Preparing to Play Poker Online — What You Should Know
An online poker room might seem an intimidating place when you step into it for the first time. No one knows what’s going to happen and the chances are the players don’t know each other, so, naturally, they may seem a little mistrustful towards you and the other players. After all, no one wants to lose their cash on the tables or get scammed. If you’re going to play and win, and not fall foul to cheats or even just to better players, you’ve got to do some serious preparation. This article is about to tell you how.
Don’t take anything for granted
Know yourself as a gambler and as a player. Observe how you play after a few practice sessions and be aware of it. It’s human nature to just assume something is going to play out in a certain way, but this is poker. The stakes are high and you never what the cards are going to throw at you, especially if the game is unfortunate enough to have a rogue player or two enter the mix. When you’re mindful of your poker-playing habits, you can keep an eye out for them, too, so that neither the game nor the other players catch you off guard.
Plan well in advance
If you’re going to play online, it doesn’t help being poorly organised. You’ve got to enter that room confident but, at the same time, calm and collected. That won’t happen if you’re rushing around at the last minute. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast on the day and, if you like a workout, squeeze in an early session with the weights or cardiovascular equipment or do some other exercise that takes your fancy.
Some people will tell you they drink, party and, generally, abuse their health in the run-up to a tournament, and that this helps them to play out of their skin. Whatever. That’s up to them, but it’s better to just consider these stories as the garbage that they are and focus. Keep your mind and your body fresh and take notes from videos, practise calculating and run simulations. If doing that alone makes you feel like dirt, you’ve certainly no business entering the tournament. You won’t perform well. In fact, playing poker tired and hungover could cause you to lose some serious money. Just don’t.
Don’t play too many tables
It’s better to play a small number of tables than a large one. You’re just overloading yourself when you take on too many tables and, at some point, your concentration and quality of play is going to plummet, whereas your stress levels could skyrocket. Stay disciplined by curbing your enthusiasm and just playing a few tables.
Of course, there’s money at stake and some people will do anything to win — whether it’s within the rules or not. No one likes to be taken for a mug, so you need to know about the different ways people can cheat and how to spot a poker cheater. Here are a few:
Collusion, as you might suspect, is when two or more players are working together at the same table. Although it’s hard to spot online, it’s not impossible. For instance, you might notice the same two players playing more than one table but always sitting together; and observe a certain pattern to how they play — e.g. they may only ever raise in games where there are more than two players.
‘Cutting the cord’
When a dishonest player senses that they could lose, sometimes they’ll try to cut their internet connection, which they do in the hope that the house will let them keep their money. Alternatively, they might try to increase the pot and then cut their internet connection when someone makes a call, so that they can protest and claim some of the prize money later. Watch out for these types of interruption and whether they occur often.
It’s the internet age, so no surprises that you can get bots that play poker. These sneaky pieces of software aren’t poker whizzes, but they can play better than the average human recreational player. If the ‘player’ spends long hours across at numerous tables, always plays or bets in the same way or plays in a way that no rational average player, you could be up against a bot.
Hole card cheaters
Hole card cheaters are people who play flawlessly and clean up because they somehow have access to our hole cards — the ones which only we are supposed to be able to see. Depending on how they play, they’re hard to spot, but if a player always seems to play tight when we have a potentially winning hand and, coincidentally, always places a large bet when we don’t, be suspicious. There may be a hacker at large on your computer who is supplying hole card information to this strange mystical person who has sat down at the table with you.
No one likes being tricked out of their money or losing big at a poker table. Thankfully, you don’t have to be. Get ready for the tournament by making some solid preparations and being alert to any unusual goings-on during games. The cheaters might think they’re smart, but you can outsmart them and, potentially, walk away with the spoils of the game.