The popularity of online poker is exploding, with two million people playing on more than 300 sites every day! Poker can be watched in the comfort of your own home on several cable networks, and it can even be played without ever having to leave the house. But that's not to say that the highs and lows all poker players experience happen any less frequently when playing online versus playing offline.
In fact, playing online involves some added challenges. For example, many offline players fear that if they can't see their opponents face to face, they will be unable to pick up on “tells” — things like physical quirks and mannerisms, ticks, and eye movements. They feel this puts them at a disadvantage. They're right — when you play online poker, many tells are all but invisible. But, as you'll learn in this book, there are a few tricks that can help you overcome this hurdle.
There are also other aspects of online poker that differ from the physical, tangible casino experience. The Internet poker world is a nameless, faceless environment of virtual tables, icons known as avatars, and made-up screen names. Even the dealer, if there is one, is just for show; the site's computer software algorithms randomly shuffle and deal the cards. And when you play in no-limit online poker games, you will find that there are a lot more all-ins than when you play in offline no-limit poker games. That's because it's psychologically easier to click a mouse than it is to physically move all your chips into the pot.
There are a lot of distractions to deal with when playing online, too. In all probability, most of your online opponents will be watching television, reading, playing in more than one online game at a time, talking on the telephone, or doing something else that disrupts their concentration. If you can think of an online distraction, it's probably happened somewhere at some time.
Whether you are playing poker online or offline, you will find that most people think they are good poker players — and some, very good poker players. Because no one is playing face to face, you'll find that your opponents might be cocky as a means of intimidation. As you will learn from this book, though, this is a common tell. You'll learn how to recognize this and how to adjust your play accordingly.
Learning the basics of poker playing isn't difficult, but it will take a lifetime of continuing education to master the game. A good poker player can never be too informed, too knowledgeable, or too prepared when he is gambling with his hard-earned money. “Know thine enemy” is not just an expression — it's a cardinal rule when it comes to playing poker either online or offline. And that is exactly who you will be surrounded by, enemies who are silently — some not so silently — praying that you will lose your money to them.
Whether you're a risk-taker or a more conservative player, this book will provide you with everything you need to devise a winning strategy to cash in on the online action. Now let's get started and learn how to play some online poker!