Sports Interaction poker expert Mike Schultz – he’d sooner watch Grey’s Anatomy than draw to an inside straight – looks at the advantages of playing online poker.
Everybody that wants to play poker wants to play poker in Vegas. You want to be there looking for the best poker tournaments, sitting down with fellas called Slim or Fats or anything in between, and waiting for George Clooney to come in and sit down opposite you.
And that’s great. Playing poker in Vegas is great. Clooney isn’t there that often, but otherwise everything else you’ve read is true. There’s only one disadvantage to playing in Vegas, and that is that you are going to lose.
If you want to make money playing poker you have to play poker online. Even if you’re not that good, you can still make money. But you won’t make money playing in Vegas because everybody that is good is already there, and they’ll skin you right down to the bone. It’s nothing personal. It’s just what they do. Poker playing piranha fish.
Playing online puts you in control, the way that being in Vegas doesn’t. Being in Vegas is disorientating. But when you’re at home, chances are you spend most of your day in front a computer anyway, so playing online isn’t that different. You’re not out of your comfort zone.
You can find the level that you’re most comfortable with. Online, you can play in penny-ante games without feeling like a penny-ante player. It helps you find your feet. You won’t play penny-ante very long, because a sixty-seven cent return on three hours’ poker doesn’t feel like much of a return on your poker bets, but everybody has to walk before they can crawl.
You can move on up the ranks until you get to the one that’s too rich for your blood, and then settle down to your own comfortable level again. People have concerns about the speed of the online games, but you get used it. Vegas games aren’t slow either. Try playing slow out there someday and see where it gets you.
The biggest advantage of playing online is that online, like in space, no-one can hear you scream. In Vegas, everybody’s watching for your tells. Online, they never know. Ever. You can punch the air when you pull off a bluff, you can shake like a leaf while you were waiting to see the call or fold, you can sing Single Ladies at the top of your voice. No-one is every going to know.
And the other thing you can do is play at more than one table. At lot of your time in a game is sitting out, waiting for a hand. In Vegas, you’re stuck at the table when you’ve been put. But online you can play two tables at once, so while you’re sitting out a hand on one table you’re in the thick of the action on another. This has disadvantages, in that it limits your ability to spot patterns of play on the individual tables, but that depends too on the type of game your playing. Checks, balances, snakes, ladders.
Next week, we’ll look at what those particular types of game are, and the pros and cons of playing each.