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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

The Offline Challenge

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Regular online poker players are often immersed in their own little world for long periods of time. Long sessions of tired play damage your bankroll as well as your demeanour. But is it only tiredness? What about boredom through automation?

On-line software is a fiendishly clever piece of kit. Not only does it compute main pots, side pots and split pots in an instant. It also fires them in the correct direction having spotted who has the best hands. Before any of that, it offers you a choice of bets at the right time and you have little to do but decide on bet size. No playing out of turn or asking the dealer what size the pot is.
This brings me nicely onto the subject of bricks and mortar, sometimes known by the abbreviation “B&M”. It means poker play in a casino or card room. The Real Deal. Live and Kicking with other poker players.

How does that grab you? You are a veteran of the computer console but now you are being asked to make decisions on the spot with no computer software to offer you buttons to click. You get your cards, pick them up and look at them. The dealer cuts into your concentrated stare with a demand for you to post the big blind. You suddenly realise that the player to your right has the chips for the small blind out in front. The online computer would already have posted your BB!

The betting starts and there are folds, bets, calls and a small raise. Your turn comes. All eyes are on you. How will you deal with this? You haven’t played a hand and yet you feel stripped down and under examination! Oh well, you have J 10 suited, and decide to call the raised bet. Why did you do that? Was there a process of thinking it through or was it a click of a mental button without too much thought?

This is only the start of the evening. Here, your mind has to be alert to the play and it can be intimidating. I’ve folded my cards before to general amazement – “you were the big blind – you could have checked!” I’ve raised and fed chips over the line one by one – “string bet!” comes the cry. That’s because you are meant to announce your bet and move it over the line in one movement. None of these things matter on-line but now they do.

Intimidated? Don’t be. Playing live is the business. It is invigorating especially when you raise. That move becomes a hard, thoughtful and brave decision because it lifts you into the glare of the other players. They are now making their decisions based on your play and demeanour. Taking down a pot as they fold to you (after a stare) completes the transition. Now that’s a buzz! If you’ve never played live, go and enter a $20 tournament at your local casino and see the poker world!

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