Poker – Online or Offline
The poker revolution that has taken place in recent times owes much to the number of players that have sampled the game by playing the online version on an assortment of particularly creditable web sites that offer a good simulation of the offline experience.
Some of those that begin their poker careers online do so with great success. They learn quickly, read literature and make the right plays at the right time to give their bankrolls a significant boost. Buoyed by their online successes, they cash out and make their way to a poker club, casino or other live poker event in the hope that their online successes will be reciprocated in a real life scenario.
All too often, these players retire from the table a few hours later feeling battered and bruised and wondering just how these real life opponents have managed to leave them looking like distinct amateurs.
One of the most obvious differences between the online and offline versions of the game comes down to anonymity. Play online and you’re part of an anonymous world where nobody can see the excited, crazy-eyed man hyperventilating over the pocket aces he’s just been dealt. This is a big plus for players who have distinctive ‘tells’ that would see them torn to pieces in a real life poker environment.
There’s nothing worse than holding a big hand, only to see your opponents fold before the blinds have been added to. This is so much easier to avoid online, and as long as betting patterns stay predictable there’s no reason why you won’t make the best of a great deal.
Play at a real life venue, and the slightest twitch or change in mannerism will have other players flicking cards back towards the dealer before the raising of an eyebrow has even begun to subside. Unfortunately, playing online doesn’t offer anything in the way of controlling tells so as much as you may find yourself protected from behind your computer screen, so you’ll find yourself dreadfully exposed in a real life situation. Hiding your ‘tells’ is something only experience and plenty of practice will bring.
On the subject of anonymity, it has to be remembered that there are no guarantees of who you may be playing in the online version of the game. The quaint avatar of an old lady in wrinkled stockings under the user name of ‘Mary’ may well give illusions of a little old woman sat on her computer playing poker for the first time, but don’t be too easily led!
Many players hide behind characters like this to lull weaker players into a false sense of security. For all you know, that cute old lady could easily be a professional player who enjoys tickling a few dollars from your bankroll as a means of boosting his own.
Playing offline doesn’t present such problems. You can see who’s in front of you and it’s easier to pick out the hustlers and the cardsharps. Much of the online game is the illusion you choose to make in your own mind!
Another significant difference that online players find when they venture into the world of real life poker is the difference in pace of the game. Online poker rooms are generally fast paced affairs that see players restricted to a certain amount of thinking time before their cards are folded automatically.
There’s also no time lost to shuffling, chip counting or dealing so when a player who has enjoyed online success finds himself in a real life poker environment, he tends to play more rashly with hands that he wouldn’t necessarily go along with in the online variant. There is a distinct feeling of not being involved and desperation to play takes over. This leads to disaster as poor hand after poor hand sees a stack run down to nothing.
Patience is a virtue, and rushing blindly into playing weak hands will always cost you in the end. What players have to remember is that because the bricks and mortar game is much slower, fewer hands will be played and less playable hands will be seen. It doesn’t matter if you have to fold time and time again as long as you make the right play at the right stage of the game.
Another difference in the two versions of the game is the amount of chip counting that takes place. In the online game, chip levels are laid out in front of you so it’s easy to keep track with what other players may have. Go into a real-life scenario, and incorrectly assessing how many chips your opponent has will see your ‘all-in’ attempt easily covered.
Until this happens to you, it’s a fairly difficult concept to grasp.
The online game is a great concept that gives players the chance to learn the game without the pressure of a real life situation gnawing away at them. Most players will want to try their luck at the offline games eventually, and its worth being aware of the big differences in play before you finally make your way to the tables.