Personally I think the reason many players don't play online is illustrated in black and red. In a live game it is easy to convince yourself that you are winning, but online the real results are right there in black, or in many cases RED. You can't mingle your bankroll with your cash and confuse the issue. At the end of the year if you are making more deposits than withdrawals, you're losing.
I've known players who do better live than online, but they tend to be winners online also. The online game just has too many advantages: The rake is smaller. The other costs to play are almost zero as in no tips or travel. The Internet is full of Donks, and that is where we really win our money. But I've got another reason to play online.
Do this at your local Poker Room?
This is a capture from Full Tilt with Poker Tracker and the Poker Ace HUD, (Heads Up Display.) Poker Tracker is the premier hand history database for online poker, and Poker Ace is a support application that mines the database and puts selected information directly on the poker screen in, almost, real time. The HUD is very flexible and can display most of the fields from Poker Tracker. This is an example of one display.
1. The $VPIP, of the owner - me - I voluntarily put money in the pot only 21% of the time. Blinds do not count.
2. The $WW, of the owner, when I see the flop, I win the pot 54% of the time
3. The hand count, the number of hands used to calculate these statistics.
4. The average $VPIP of the table, 22% is a pretty tight table. Remember blinds aren't included in this percentage.
5. PFR, or Pre-Flop Raise, is the average percentage of preflop raises for the whole table.
6. The average pot size.
7. The $WW, of that particular player, Arvykas, sees the flop. He wins 38% of the time.
8. $CC, Cold Calls, Arvykas has cold called two or more bet/raises one time.
9. The $VPIP, of each particular player, Arvykas voluntarily puts money in the pot 31% of the time.
If you look around the table, you can see some pretty interesting patterns for this session.
• Stephki voluntarily puts money in the pot 53% of the time but only wins 23% of the time. He has cold called two or more bets four times. This could be the poster child for donk or calling station.
• Zyhcoin only puts money in the pot 12% of the time but wins 100%. The 25 hand sample may be small, but I think you might respect him any time he enters the pot.
• Homerphile plays almost as tight, but hasn't won a hand, and his stack reflects it.
• The rest of the players are about normal; loose, tight, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Since the HUD can quickly clutter your poker table, you also have the ability to bring up a pop-up screen, on a particular player, for more information. Here is a screen capture from Poker Stars.
That provides a pretty good profile of goofyhumor, and this is only a few of the stats available. (You might note that this example, is only based on 10 hands, but Poker Tracker maintains a record of every time you encounter an opponent, and every hand you have ever played against him.) Again, the pop-up can be configured with any information available in your database.
As I'm sitting here in the tournament with goofyhumor, one of the players sees the flop 70% of the time, has never raised preflop, and cold called preflop eight out 25 hands.
The stats are often of questionable value since the sample sizes are usually small, but in a game of limited information, every little bit helps. Additionally and more importantly Poker Tracker can be an important and much more valuable tool in examining your own play and it won't take long to collect a sample size that is significant. After all, you are playing at every table. Poker Tracker is a great way to find those leaks in your own game. There is no poker "helper" application that will make you a winning player. Only you can do that, but these poker applications can help you improve your game and show you, not only the tendencies of your opponents, but your own as well. Try that in live poker!!!