In 2003 an amateur poker player that no one really knew named Chris Moneymaker won the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main event on ESPN. This along with the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel helped to create a surge of interest in no-limit hold’em, and it wasn’t long before most live and Internet poker games were played in this format. As a result of this surge, especially in online poker where the rake is lower, you don’t have to tip dealers, and you can play more hands an hour, more and more players who mostly played live table poker have been making the switch to playing on the Internet as their primary game. A lot of people who are making this switch or considering making this switch overlook some of the key differences between live and online poker games, and here we’re going to look at some of the subtleties of online poker that are often unknown by live players.
One of the main skills in live poker is being able to read people well. Their language and demeanor often give away tons of information that can be used to overcome a disadvantage in betting skill. As a result, many live professionals are weaker in the betting skills of poker and stronger reading players. When making the switch to online poker, however, these players quickly realize that all of their hand reading skills that they used face to face are suddenly useless since you can no longer see the players you’re facing. As a result, the betting skills in poker become much more important, and that’s why the technical aspect of poker is king in online games. The live player wishing to switch to Internet no-limit hold’em has to realize this and work on his or her weaknesses.
If you make a bad play or face a bad beat in live poker, you often have a minute or two to calm yourself down before you have to play your next hand. In online poker, however, you’re often playing multiple hands a minute because the hands are dealt faster, so you have to recover yourself psychologically and emotionally much faster than in table poker. People who have problems with what we call tilt in poker will find that their issues are magnified many times over when they try to switch over to online poker because they don’t get those long breaks in the action to compose themselves. Because of this, you must take extra care if you’re prone to tilting in live games because it’s much easier to make tilt-induced errors online.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that online poker is a much less social game than table poker. When you’re playing no-limit hold’em at a table with nine other people, you’re still in an environment that allows for plenty of social interaction, which is much different than many online professionals who sit at a computer by themselves for long hours every day. While often overlooked, this is a deal-breaker for many people looking to make the switch from table poker to no-limit hold’em games on the Internet.