Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Online Poker Vs Playing at a Poker Table

The differences between online poker and more traditional poker table games are sometimes not quite as obvious as they may seem.

Unlike sitting down at a poker table with friends, or even strangers, online poker has an added dimension these days. There is a lot of pressure from many quarters to make online poker illegal, particularly in the United States. You will almost always know if the table game you are playing is in an area where poker is legal, but it is getting harder to know if this is true about poker played online.

In spite of these gray areas, millions in the U. S. and around the world regularly enjoy participating in online poker games from the comfort of their own homes. Just to give this some perspective, in 2005, the revenue from online poker was reported to be in the vicinity of $200 million.

Not only is online poker generating huge amounts of revenue and creating new millionaires, among players, site owners, and affiliates of poker sites, but, due to its pervasive influence, the appeal of poker in general is growing. The public is not only gaining knowledge about poker, but is showing an interest in all things poker. From the tables to the chips at the table, to the people who play at the tables, poker is huge.

Poker players such as Chris Ferguson (Jesus), Annie Duke, and her brother Howard Lederer (The Professor), and Hoyt Corkins (The Alabama Cowboy), to name a few, had never been heard of by the public a few months ago. Now they are celebrities in their own right. Even people who have been celebrities, such as Jennifer Tilly, Ben Affleck, and Mimi Rogers have traded in the bright lights of Hollywood for the green felt of the poker table – at least on occasion.

While many of these famous people play in tournaments sitting at the table with the celebrities of poker, most mortals enter the poker arena via online poker websites such as partypoker.com, pokerstars.com, ultimatebet.com or fulltiltpoker.com.

Sitting at a poker table can be intimidating, particularly for the new player and just is not that inviting for the beginner. They are apt to feel out of their league, and, if others at the table have more experience or are strangers, they are apt to feel intimidated.

The online poker experience is quite different. There is an anonymity which protects the psyche of the “newbie”. They can watch games as long as they want before actually taking part. Additionally, most online venues will have tutorials and practice games for beginners that help ease the learning process. Sometimes the main site will actually have a completely separate site set up strictly for the beginner. Another helper for the beginner is that online games tend to have buttons labeled for the various actions and often include on-screen prompts for the appropriate action.

Internet poker sites also offer a range of limits so that the beginning player can actually start betting pennies. Not only is the betting easy, but so is the access. Unlike a table game, an online game can be found 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world that there is a computer and an Internet connection.

There are, however, two drawbacks to playing online, particularly if one’s goal is to eventually participate in the highly televised poker tournaments occupying more prime time slots on TV. First, there is the hurdle of actually sitting and playing at the table itself. No amount of online preparation can duplicate or offset the first few times you find yourself in a chair across from a Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker, or Daniel Negreanu.

Second, although it IS possible, it is exceedingly difficult to bluff at an online poker game and even harder to learn how to read your opponents.

Look on the bright side, however. It IS easy to learn basic poker skills and improve your technique online, and you won’t have to worry about your poker face!

Finding the Best Online Poker Sites

So you want to be a big shot, stay cool and win that freeze-out tournament. You have an inkling that poker is something you were born to do, but where you live no one you know knows the rules, there is no casino in over one hundred miles and you’d feel intimidated anyway. So the option is to find the best online poker sites you can and get cashing in your hard earned chips.

When looking for online poker sites you have to find the ones that are right for you. Here’s a few tips when looking for a site:

– Find one that has a free trial period or offers you some free incentive. That way you can get to try out the place before committing to regular payments or subscriptions.

– Stay away from scams that promise an easy way to ‘beat the system’. The only way they beat the system is by getting you to give you their money instead to all the genuine poker sites.

– Get yourself to a listing site that gives up to date reviews and details of events gong on at all the mainstream poker websites. Not only will you get a feel for what is out there, you get to see which ones are consistently popular.

– You can find programs that allow you to try poker games without using real money-this gives you the chance to develop your skills before you bet away your life savings.

Online poker has been around since the late 1990’s but it is really in the last six or so years that its popularity has soared. TV tournaments have helped to promote the game as well as many celebrities now being seen taking part. But it is online where you can play without needing to be part of the rich and glamorous jet-set. Heck, you don’t even need to get dressed! You can open up a beer and let the dog out between hands while playing at some of the best online poker sites the internet can offer.

You can chose to play against other people who like you enjoy pitting their poker wits against real live opposition or you can also find games that offer computer opponents for you to do battle with. One of the benefits of virtual opponents is that you don’t have to wait for the right number to show up or be delayed while one of them takes a bathroom break.

The best online poker sites for you are the ones that offer you the kind of experience you are looking for. Some want high risk, big money action, others just want some down time shooting the breeze with others over a friendly, less high stakes kind of game. So whether its five card stud that gets you going or it’s the hugely popular Texas Holdem you are after, the best online poker sites are waiting for you to pull up a chair and join the table.

A Couch Potato’s Guide to Poker on TV!

I love Poker. I love to play it. I love to read about it. I love to watch other people play it, especially on TV. It’s an inexpensive way to learn from the pros. You can see what they do in real-world situations, not just what they say they would do in their books. Watching Poker helps improve your game. You can learn pot odds, combinations, order of hands and many other basics as well as advanced, psychological strategy such as tells.

I watch a lot of Poker on TV. Yes, I do. Apparently, the networks are taking notice of the TV-viewing public. A lot of us are crazy for Poker. In this article, I’m going to discuss several, TV series that are still running now, that I highly recommend and regularly watch.

1) Celebrity Poker Showdown. This is on Bravo, usually on Thursday nights. Poker Pro Phil Gordon and comedian Dave Foley (Kids in The Hall, News Radio) are the moderators for this light, fluffy show featuring celebrities such as Alex Trebek, Ben Affleck, Rosie O’Donnell and Camryn Manheim. Some of the celebs are really very good. Of course, there is also that wonderfully evil moment when you can watch someone on the D-List or above sink on the river.

Phil gives expert commentary. There’s a short film each week in which the basics of No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em and the betting rules are explained. It’s entertaining TV even for newbies, pros and the star-struck alike.

2) The World Series of Poker. ESPN is currently showing episodes of the 2005 WSOP. The other night, I saw Johnny Chan win his record 10th WSOP bracelet in the Pot Limit Hold ‘Em event. It was awesome. He beat out Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak to take the lead against Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth, who were both present during the match, for the all-time record bracelet wins. Hey, don’t feel too bad for Mr. Laak. His girlfriend, the beautiful Hollywood actress, Jennifer Tilly, won the Ladies’ Event at the WSOP this year.

A week or two prior to that, I got to see Josh Arieh, a very good player who doesn’t get too much airtime (yet), play – and win – the Omaha tourney. It was great to see Omaha Hold ‘Em played on TV for a change. I loved it.

Even if you’re not a poker junkie like I am, you can appreciate the epic nature of the World Series of Poker with its international field featuring the best of the best – and a few Cinderella stories thrown in for good measure.

3) World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel. Travel the world from your chair and watch pros play in the World Poker Tour. They play in exotic locales such as Aruba and Paris. Host Mike Sexton is so knowledgeable about the game that he makes up for his co-host Vince Van Patten’s shtick. The man tries to give nicknames to any hand combination possible. Some of his groaners include:

QQ – Siegfried & Roy or Paris & Nikki (Hilton)

55 – Sammy Hagar (after the song, ‘I Can’t Drive 55’)

Rounding out the commentator group is the lovely Shana Hiatt. She interviews the pros and showcases different aspects of the poker-playing lifestyle on each episode. The WPT hosts names like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer and more. It’s a veritable who’s who of Poker and it comes fresh and new into your home each week.

These aren’t the only Poker shows on TV. ESPN has a drama called TILT starring Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) and Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch) which is a fictionalized version of a poker pro’s dirty and dangerous life.

E! Entertainment Network, beginning on St. Patty’s Day 2005, aired several episodes of E!’s Hollywood Hold ‘Em Game. Laura Prepon, of That 70s Show, produced the show and starred in one of the episodes with her live-in love Chris Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle) and some friends, including Chris’ brother and That 70’s show star, Danny Masterson (Hyde). Other episodes had Mila Kunis (Family Guy, That 70s Show), Macauley Culkin – yes, that Macauley Culkin. He’s Mila’s beau – and Shannon Elizabeth. I haven’t seen it on recently; but, I desperately hope that it comes back. It was pretty good poker and Phil Laak was the dealer/mentor/host.

The Game Show Network has Poker Royale. This is a 6-person tournament that runs for several weeks. There are several elimination rounds, then a finale. The first had all pros. It was men vs. women. The men won each individual match; but, the ladies, led by Kathy Liebert, Jennifer Harmon and Cyndy Violette took the final – and decisive match. The second installment had Celebrities vs. Poker Pros. I found it to be a watered-down version of Celebrity Poker Showdown. I missed Phil Gordon and Dave Foley, gotta admit. The third installment, which is currently airing, is the Comedians vs. Poker Pros. I didn’t find this one too fun or funny; but, I’ve had other things to do lately.

Actually, I dropped watching that because the Fall Season picked up; and, well, I’d rather watch the Poker Superstars Invitational on FSN! This is awesome. It’s a turbo tourney – the blinds go up really quick and the play is fast – featuring Johnny Chan, Carlos Mortensen and other luminaries. It’s action-packed, high-stakes poker that goes by in the blink of eye.

If you can’t find a good online or home game, why not sit down and watch one on TV? Chances are – there’s one on the television right now. Go. Watch!

Poker Skill Development for the Kinesthetic Learner

This is the fourth and final article of a series that has presented Learning Styles in the Texas Holdem Poker Learning Process. We have been addressing how the Learning Styles concept can be applied in a learning situation including the development of Texas Hold Poker knowledge and skills. We have previously dealt with the Auditory Learner and the Visual Learner. This article will deal with the Kinesthetic or Tactile Learner. Tactile relates to touching and feeling. Feeling also has an emotional connotation that applies in this instance as well. Kinesthetic relates to action and movement. Therefore, the Kinesthetic Learner learns best through physical actions that involve handling and manipulating objects using emotions as a motivator.

  • The first step in this process is to determine your learning style. The following statements describe how Kinesthetic Learners react to a variety of situations or circumstances.
  • You trust your instincts or gut feelings in helping you make poker decisions.
  • At the poker table you fiddle with your poker chips or like to have a card cover. You may be pretty good at doing poker chip tricks.
  • When you have made a big decision like all-in, you are compelled to get up and walk around.
  • When playing poker online you need to be doing something else like squeezing a ball, drumming with a pencil, constantly changing positions or other small physical activities.
  • When you recall a past event you remember the emotions that you experienced or actually re-experience them.
  • You instinctually know the direction you are facing.
  • You spend your leisure time involved in physical activities or making things.
  • When you make a new purchase that requires assembly you generally ignore the directions and just get at it using trial and error.
  • In conversation you say things like I know how you feel, get a grip or just do it.
  • When shopping you pick items up, handle them or test how they work.
  • You greet friends with a hug. You use physical contact or movement when you are talking to someone, i.e. place a hand on a shoulder, gesture, move around, etc.
  • You express your anger physically, stomp out of the room, throw things, slam doors, etc.
  • You like sports and consider yourself a good athlete.
  • You enjoy games like charades that involve acting things out.
  • You have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time.

This is not a scientific analysis based on years of research but if these statements capture the way that you do things, you are probably a Kinesthetic or Tactile Learner.. So what works best for you?

  • Your teachers, parents and even you yourself may think that you are hyperactive. This may or may not be the case, but many of the techniques that have been applied to working with the hyperactive learner can work for you. Don’t be offended by the implications, being a Kinesthetic Learner is not a handicap. On the contrary, a great many very intelligent and success individuals including very successful artists and athletes are Kinesthetic Learners. The approaches to learning that I am suggesting here will merely help you acquire knowledge in the most expedient manner.
  • Your learning cannot be static, you must be doing or experiencing something at all times.
  • Whenever you engage in a studying or concentrated learning activity, work for short periods of time 25-30 minutes taking short 5 minute breaks in between. Don’t try to stretch the work periods or the break periods any longer than suggested. If you stretch the work period you may tire or lose interest and if you stretch the break you might not want to get back to work. Shorter is better than longer.
  • Kinesthetic Learners are often athletic. Combine your learning with your physical conditioning. Read a book, magazine article or go through index or flash cards while you or on an exercise bike or treadmill. Again, keep each session to 20-30 minutes with a 5 minute break in between sessions.
  • Be comfortable when you read or watch an instructional video. Reading in a hammock, a swing or a rocking chair can give you physical movement when you read. Using a bean bag or big comfortable chair will allow you change your body position as you read or watch an instructional video.
  • Read or watch instructional videos while lying on your side, back or on your stomach.
  • Try to get the big picture before you start to read an instructional book. Scan the book quickly from front to back, looking at the cover, back and book jacket. Take a quick look at the Table of Contents noting the chapters. Flip through the pages perusing pictures, diagrams etc. very quickly. When you actually get into reading the book, scan each chapter in the same manner. There is no law that says that you are required to read the book in the order that it is published. You can read the chapters in the sequence that you find most interesting.
  • The use of colored transparent sheets over the text on the book page has provided good success for individuals who have difficulty focusing. You might want to try this if you have some trouble sitting down and slugging your way through a book. Experiment with a variety of colors until you find the color that works best for you.
  • To accommodate your need to expend physical energy while trying to focus on learning, squeeze a stress ball, chew gum, sit on an exercise ball or move your feet and hands.
  • At the poker table be comfortable, wear comfortable clothes this will help you concentrate better.
  • Don’t force yourself to sit for hours. Get up and move around between hands or after you have folded a hand.
  • To keep your hands busy, learn and perform poker chip tricks. They may be a great way to demonstrate your hand and finger dexterity but they can also serve a more important purpose for you.
  • If you use head phones stay away from music with a heavy rhythmic beat. Listen to classical baroque music or concentration and relaxation music.
  • When trying to internalize information with your eyes closed, write on your desk, table or in the air with your finger trying to visualize and hear the words in your head as you write or draw. Reinforce this activity later by closing your eyes and trying to visualize and hear the information again.
  • Kinesthetic Learners enjoy creating or making things. These things are instrumental in their learning process. Use your imagination and create artifacts that you can use to enhance you learning. Create physical items that will help you learn and to remember your new knowledge. Simple examples include index cards, flash cards, wriing on white boards or making posters. These are items that you can refer to frequently to help you recall the information when it is required.
  • Playing other games that require strategy and the ability to read your opponents like chess and backgammon can help you develop your poker strategies and skills. Many professional poker players are also expert backgammon players.
  • You learn best by using trial and error as your teacher. So play poker.
  • Some cautions about being a Kinesthetic Learner.
  • You learn by trial and error and learn best by playing a lot of poker. However, make sure that you are playing within you sphere of competence. Play with poker players of comparable ability to yours. Yes, you want to play with players that will challenge your skills and help you learn along the way, but in the game of poker, getting in above your head can have drastic financial results for you. Keep your game within stakes that you can afford and with players that provide you a reasonable chance for success.
  • Don’t try to sit at the poker table or in study sessions for periods of time that are too long as this may cause you to lose your focus, get up and move around about every 30 minutes or so.
  • At the same time don’t be too active as you need to study and be aware of your opponents and how they play the game.
  • Since you tend to be emotional you can be impulsive so don’t let your emotions take control, stop and take a moment before pushing your chips all in.

As a Kinesthetic Learner there are not an abundance of manipulative poker resources available to help you with your poker learning process. Your challenge is to use these resources effectively. By recognizing and combining learning with your natural abilities i.e. your drive, your passion and your need for movement you can acquire, reinforce and permanently store sensory information as you jog along the path to quick and effective learning.