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ONLINE POKER TIPS

Online Poker Tips
by Aaron J. Moore

The key to being a good online poker player is...

Hold on, please, while I am writing this article, I am also playing in a $50 sit and go.

OK, the tightwad to my left has called my $400 pre-flop raise. He must have something like King-Jack suited.

Like I was just writing, the key to being a good online poker player is...

Can you believe this guy? He leads out with an $800 raise on a rainbow K-7-10 flop. I have an up and down straight draw and he puts most of his chips in from the start.

Right, right, sorry about that. Being a good online poker player means...

I guess I have to fold.

For many online players, this scenario presents itself far too often. It's the curse of the online player, being deeply involved in a big game but at the same time multitasking. The game takes a backseat to checking email, checking fantasy baseball stats, and checking out what exotic Russian women often do on the Internet.

Therein lies a major problem for the horde of people playing poker online. A population that includes professional players, would-be professionals and a lot of thrill-seekers. It doesn't take an expert commentator such as Norman Chad to look out at that playing field and forecast the winners are most likely those who devote most of their time and mental energy toward the games they are playing and not on ancillary activities.

The key to being a good online player is to be focused.

Playing online has its risks compared to live games. You can not get a true read on your opponents' habits; you can't form a model in your mind on how he/she plays because you can not see them and the way they conduct themselves; and you have no idea if he/she is just some loose player who likes throwing chips away.

So taking into account these risks, if your attention easily sways away from the game, then trapdoors in front of you grow wider.

Here are some ways to improve your online play.
Don't allow Web surfing to distract your game. It's always tempting to waste time between hands browsing the Web, but that won't help you win. Pay attention to betting patterns of the players at the table. Look to see who folds easily or who keeps over-betting the pot. This information is extremely valuable but can only be obtained when watching the game, not another Web site.

There are plenty of weak players online, so pay attention and identify them early in the game. For those who spend a lot of time playing online, the games can be tedious. Instead of constantly checking your email, attempt another diversion like getting out of the chair and walking around. This will keep you fresh but also keep your mind on the game.

Be awake. For avid poker players, online games are like an oasis in the desert. Players can satisfy their thirst by finding an online game no matter the time of day. However, that 7-11 mentality of never being closed can also be dangerous. When you crave a game, make sure you are alert. That goes for both morning and night. Don't wake up and immediately get started with a game.
Take a shower and tend to your daily business. This will greatly improve your attention span so you can sit down at the computer and be free of a lingering notion that your daily tasks are still ahead of you. A good rule to give yourself is not to play until you have been wide awake for more than two hours. After you are awake and have tended to necessary business, an online game can be your only concern.

The same logic holds true for the nighttime. Don't fall into the bad habit of saying to yourself , "One quick game and then I will go to sleep." If you are thinking that, then you are probably already tired and not at full capacity to play.

Why put yourself in a position to be someone else's ATM machine just because you want to play? A good poker player should want to play good poker, not just play poker.

If you know a night's sleep is only a few ticks away, you are more likely to make a bad decision and easily expose yourself to defeat. Instead of playing that last late night game, convince yourself you will be a better player tomorrow following a good sleep than your current state of drowsiness.

Play cash games rather than a tournament if time is an issue. Hopefully, you have set time aside during the day when you will play online poker free of other stimuli and annoyances (in other words, a time when your wife is not wandering around the house asking you if you would like to go to the flower festival with her). If you are unsure of how long you will be able to play distraction free, then make the wise decision and play a cash game rather than a tournament. Cash games are better for those players with time restraints. Easy-in, easy-out is the case for cash games, but not so for tournaments. In a tournament, you can never be sure how long it will last. If you have somewhere to go but you are in a tournament, the chances are extremely high you will just throw your chips away to expedite the game. If you were in the same position but in a cash game, you could play one last hand and be free of other financial obligations on the table.

There is a reason why college students and professional players do so well online. It stems from their free time and their perspective of the game being the most important aspect of their life at that moment. While online, don't make the mistake of doing a handful of other tasks while playing. You are likely going to lose to someone with a much different approach.


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