» Online Poker
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Some people play poker exclusively online, without going anywhere near a live game. Others like to mix it up and play poker live and on the internet. Despite the huge popularity of online poker, there are still some poker players who avoid online poker and instead prefer the green felt to the click of the mouse. These people are missing out on the huge opportunities offered by online poker. Here are some of the reasons why online poker is better than live poker:
The number one reason why online poker is better live poker is because there’s always a game to be found. Sure, some times of day are busier than others- such as evenings and weekends. But it doesn’t matter what time of day, there’s people playing poker online 24/7. Possibly the most annoying aspect of live poker is waiting around for a game to start. Of course this is assuming they even have enough people wanting to play poker. While with online poker, you might not be able to always jump straight into the game of your choice, there’s never much waiting around.
Comfort of Home
Not only are there an abundance of poker games waiting for you, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home. There are no travel costs, no worries about how you’re going to get home, or getting stuck in traffic. There’s no need to bother getting dressed up either. Heck, you can even play poker naked if you like. Doing this at a live poker game would get you locked up. Let’s not forget, you also save money on food and drink, as the fridge is never far away when you’re playing online poker.
Online Poker is Cheaper
Online poker doesn’t just save you money on travel, food and drink. The poker itself is also much cheaper, which is particularly beneficial if you’re just starting out learning how to play poker, and don’t want to spend too much. If you go to a casino or card room you might find many cash games below $1/$2. The rake at live poker venues is also much higher than at online poker sites. Plus if you win a hand playing poker online there’s no obligation to tip the dealer – you can’t anyway!
Play More Poker Hands
The most noticeable difference between online poker and live poker is the hands per hour ratio. When you play poker online there’s no waiting around for the dealer to shuffle the cards, potential miss-deals, working out the pot, and the players are generally much quicker to act – to name just a few things. You get to see so many more hands per hour playing online poker, which means more opportunities, more decisions, and less boredom.
Many online poker players like to play on multiple tables at the same time. Just playing one table at a time means you get to see more hands per hour than in live poker, but if you’re playing on multiple tables then obviously this becomes an even bigger factor. Playing multiple tables also reduces the variance, and you can play at much lower limits – thereby spreading the risk. If you are playing poker in a live venue, let’s say a $1/$2 NL game, you’d probably want to sit down with about $200 – which is at risk on any given hand. You could spread this same $200 across multiple tables, at lower stakes, when you play online.
Tracking Your Game
It’s always nice to know if you’re winning, losing, or breaking even at poker. Sure, you can keep notes on how much you’re spending when you play live poker. I used to keep a spreadsheet to track my income and expenses from live poker games. But sometimes it’s easy to forget how much was spent, particularly with re-buy events. Of course, this is just basic tracking. When you play poker online you can get instant hand histories, and access to a huge wealth of data. It goes far beyond just saying if you’re a profitable player or not. You can find leaks in your game and plug the holes. By analysing your play you can improve your skills as a poker player.
Bonuses and Promotions
Online poker is a fiercely competitive industry, and with so many poker sites looking to attract customers, there are a multitude of bonuses and promotions on offer. Casinos like to offer promotions to their patrons, but when it comes to poker they care much less. Poker rooms don’t make much money for casinos, so they don’t really bother trying too hard. However online poker sites are only too eager to offer bonuses and promotions, be it 100% signup bonuses for new poker players, or re-load bonuses for existing players. They really want you to play poker at their site, which is something you can and should take advantage of.
I think the advantages of online poker that have been outlined so far, are fairly comprehensive. Of course playing poker in a live environment has its advantages too – such as the social interaction, and being able to see players’ reactions. The purpose of this article is not to knock live poker, but to give valid reasons for why online poker is superior in so many ways. It’s fair to say this has been achieved. Good luck at the tables!
With the WSOP currently running and tons of poker related news and blog posts, i figured i’d get back to basics. I recently read an article about how Phil Hellmuth is changing his game up at the WSOP. As a player with the most tournament wins at WSOP, is this really a wise move? He says that he is no longer avoiding aggressive opponents who threaten to knock him out. In the past he has avoided all in situations, opting instead to outplay opponents without letting them get lucky. This translates to players pushing their stack when they no longer want to see cards, andHistorically Phil will fold. This year he Says “All those amateurs making all those crazy moves on me that they got away with in the past, this year I’m calling.”
Changing up your game can be very difficult for most people. If you’re a conservative person by nature, and you want to start playing loose and easy, that transition is not going to feel comfortable for you. You’ll want to check the flop, even when in position (bad move anyways) or you’ll want to bet the minimum amount to get the player to fold (generally a good rule of thumb), but if you’re playing out of character this could easily backfire on you.
On the flip side, if you’re an ultra aggressive player who is trying to really pick their spots, you wont be able to help yourself in seeing opportunity when the table checks around and you folded preflop. This could lead to you overplaying rag hands and getting money in when you’re behind (“i missed that opportunity last hand, I’m not going to let another one go by”).
My advice? Choose a lower level than your use to playing in and really practice those skills. Make it a low risk area, and make sure that the result you’re looking forisn’t “making money” but improving your game. If you’re goal is to only play premium hands, stick to it and see how your fare. You may be surprised. And if your goal is to become ultra aggressive, do that too, and track it. Give yourself pro’s and con’s to playing that way, and see how you can incorporate it into your regular game.
Switching up during the WSOP? Leave that to Phil Hellmuth.
5. Observe, Observe, Observe
I’m going to modify this. It’s difficulty to hyper focused on one table while multi-tabling online. And i wouldn’t even really recommend it. Paying attention to the way players play is obviously important. And, you can for sure glean information regarding how a player plays by watching hands that you aren’t in. But is it worth shutting down a multi-tabling session to only watch one table and get a little more information? Not in my opinion. Pay attention, and observe how people play, but make sure you’re maximizing your earning potential!
6. Know Your Opponents
Knowing your opponents is an important aspect of poker. Online it is a little easier because you have a program built into the client that enables you to create notes on each player. I highly recommend this because if you get a great read on someone WRITE IT DOWN! With the amount of players online it will be very difficulty to distinguish between players who are aggressive bluffers, and players who only play the nuts. The only drawback is that it’s software based, and not kept in the cloud (ie/ it’s not married to your user-name)..So if you have to reinstall your poker software, you lose the notes you made.
7. Just play a solid game against idiots
You will never bluff a bad player. I have posted about this last week. It’s just not possible. Over the long run, that same bad player will dump a lot more money to you if you play ABC poker, than if you try to bluff them or try any fancy stuff. They’re just not playing the game at the level you are, and they honestly don’t care what cards you’re holding. They’ve fallen in love with their hand and they’re going to see the river…even if they have to go all in.
8. Don’t play if the results don’t Matter
This should be self evident. If you don’t care about the money you’re winning or losing, poker is a meaningless game, and you will not do well (but that doesn’t really matter does it?). Also..i use to play a lot after getting home from the bar. This is a really bad idea, not because I was drunk (see rule #1), or because i was tired. It was a bad idea because at the end of the night i just didn’t care enough about losing a 5 dollar pot. I would dump 50 or 60 bucks in 5 dollar increments because of all the bad decisions i was making, mainly because i didn’t care about the outcome.
I came across this list from Examiner.com, and while the person who came up with the list is going to go through them in the next few days, I figured I would expand on his list, and give reasons.
Here is the list:
- Don’t drink and play
- Be well rested
- Stay Focused
- Play within your bankroll
- Observe, Observe, Observe
- Know your opponents
- Just play solid poker against idiots
- Don’t play if the results don’t matter
1. Don’t Drink and Play
Sometimes the obvious stuff isin’t so obvious. I play in a weekly game that is more of a social get together than a grinding it out, money making session. In that game, this rule goes out the window. Everyone who is participating in the game are solid players, and not everyone drinks. But everyone who does partake in the drinking consistently do worse than those who don’t. The drinking affects descision making skills, sometimes making you more bold (and leading to reckless bluffs, or stupid calls), always affecting your ability to accurately read a player (depending on how much you have to drink, reading a player may be very low on your list of priorities) and will often make you very easy to read. You give away more tells than you realize when you’re drunk, and if your goal while playing poker is to make money, you should stay away from the booze and wait until some of the other participants have had a few.
2. Be Well Rested
Anything that takes prolonged mental disciplin and concentration requiers you to be well rested. This will give you a huge advantage over the players who are on the other end of a 12 hour overnight session. If your mind is clear, and you’re not concerned with being tired you will make better descision more consistently. On the flip side, if you decide to embark on that 12 hour overnight session, and came to the game with that in mind, then you will be in a much better state at the end of it if you showed up well rested in the first place.
3. Stay Focused
There is nothing worse than playing poker while watching a sport you’re interested in. Something that you believe only takes half of your attention away from the table is very dangerous indeed. While you’re watching a replay of an amazing goal, you’re missing a tell, or a telling hand from an opponent. You will not be as prepared for the upcoming hands if you’re concentration is on something other than the game at hand.
4. Play Within your Bankroll
I have seen a lot of people lose A LOT of money “taking a shot” at the bigger limits. Every so often, playing in a higher limit is a great idea. It teaches you how the game changes (or how it stays the same) at the bigger tables. But typically, if you are considering taking your shot, you have built that into your bankroll, and you are not planning on using your entier bankroll to finance the 50/100 game you’ll be playing. Any time your whole bankroll is up for grabs is generally a bad scene and you should drop a limit or 2 to build it up. Stay away from risking it all at one game!
I will post the other 4 on Wednesday…..
You can find the original article here. I’ll be interested to see how different out takes are when he comes out with his list!
Image by l0ckergn0me via Flickr
Bluffing in an online poker room is completely different than bluffing in a live game. For a lot of reasons, it’s easier to bluff. You just have to click on the button, and not worry about your face flushing, or your breathing changing, or anything about your body giving you away. Make sure you’re chat is disabled, and all you have to do is close your eyes and prey you aren’t called. Thing is…most people do this. Bluffing is out of control online, and people are wising up to it (and have been for a long time).
A good player can spot an online bluff a mile away, and I’m telling you, LOVES them. The tells are extremely obvious, and have nothing to do with your eyes going to the left or right, or you holding your breath. It comes down to how you play the hand, and throwing an ill though out bluff on the end of a hand will typically not pay off, and in fact end up losing you money.
Another main reason to stay far away from bluffing online is that players change in the blink of an eye. There is typically a waiting list with players joining as soon as a player “gets up” from the table. If you have a read on a player, leave for the washroom, and come back to seemingly the same player but get burned because the guy you had a read on left, and was replaced by an ultra aggressive player. Or even worse, someone who has marked you as an easy target, and is waiting for you to throw out your stack on the turn.
Because online bluffing is called more often, you have to bluff very minimally. If you are going to bluff in online poker, keep it to situations that really matter to your opponent. Wait for a great opportunity, plan it and execute it. Throwing out money willy-nilly will not pay off in the long run, and you’d be much better served playing ABC poker.
The growth of online casino gambling has spurred a whole new set of online multi player poker etiquette, which applies to all online poker players. And when it says all, it means from greenhorn novices to seasoned veterans, excusing nobody from following the unwritten rules of good behavior of online poker games.
Stick to Your Own Level
This piece of advice is more geared to players who aren’t use to playing online, or are just getting started in poker. The lower levels are a learning ground, and generally are filled with people in a similar boat to you. In low level tourneys, you will have people who push all in in the first hand…because hey, why not? You’ll have people who call you down with bottom pair (and win) with no read, no clue why they are calling, and then, when they’re taking your money type “lol” into the chat box.
Trust me…if you want to play in the higher levels, you will be welcomed with open arms. Everyone loves to see people buy in with the minimum, and use the auto check/fold button regularly. They will take your money, piss you off, and wait for you to reload to the minimum. One thing to remember when playing at any level of online poker: it’s all relative. If someone is playing at the .05/.10 level, they will call you as often as the guy playing at the $5/$10 level. The difference is the guy playing $5/$10 will probably have a read on you, and will more often than not call when he can beat you.
Chat Nice, Please
Or don’t chat at all. Seriously. Online poker is less of a friends gathering and more for people multi tabling and making serious money. At lower levels, and some tourneys, chat is acceptable (especially when you’ve been sharing a table with someone for 4 hours and they’ve been playing well). But overall, chat in online poker is filled with aggression, yelling at someone who called another person down (OMFG, i can’t believe you called that, fish!) or criticizing other peoples play. Sometimes this can be fun to watch. Hell, sometimes it’s part of strategy. But I would recommend just staying away and using the extra time to open up a second table. If you really want to chat, stick to congratulating people on hands, and for gods sakes, don’t blame other players for calling you down with bottom pair!
Speak the Common Language
If you start speaking another language at the table, the other players will automatically call “collusion.” I personally hate it when i think 2 players are working together to beat a table, and will bitch about it every time. Stick the the online casino’s advertised language (usually English) and you’ll have no problems.
Let the Cards Speak for Themselves
A lot of poker rooms will implement a “chat disabled on all in hands” to prevent the table coercing someone into calling, or convincing him that the other player “has the nuts.” This also applies to a hand that you aren’t in. If you don’t have cards, don’t speculate during the chat. Sometimes poker is all about missing the obvious, so if you point it out, with no risk to you, then you are creating a disadvantage to other players. This is typically the rule in live poker as well, but sometimes with a computer screen in front of us, and our opponents a world away, it’s easy to forget to keep your comments on the hand to yourself (until after the hand, of course).
Make Your Move on Time
Man, there is nothing worse than waiting for a player to make their move. It’s annoying and slows down the game play. Typically there is a time bank for those really brutaldecisions (you have KK, the flop comes AA4 and your UTG opponent pushes….wow…) but if you’re in 4th position with 3/4 os and you dip into your time bank before the flop has come down, get out of the hand. There is no point. You will only incur the wrath of your opponents, and that’s just no longer fun!
Overall be considerate and friendly and you’ll have no trouble. Respect the rules and the other players and you’ll be welcomed back. Make 1,000,000 and we’ll all be watching you on the WSOP!
Every year Bluff Magazine puts out a list of top “amateur” players to watch. It’s a great list with some fantastic talent, but that’s not really what this post is about. What i noticed about the list is the fact that it’s all WSOP Rookies, or to put it another way, they’re all 21. Young players with very little live experience is becoming the new norm for WSOP final tables. They are starting when they’re 18, honing and really translating their online skills to live games.
Players who start playing online at 18 years old are able to make the mistakes all newbies make, but do it in a way that is very minimal risk to them. By the time they’re 21 and able to play in major live tourneys in the states, they have had 3 years to correct those mistakes and are already well past the nerves of most first time players.
The other advantage to playing online early is all of the tournament entry’s possible to be won. A lot of these players are able to not only win entry into tourneys in the Caribbean or Monte Carlo (or Canada), but they’re able to cash. These tournaments have as wide a variance as any tourney in the states, and gives these players a real look at what live poker is all about (not to mention some nice paydays).
Translating their Skills to a live Game
I don’t care what anyone says, online poker and live poker are 2 different monsters. Translating your skills from sitting in front of a computer to sitting across from someone at a major tourney is a huge challenge. Even the most veteran online player has bad habits that need correcting and new skills that need to be learned before becoming a really successful live player. But i think this discussion is something for a different post.
Overall i think that starting young, online is the way to go. It really gives you the ability to, at 21 years old, walk in and sit across the table from any of the big names, and realize that everyone is playing the same game…and you know it as well as they do.
“I’m just preparing for the live poker grind. Six weeks of live poker is a shit ton, so I think getting in the right mindset and trying not to burnout,” – Harder
Just a heads-up that this weekend is the final chance to qualify in one of the online satellites to the 2009 WSOP at Sky Poker. You can qualify for both the $1500 WSOP events and the $10,000 Main Event through satellites starting as low as £1.45.
Here are the details of what is included in the WSOP packages:
• Flights for 2
• 14 nights hotel stay in Vegas
• Plus a cash prize that will buy you a seat into the world’s biggest and best poker tournament – the WSOP 2009 Main Event!
$1500 Event Package
• Paid entry into the 1500 USD NLH tournament, which runs over 3 days from the 29th to 1st July 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
• Flights for two people
• Hotel accommodation for 14 nights
This is probably the softest competition and easiest way to get to Vegas this summer for the World Series of Poker, so don’t miss out. Sky is known for their awful players that just want to get on TV, so if you have a little patience in this tournament you should be able to satellite your way in with relative ease. Also, I am sure there will probably be an overlay on these also, so if you can get in without spending much, why not!
If you don’t already have a Sky Poker account, sign-up today and get our special 500 Sky Points Free + Up to £500.00 FREE bonus. It is probably one of the best bonuses on the Internet as you can deposit as little as £10 and get up to £500 FREE.
Many poker sites offer it, many new players use it thinking that its a good move and professional players hate it and its cost millions of poker players all of their bankroll….
The Infamous ‘Check/Fold‘ button.
The ‘Check/Fold’ button found in all online poker sites have been created to offer players the opportunity to use the ‘shortcut’ to save on time taken to make their action.
While many players think that the button is there to help the button in fact offers the reverse effect!
While the button is only visible each time a player is on the big blind, it secretly offers your opponents information surrounding your hand.
Information on your hand is given away due to the speed of play when the action reaches you, if the action reaches a player on the big blind and instantly there is a ‘check’ call you can almost certainly place them on a poor hand as they have selected the ‘Check/Fold’ option.
Using this button often reveals that your hand isn’t strong, and that you would not have played had there been any raise.
Ok sometimes players will use the option and the flop will deal them the perfect flop but 80% of the time the player will see higher cards hit the board and they will fold at any bet.
Players who are concentrating on the game, regardless of ability will spot that this option is been used, leaving you wide open to out played as they know that you have a hand that you wouldn’t have staked any chips on if you were given the choice.
This leaves you left wide open to opponents placing over sized bets into the pot, knowing that your not going to call due to the fact that you wouldn’t even place the blind if you didn’t have to.
Players who use this option are more likely to finish a poker session with no chips or funds than any other player.
The biggest mistake a player can make is to use this button on a high stakes table, players with that experience are constantly trying to find online poker tells that can help them get the upper hand on you, giving them the opportunity to find a hole in your game will only result in you been left out of a tournament or out of funds at ring table.
Our tip is to avoid this button like it said ‘Reveal Cards To All’ as once opponents find out that your using this option, thats as good as what your doing.