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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Poker Plus Adjusting to Online Play

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Poker players making the transition from live play to online play, often have trouble adjusting. Of course the basic play is the same, as far as position, hand value, pot odds and the like. But there are differences. For medium to low skill level players, not knowing the differences and being able to adjust to them, can mean financial disaster.

The biggest difference between a live game and a game online is the amount of hands an hour a player sees. In a live game you may see 30-40 hands an hour (more or less) depending on the variation of game, players, and other factors. Online, again depending on the variables, you can see up to 150 hands an hour. Play in a live game and rarely will you have a timer placed on you to speed you up, online however, there is a timer (usually 15 seconds), every hand, for every player. This keeps the game moving at a good pace. This is not even taking into account the “fast” games where players have even less time to act.

For the player who plays loose, they have the opportunity to play many more bad hands than they would in a live game. Their loss rate can be four times what it would be in the same limit live game. Say a player plays 50% of the hands dealt to them in a live game, that equates to somewhere around 15-20 hands an hour. Put that player online, and if he/she still plays 50% of their hands, that number jumps up as high as 75 hands an hour.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to see this loose play online can be a serious drain on a player’s bankroll.

Many players who make the jump to online play for the first time, have no clue they are being dealt so many hands an hour. Even someone who is a regular winner in live games can find their game off when he or she plays online.

When I started playing online years ago, it took me awhile to realize why I did so poorly, yet did well playing live. Like many players, I didn’t bother to look at the game stats in the lobby before I took a seat. If I had, I would have seen how many hands an hour were being dealt on that table and maybe the light bulb would have turned on. I did learn though, that I had to change my play drastically. My style of play worked fine in live games, but was not working online. Seeing 3 to 4x the amount of hands an hour makes a huge difference in how I needed to play to survive online.

Because of the increased number of hands an hour you are dealt online, many hands you might play in a live game become hands to muck. If a player usually plays J-9 in a live game and carries that habit over to the online game, they are asking for trouble. The simple fact is you have to adjust your play and play much tighter online. That is not to say you can never play hands like J-9 in the right position, for no raises, just don’t make a habit of it. Starting hand selection should be of a much higher standard online. Playing only premium starting hands will cut your losses and increase your wins.

For the casual, recreational player however, online poker sites offer a variety of micro limit games as low as 2 cents- 4 cents. Even the loosest player can afford to play in these games without “losing the farm” every time they play.

Any player deciding to jump in and get their feet wet playing online, should start in the free games. All of the poker sites offer free games, which is the perfect way to get accustomed to the features and the feel of the site. Get comfortable playing and maneuvering around the site for free, then make a deposit and get in a cash game. Generally, the skill level of players in the free games, are comparable to the type of play you will find in the micro limit games as well.

If you want to try playing online, but there is just no money in your budget to play in a cash game, you can still play and make money. All poker sites offer free tournaments as well as free games. While you can’t win cash in the free games, you can in the tournaments. Any player CAN build a bankroll from nothing; this is being proven by the gals on the Chasing Chris Ferguson blog.

These thoughts and lessons learned about online play are from my own personal experience, from playing both live and online over the last several years. I am not a “pro” nor do I care to learn everything about stats, pot odds, and the rest of the technical stuff. I am lazy, I just want to play, make money and most of all, have fun. There are a million books out there and players can get as deep into the statistical side of poker as they want to. I never wanted to. For me, again being lazy, all that studying turns fun into work.

Plus, I will never forget when a friend of mine bought a book and spent a week studying it. For the next month she never won a hand (or so she tells it). After she told me that, I didn’t read a poker book for years. Not that I haven’t read books, I have, and some points are quite useful. Just for me, experience is the best teacher, so I went to the poker school of hard knocks. I still get knocked around, and am still learning. As with all things in life, poker is an ongoing learning experience. In every game I play, I gain more insight of the game and the people who play it. I am currently enrolled at PokerStars. Feel free to join me!

When signing up at an online poker site, take advantage of the nice deposit bonuses they offer. This is FREE money, so why not take advantage of it? Download a poker site and mention the special bonus code to get free money and start playing online today! I still say it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

Grab a chair…see you there….

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