Even if you Forget Everything Else
The ‘ten commandments’ of online poker continued.
Not only is it best to hold off playing a few hands once seated at the table (to observe your opponents) it is strongly recommended that you write your observations down. Things to write down might include when a player is bluffs, what sort of hands they have when they bluff; when they raise at the river, and even how much money they through in altogether on a particular hand. How often do they fold? Does the player seem to be quick betting or slow betting? Some players suggest taking notes on your own game. While important, furious note taking can become burdensome, and in extreme cases can cause one to focus more on taking notes than playing the game. Fortunately most online poker rooms come equipped with player statistics or hand logs. When it comes to taking notes on your own play, only do so with particularly revealing plays or if you are deliberately tracking the results of a particular starting hand for possible inclusion on your general style of play.
Like ‘numerology’, ‘telepathy’ (learning to identify and interpret player tells) is crucial. Moreover, the skill must be practiced regularly in order to play winning poker. Do not listen to people who say there are no tells when playing online. This is preposterous and implies player tells are nothing more than those ‘he twitches his left eyebrow when he bluffs’ type ticks. Indeed, the classics of player tells are all present online –betting speed, flop percentages, betting patterns and strategy. Notes are also extremely useful in identifying player tells; in pegging the chronic bluffers, the super-tights, and the sharks.
Online poker is almost twice as fast as real table play. A poker table in a brick and mortar poker room can expect to see around thirty hands an hour. In an online poker room this often increases to an amazing fifty. That is almost a hand a minute. This is not only because the computer as dealer is much faster than flesh and blood, but also because most online poker rooms give each player only a limited amount of time with which to fold or make their play. As such, one must learn to both think and act faster, as well as realize that attentive online poker players will keep a close eye on your play speed (as you should be doing with theirs). It is really difficult to give the impression of a strong hand when indecision brings your betting to screeching halt.
If you are transitioning from real life poker to the online game, or you are brand new to poker, start at the lower stakes or free tables at least long enough to become familiar with the software. As you become more familiar, and as you internalize the ten commandments –as you become more confident in your play– it may become time to move to higher stakes or even some tournaments. If moving on to tournament play, do not overestimate yourself. Start with modest tournaments where you have a reasonable chance of success, or of at least finishing not too far from the top. It is better to taste a few small victories than to starve in the desert of obscurity.
If you are serious about your poker make time to play and practice your winning poker skills. If you are going to register for tournaments be sure to set aside the time to play in those tournaments with all your concentration. Nothing hurts more than to go heads-up with a chip lead only to realize that work assignment is overdue or that you need to go pick up your partner from the airport in an hour
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