loose-passive after the flop. Believe it or not, very few players actually bluff. If they go all-in on the river, chances are they have a good hand. It doesn’t mean the nuts (best hand), but probably two pair or better.
Don’t be afraid to fold. Too many times players will know they are beat with their two pair, or straights when there is a one card flush on the board, yet they will call off their stack anyway. When there are 5+ people in a hand and large bets are being made, chances are your pair isn’t good. You have to gauge your hand strength against the number of players in the hand and the bets being made. The more players in the hand, the stronger your hand will need to be in order to be considered a winning hand. Don’t be afraid to lay down hands that you think are beat.
Don’t overcall draws. One aspect of skill regarding poker is math and valuation. If you constantly overpay for draws, or you call for losing draws, you will go broke. If there are 8 other players after a flop, the likelihood that someone else has a flush draw with you is very good, especially if there are several callers, so be careful with anything less than a King high flush.
The odds of hitting a draw from flop to river:
Open ended straight draw and flush draw: 54%
Four card flush draw on the flop: 35%
Open ended straight draw (8 outs): 31%
Gutshot straight draw (4 outs): 16%
These odds help us to price our draw. You don’t want to pay more than that percentage of the pot to see those draws. So, if the total pot is $100k, you don’t want to pay more than roughly $50K in bets if you are holding an open ended straight and flush draw. If you have a gutshot straight draw, you don’t want to pay more than roughly $16k in total bets.
Winning Poker Zynga Tournaments
Tournaments at Zynga Poker are a bit like bingo, even more so than the ‘cash games’. The starting stacks are only 1,000. The blinds start at 10/20 and advance fairly quickly. If you play the lower tournaments, it is quite common for more than one player, sometimes 3 or 4 players to move all in. This is a risky move no matter your hand. Even pocket aces are diminished when it is 4 handed or more. I would still play KK or higher there, but most times I try to stay out of the way when players are going all in beginning. This usually leaves a more narrow field.
Play much tighter in the beginning of the tournament, only playing very strong hands in early position (meaning first few players to act), meaning pocket 99, A10 suited and above. In late position, you can play lesser hands including low pocket pairs A5 suited, KQ off suite and up. As the tournament goes on you will need to loosen up your play and hand selection, but don’t get too crazy. When there are 4 or fewer players, it is OK to start going all in with AQ and AK or better pre-flop to take down some blinds which should be a little larger at this point. Remember, if your stake gets down to about 10 times the big blind, pick a spot with a good hand and go all-in. Otherwise you will probably just get blinded out. No sense in calling bets unless you are late position and just want to see a flop. However, if it is worth calling with, you may as well go all in to try to take the blind.
The shootout is a 3 tiered tournament. The first tier only costs $2k in chips, but if you win all 3 tiers, you can win $500k which is quite good for such a small initial investment. However, you must play sound strategy in order for this to be profitable. However, you don’t have to place 1st in all tournaments to be profitable. You only need to win the 1st and at least get 3rd in the second tournament to profit, which isn’t too difficult to do. When you make it to the third tournament, play it safe, even 5th place gets a nice payout.
Shootout Payout Structure
|Prize Structure||1st Tournament||2nd Tournament||3rd Tournament|
|1st Place||$2,000 & Entry to Round 2||$15,000 & Entry to Round 3||$500,000|
Following these simple Zynga poker tips should help you to be a consistently winning player. Remember, this is free poker, most players will not be playing good strategy, so you have to adjust yours accordingly. However, if you master this game and learn to be profitable, it will help you become a fairly good low stakes for real money cash games. By low stakes I mean $1/$2 blinds or less which is what a majority of people play live.
More Zynga Poker Tips
- Do NOT tip the dealer. It will not improve your luck. It is only a waste of chips.
- Be sure to fulfill the easy goals, this helps you level up more quickly, each level up is $1,500 in free chips.
- Make new friends, not only will this help you level up as well, but you will also increase your chances of bonus chips on the slot machine. Some may even be kind enough to donate chips to you.
- Keep track of new players by purchasing a cheap gift like a donut for everyone at the table. Not only will this help you level up, but you will be able to see when new players come to the table because they won’t have the donuts (most people don’t buy donuts for themselves). This can help you keep track of players in certain seats and use their playing styles against them. Of course only do this later on when you have the chips to spend.