Online Poker – Episode 93

November 24th, 2010

Back in May I covered the subject of casino poker, and how it’s one of the few casino games that can actually be beaten over the long-run.  Of course, it is also one of the most difficult games to master because of the sheer amount of strategy that you need to learn to compete with other players.  And if you think casino poker is tough, you should start playing online texas holdem.

Online holdem is hard because so many players are well versed in strategy.  Plus there are no physicals tells in internet poker so the game often becomes a matter of learning lots of math and recognizing betting patterns from other players.

Learning how to spot betting patterns is especially key to being a successful online poker player.  For instance, if a person rarely plays any hands, then suddenly makes a huge raise, odds are that they just made a huge hand.  Likewise, if someone raises and bets a lot, then merely checks or calls, it’s likely that they don’t have a good hand.

As far as the math goes, all players should have a basic understanding of how to calculate their pot odds (ratio of the current pot to how much one must spend to call).  To illustrate how this works, let’s say that you are faced with a $10 call and the pot is $100; here your pot odds would be 10:1 (contributing 9% of the pot).  So in order for this call to be profitable, you should have at least a 10% chance or better of making your hand by the river.

And this is just the basics since you have to know a lot of other math-related poker strategy to show a long-term profit in texas holdem.  As with anything, the more time you put into online poker, the more likely you are to haul in big profits.  Unfortunately, this means spending hours reading strategy articles, poker books, and watching strategy videos.

Luckily, there are micro stakes for players who don’t have enough time to learn all kinds of poker strategy.  In fact, most rooms offer stakes so low that you’ll only be playing for pennies in each hand.  Those looking to avoid the heavy competition in online texas holdem also play Omaha and 7 Card Stud games as well.

Moving away from the competition aspect, one really nice thing about online poker is that the bonuses are easily obtained.  As soon as you’ve signed up at a poker room, you’ll immediately start accumulating frequent player points and other bonuses (depending on what you’ve signed up for).  This differs greatly from land-based casinos where you have to talk to the casino staff and sign up for a program before becoming eligible for bonuses.

In any case, you stand to make more money by learning strategy for online poker as well as taking advantage of bonuses whenever you can.  And if you’re just out to have some fun, you can always stick to the micro stakes.