Why I prefer online play!

R

ross1shark

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Many arguments exist between the validity of online vs. brick and mortar play. Each of them valid, each of them bears discussion and examination. This posting will ONLY deal with my personal experience.
I am fortunate enough to live in Southern California, with access to any one of a number of venerable, famous poker rooms: Harrahs, Commerce (LA), Pechanga, Barona, Pala, Ocean's 11 (no, it's not just a movie) as well as many others. In the short term, I've cashed WAY more money in live poker ring games than in tourneys. However, by using solid poker strategies and relying on good player notes, I routinely finish in the top 10% of online tourneys and have a pretty reliable stat list on how I do in every online site. In fact, I prefer online play for a variety of reasons, and feel that in the long term, I'll make way more online than in live play (barring any HUGE win in a live tourney). Here's why:
1. Your "tells" are fewer. While tells are not only oversought and overused, the tells you give online are FAR fewer. Facial expressions, vocal tone, fidgeting, etc., are invisible online. Whereas I can read that someone always touches their cards twice when bluffing, online, I cannot see this. Therefore, if you get a bad beat, you can rant, rave, kick furniture, yell, curse, etc., without anyone but YOU knowing it. As long as you consistently play hands, you have a MUCH lower risk of giving off "tells."
2. Player notes. How many times have you played a live ring game or tourney and seen a player with a notepad or laptop making detailed notes of your long-term play? Almost never; me neither. Note-taking is a VERY often overlooked factor in online play. If you actually pay attention, rather that just jotting: "complete jerk" after a player, and make detailed quick references to their play like:
r w AK os (Raise with AK off-suit)
p 53s, 78s, 97os (plays 53 suited, 78 suited, and 9 7 offsuit +drawing hands)
r pf w Q J, sp QQ (raise pre-flop w Q J; slow-plays QQ)
Only THEN can you make the most of your notes. This is something that is virtually impossible to do in live play.
3. Bluffing. Bluffing online is TOTALLY different that bluffing in live play. Bluffing is actually, in my experience in numerous poker rooms/games/tourneys a MUCH bigger part of live play than in online play. If you're a great bluffer in live play, you'll likely get eaten alive by the sharks in online play who are Tight/Aggressive; if you rarely bluff in live play, online is NOT the time to start. Likewise, if you are a great bluffer in online play, you better WATCH OUT in live play, as the ring game players will call your AK os raise pf with 6 5 suited - if the board doesn't pair you, and they bet big, not only are you stunted momentarily, but you may likely be really behind. Even if you aren't behind right now, your visible reaction to missing the flop is their ticket to go all in on the turn or river, forcing you to a painful decision.
4. Blind size/Limits. You CANNOT - NOT - play the same in a $.50-$1 game as in a $3-6. Nor is $5-10 the same as $10-20. FEW players realize this. The wind up slaughtering tables at $.01-.02 games and think "well, I'll just move up to $5 - 10. " BIG - I repeat, BIG - mistake. These are NOT the same games. If someone bluffs you on a missed flop at $.50, you are much more likely to chase that flush than in a $5-10 game, where the pot might be $600-1500. NOW WHAT?! Do you call with top pair, or fold and wait? See? The higher limits change everything about the game. Those 6 3 offsuit hands you'll play in online freerolls will NOT come in live play or in online play of $3-6 blinds. It is NOT the same. I have had live games where, after a great run of cards that instilled fear in my opponents, I have seen players fold out of turn just by my REACHING for chips. This will NEVER happen in an online game, and you can bet your last chip that it is NOT a great tactic. If you try to use tactics like that online, you're just going to lose...period. Better to bet what you actually have and only lie when you're either sure your opponent will fold/call (if it will be profitable) and fold if he/she raises. End of story - if they raise, you're likely behind. Online, you can practice at these different levels without having facial ticks, hand gestures, and betting delays coming into play. Live, well, you're just going to spend a lot of $ to learn; the sharks who play daily are going to devour you knowing that you're inexperienced at this level. A word on this: After eating up fish at one of my local haunts (Ocean's 11), at $2-$2, I figured I was ready for Harrah's (Rincon) ring play, $3-6. Even at my FIRST hand, I realized things were different. On about my 2nd hand, I picked up As Js BB, at a pot of about $30. I raised pf, a winning strategy at lower live-play blind figures. The flop comes Jd 2h 4s. Having top pair/top kicker, I bet out 3 X pot (once again, a winning strategy proven over and over in my personal play), about $140. The turn is 6s; two players check, one delays, then checks. I bet pot again, now really pushing the limit. The two first players fold; the delay player checks, and I check, as well - when the turn comes 9h. I now have top pair/top kicker, a nut-flush draw, and the benefit of first aggressor, a big pot, and the respect of other players (with me having just sat down). The river comes 2d. I push all-in, SURE I have the best hand. The last player calls, turning over Jc 2s! It seemed as if She had chased ALL THEY WAY!!!!!!!! In reality, it was not so - but the fact that she had eve CALLED a reise with this was really frustrating. You WILL Experience this in higher limits. Players with HUGE bankrolls will donk-call your pf raise just to see what happens. Online, this does happen, but not nearly as much. Usually, if you have the best hand visibly on the turn and play great starting hadns, you still will be ahead on the river. Not always, but often enough to win. This is something I would have expected in ONLINE play, not a live game! BUT - this particular player ( I learned, later ) plays almost every day; knew I played a lot online, and could chase at will, as her bankroll was WAY bigger than mine. If she lost - she didn't care. Online, I probably would've folded this hand - but in live play, she gave off NO signals as to being on possible river nuts - she played AA exactly the same as 6 3 offsuit. Online, you can analyze play like this and adjust accordingly. In live play - good luck!
Anyway, even though I know I have a lot of improvement to go in ALL aspects of my game, I think that online play will be WAY more profitable for me over the long haul. I'm anxious to see what you guys think!
'Til next time!
Ross
 
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jewboy07

jewboy07

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i started to read this and i couldn't do it

it just was one big blob to me
try separating paragraphs and such
 
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redfish99999

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And another thing.....

And another thing, and I don't mean to be snotty.

Many poker players at casinos are smokers, drunks, or smell bad.......simply, the type of person that I don't want to sit next to or associate with............

The exception seems to be cruises where the players are friendlier and cleaner........
 
D

Dayne G.

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Many arguments exist between the validity of online vs. brick and mortar play. Each of them valid, each of them bears discussion and examination. This posting will ONLY deal with my personal experience.
I am fortunate enough to live in Southern California, with access to any one of a number of venerable, famous poker rooms: Harrahs, Commerce (LA), Pechanga, Barona, Pala, Ocean's 11 (no, it's not just a movie) as well as many others. In the short term, I've cashed WAY more money in live poker ring games than in tourneys. However, by using solid poker strategies and relying on good player notes, I routinely finish in the top 10% of online tourneys and have a pretty reliable stat list on how I do in every online site. In fact, I prefer online play for a variety of reasons, and feel that in the long term, I'll make way more online than in live play (barring any HUGE win in a live tourney). Here's why:
1. Your "tells" are fewer. While tells are not only oversought and overused, the tells you give online are FAR fewer. Facial expressions, vocal tone, fidgeting, etc., are invisible online. Whereas I can read that someone always touches their cards twice when bluffing, online, I cannot see this. Therefore, if you get a bad beat, you can rant, rave, kick furniture, yell, curse, etc., without anyone but YOU knowing it. As long as you consistently play hands, you have a MUCH lower risk of giving off "tells."
2. Player notes. How many times have you played a live ring game or tourney and seen a player with a notepad or laptop making detailed notes of your long-term play? Almost never; me neither. Note-taking is a VERY often overlooked factor in online play. If you actually pay attention, rather that just jotting: "complete jerk" after a player, and make detailed quick references to their play like:
r w AK os (Raise with AK off-suit)
p 53s, 78s, 97os (plays 53 suited, 78 suited, and 9 7 offsuit +drawing hands)
r pf w Q J, sp QQ (raise pre-flop w Q J; slow-plays QQ)
Only THEN can you make the most of your notes. This is something that is virtually impossible to do in live play.
3. Bluffing. Bluffing online is TOTALLY different that bluffing in live play. Bluffing is actually, in my experience in numerous poker rooms/games/tourneys a MUCH bigger part of live play than in online play. If you're a great bluffer in live play, you'll likely get eaten alive by the sharks in online play who are Tight/Aggressive; if you rarely bluff in live play, online is NOT the time to start. Likewise, if you are a great bluffer in online play, you better WATCH OUT in live play, as the ring game players will call your AK os raise pf with 6 5 suited - if the board doesn't pair you, and they bet big, not only are you stunted momentarily, but you may likely be really behind. Even if you aren't behind right now, your visible reaction to missing the flop is their ticket to go all in on the turn or river, forcing you to a painful decision.
4. Blind size/Limits. You CANNOT - NOT - play the same in a $.50-$1 game as in a $3-6. Nor is $5-10 the same as $10-20. FEW players realize this. The wind up slaughtering tables at $.01-.02 games and think "well, I'll just move up to $5 - 10. " BIG - I repeat, BIG - mistake. These are NOT the same games. If someone bluffs you on a missed flop at $.50, you are much more likely to chase that flush than in a $5-10 game, where the pot might be $600-1500. NOW WHAT?! Do you call with top pair, or fold and wait? See? The higher limits change everything about the game. Those 6 3 offsuit hands you'll play in online freerolls will NOT come in live play or in online play of $3-6 blinds. It is NOT the same. I have had live games where, after a great run of cards that instilled fear in my opponents, I have seen players fold out of turn just by my REACHING for chips. This will NEVER happen in an online game, and you can bet your last chip that it is NOT a great tactic. If you try to use tactics like that online, you're just going to lose...period. Better to bet what you actually have and only lie when you're either sure your opponent will fold/call (if it will be profitable) and fold if he/she raises. End of story - if they raise, you're likely behind. Online, you can practice at these different levels without having facial ticks, hand gestures, and betting delays coming into play. Live, well, you're just going to spend a lot of $ to learn; the sharks who play daily are going to devour you knowing that you're inexperienced at this level. A word on this: After eating up fish at one of my local haunts (Ocean's 11), at $2-$2, I figured I was ready for Harrah's (Rincon) ring play, $3-6. Even at my FIRST hand, I realized things were different. On about my 2nd hand, I picked up As Js BB, at a pot of about $30. I raised pf, a winning strategy at lower live-play blind figures. The flop comes Jd 2h 4s. Having top pair/top kicker, I bet out 3 X pot (once again, a winning strategy proven over and over in my personal play), about $140. The turn is 6s; two players check, one delays, then checks. I bet pot again, now really pushing the limit. The two first players fold; the delay player checks, and I check, as well - when the turn comes 9h. I now have top pair/top kicker, a nut-flush draw, and the benefit of first aggressor, a big pot, and the respect of other players (with me having just sat down). The river comes 2d. I push all-in, SURE I have the best hand. The last player calls, turning over Jc 2s! It seemed as if She had chased ALL THEY WAY!!!!!!!! In reality, it was not so - but the fact that she had eve CALLED a reise with this was really frustrating. You WILL Experience this in higher limits. Players with HUGE bankrolls will donk-call your pf raise just to see what happens. Online, this does happen, but not nearly as much. Usually, if you have the best hand visibly on the turn and play great starting hadns, you still will be ahead on the river. Not always, but often enough to win. This is something I would have expected in ONLINE play, not a live game! BUT - this particular player ( I learned, later ) plays almost every day; knew I played a lot online, and could chase at will, as her bankroll was WAY bigger than mine. If she lost - she didn't care. Online, I probably would've folded this hand - but in live play, she gave off NO signals as to being on possible river nuts - she played AA exactly the same as 6 3 offsuit. Online, you can analyze play like this and adjust accordingly. In live play - good luck!
Anyway, even though I know I have a lot of improvement to go in ALL aspects of my game, I think that online play will be WAY more profitable for me over the long haul. I'm anxious to see what you guys think!
'Til next time!
Ross

LOL- I just wanted you guys to have to scroll down to see my reply;)

:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Hang on... I'm still trying to break the code!
 
vanquish

vanquish

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give the guy some credit, this is a pretty good post.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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Both definitely have their merits.

FWIW, I find the bluffing situation is acually the reverse of what OP describes: online, people run more bluffs because really, they're just clicking a mouse. Whereas live, when they know they're going to have to look the other player in the eye or keep a straight face, they can be less inclined to.

Personally, I play live because 1: I enjoy it, and 2: for the skill levels relative to the stakes.

People have pointed out on here a number of times that the play in the average $1-2 live game isn't much different to the most micro of stakes online. And for the most part, they're right. Assuming I've got the bankroll for it, I could play in a $1-2 live game for four or five hours and expect to make fifty times more than I might playing online at the same skill level. In $/hr terms at a given skill level, it's hard to top live play.

I play online more than anything else for the convenience (there's only one casino in my town) and the anonymity (much underrated benefit of online play, IMO). The availability of micro stakes and the fact that you can play any game you like are bonuses too, of course. If you play a big site you're probably better protected against cheating too, despite what some may say.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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honestly live poker is incredible just because its so social. socializing owns.
 
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jock71382

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No. this is a really good post. very good information. thanks
 
nevadanick

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Interesting post, but VERY hard to read.

OP says he 'routinely' finishes in the top 10% of online tourneys. 'Routinely' normally means a number more significant than 50%, doesn't it? Now THAT is an impressive number....

About keeping notes online - I've kept notes on players for 2 years now, but generalities seem to work fine (for me). There are so many online players it may be 9 months or more before you see the same player twice (at least in large tourneys). You may see them a little more frequently if it is single table SnG's or $50/100NL rings. If it is many months between seeing the same player and the notes, I have found numerous times that the villain's styles have changed. They learned, they aren't drunk, they ARE drunk, etc. Keeping a note that villain will play 7,9os isn't much help if they really only play premium hands, while 7,9 gets played because it's their birthday.

On the blinds and limits, I think live and online are quite comparable considering level differences. $1/2 vs $10/20 live are as vastly different as $.02/.04 vs $5/10 online (imo).

On 'reads and tells' - with as many players as there are today, both live and online, reads/tells are possible, but also very difficult. Players do get good at 'mixing it up' in both cases. Live AND online, no one will ever know whether I folded a 4,6o or pkt J's.

OP wrote: "As long as you consistently play hands, you have a MUCH lower risk of giving off "tells."" A little detail/explanation here would help to understand the statement. If I read it correctly, it means you need to play a wider range of starting hands in order to NOT give off tells. Wouldn't that mean increasing your flop rate well over (say) 40%? Just curious...

OP's last statement was to 'see what we think'. For myself, I'll stick with live play as being more profitable - for me. I enjoy online play but find it to be more 'recreational' than profitable. Live players are (generally) there to play poker. There are fewer live tables, less options. You can't get into another tourney in 2 minutes on 12 different 'casinos' if you bust out. There may only be one $2/4 table live, instead of 140 $2/4 tables online to move to.

When I do play ring games online, I've noticed the table turnover at the lower limits I play is quite high. Not the case in live games. I'll stick with live.
 
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Texas Tokem

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I feel like I can be more intimidating brick and mortar and work on my hole card strategy online.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

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OP's last statement was to 'see what we think'. For myself, I'll stick with live play as being more profitable - for me. I enjoy online play but find it to be more 'recreational' than profitable. Live players are (generally) there to play poker. There are fewer live tables, less options. You can't get into another tourney in 2 minutes on 12 different 'casinos' if you bust out. There may only be one $2/4 table live, instead of 140 $2/4 tables online to move to.

Again, I actually find the opposite in the games I play in:

If you're playing online, it means you've gone out of your way to download and install the software, and then gone out of your way (sometimes a long way out of your way, depending on what options are available to you) to deposit money onto the site. I find those couple of barriers mean that your average online player is very much there solely to play poker. Whether they're much good at it is another question, of course...

Whereas live, particularly with casino poker, you'll come across a lot of people who went to the casino to gamble - not necessarily to play poker. Poker might just be what they're doing tonight for a change from craps or the slots or blackjack.
 
dj11

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One of the most beautiful lines I've read here this year was someone who wrote

Folks don't go play live poker to fold!
 
BillyTheBull

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Folks don't go play live poker to fold!
I like that one too . . . I think it might be out of SuperSystem somewhere, but I might be wrong about that. . . .

Whereas live, particularly with casino poker, you'll come across a lot of people who went to the casino to gamble - not necessarily to play poker. Poker might just be what they're doing tonight for a change from craps or the slots or blackjack.
That's a great point, Oz!! Recognizing and adjusting to those kinds of players is one of the absolutely hardest things in live poker, imo, especially if you've been playing at a table for a while and got into a certain kind of "rhythm" or just sat down at a new table; if you handle them right, these "tourists" can be very profitable for your game, but they can also cause some major damage to your stack if you're not ready for them. . . .

I feel like I can be more intimidating brick and mortar and work on my hole card strategy online.
Two questions: 1. Why do you feel a need to be "intimidating"? and 2. What "secret weapons" do you employ to achieve said intimidation? (I hope it's not b.o. or bad breath. . . .)

As to the rest of Ross's (the OP) post, I think he raises many valid points and applaud him for taking the time to put them all down for us here. (Although a bit of extra formatting would have been nice, indeed. . . .) There is one big point, however, where I disagree, and that's the "it's a different game at different levels" section. Although I know what he is getting at, I think what he's really referring to is a bankroll management issue, and here's why: Say you have a proper bankroll to play $1/2NL (which should be a minimum of about $4000-5000) and suddenly you decide to go play $10/20NL; you are now no longer properly bankrolled and invariably will not be able to play the same way you played before. The game is actually no different at all, but YOUR PERCEPTION of it is suddenly VERY different. The same phenomenon can also occur in reverse, when you suddenly switch to (drastically) lower limits, as bet and pot sizes tend to look insignificant or inconsequential in that situation and would tend to cause most players to play much more recklessly than they normally would (which usually doesn't work out well, needless to say).
 
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ross1shark

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Okay; fair enough. Here's my response to a few:

First, as to the difficulty in reading the post, I agree. (The ironic thing is that I'm a well-published writer!) I'm glad folks pointed this out, and I'll format these a little better in the future.

The primary reason for this difficulty: some of the horrible grammar I've seen from my short membership here led me to believe many posters/readers simply didn't care. They seem to want to get the "meat" out of the post rather than quibble over grammar. An oversight on my part.

Next, it seems as though some believe I'm attempting to paint myself to be great. I can ASSURE you all, I'm most definitely NOT. I have lots to learn about my game, and many weak points to work on. I do well enough not to hate myself, but by no means means am I trying to "educate" anyone here.

Now, as to clarifying what I meant by giving off "tells," it is true that one must play more hands to mask what they have. I only partially meant this, though. What I meant was that no matter how great one tends to be at live play, online is simply different. You cannot intimidate folks with posture, expression, vocal tone, etc. Those who attempt to do so with chat are usually either considered rude, stupid, or both. The most intimidating thing you can do in online play is have a huge stack and win often!

Now, to DJ11: The point of these postings is interchange. That's why I asked what other members thought. And, no - I have absolutely no reason to be sorry - if I don't like your response I have the liberty to move onto a more intelligent reply. If it's good, then I'll read it. Simple, no?
 
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Stu_Ungar

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Great post mate.

Agreed difficult to read, just becaue there is such a mass of text on the screen!!!

Better to keep shorter paragraphs with line space inbetween (its an online thing, when i got to the end of a line.. i wasnt sure where the next one started as im reading this of a monitor rather than in print where I can keep my finger on the line LOL
 
Stu_Ungar

Stu_Ungar

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Now, to DJ11: The point of these postings is interchange. That's why I asked what other members thought. And, no - I have absolutely no reason to be sorry - if I don't like your response I have the liberty to move onto a more intelligent reply. If it's good, then I'll read it. Simple, no?Today 3:03 AM

I dont follow.. what did he say?

dj11 One of the most beautiful lines I've read here this year was someone who wrote

Folks don't go play live poker to fold!

I should imagine that sums up a certain type of player and I would imagine that there are quite a number of them!!!
 
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