I have been playing poker for 10 years now but believe it or not, I was never tempted by playing online poker. But suddenly everything has changed.
I’ve been playing poker in home games, sports bars and sometimes in my local casino. I have not gained head-spinning profits but it doesn’t matter. The game itself is brilliant in so many dimensions. I just can’t get enough of it. So, as advised by a friend, I opened up an online poker account. I never imagined that it can be so much different!
Poker is an amazing game. It doesn’t matter if you play live or online poker, in order to win you have to have a specific set of skills. And contrary to the popular belief, it’s almost never about the cards you are dealt. Don’t get me wrong, they do play a part. After all, luck is a factor. But what I mean is that there is a whole world beyond your hole cards that beginners do not even know about.
You need to understand human psychology and read physical tells. You must keep calm after you have had a bad beat or when a player with lesser poker skills shows you a crazy bluff and claims a chunk of your stack. You need disciple to manage your money.
The cards do play a role but in the end it’s the decisions you make that are main factor. Think about it this way, if a player gets Pocket Aces often but you manage to read how strong he is, you will not lose a lot of money even though he got a best pre-flop hand in Texas Hold’em. On the other hand, if you manage to disguise the strength of your best hands and imitate strength with your weak hands, you will walk away a winner.
So, as I said I registered my first online poker account recently. I chose 888Poker because they are a trusted brand worldwide, they give players $88 free to start and from what I hear, are one of the softest online poker rooms.
Even though you don’t see the players live, the set of skills I have from live poker was pretty useful online as well. Like I said, it’s all about the decisions. So, when somebody bets or checks you must think what does that mean and does it make any sense?
For example, when I was staring out, the first questions I had were concerning ranges. Whenever someone got aggressive on later streets I would get automatically scared they have the stronger hand like a flush or a straight, etc. Remember, the hand starts pre-flop so all you have to do is ask whether the hand your opponent is representing at the moment makes sense that he had it from the very beginning. If you are afraid that your opponent has AK, think about his actions all throughout the streets. Maybe some other hand makes more sense?
Let’s get back to playing online. I prefer playing tournaments to cash games because it’s much more dynamic and one large payout can change your whole life. In live games however, I don’t mind playing cash games. Maybe just because I’m used to bigger games like 1/2 while to play 1/2 on online poker I need much more skill.
So, I started playing $1 and $2 dollar tournaments on 888 Poker. Results-wise I only had a couple of Top 30 cashes. But the thing I love the most is that I can launch myself two, three, any amount of tournaments and play simultaneously. In this way, 4 hour poker session and minimum cash in a tournament would not mean my hourly rate is $0.50/h. If I play 6 tournaments at a time, within the same 4 hours and maybe bust 3 early, reach 2 min cashes and go deep in the last one boosts my hourly rate significantly.
Now I actually see poker as a potential means of earning an income. So, I guess I’ll continue learning different strategies and playing online. As I build my bankroll I think I’ll move up to $5 tournaments and maybe satellites to bigger events. Who knows? Maybe on day I’ll win a life-changing sum of money I could not have dreamed of if I would continue playing live in home games and casinos.