Playing Poker: The Online Version

The popularity of the traditional poker game soared even more from the time the game was made available online. More people became aware of the game and not a few have been hooked to playing poker online. Recognizing its contributions to the game’s current fame, the World Series of Poker has even opened its doors to online players, and have allowed them entry into the World Series. In fact, the 2003 and 2004 World Series champions entered via the backdoor – through online poker.

As is usually the case in any game, with popularity comes controversy. A lot of complaints about online poker have come into the fore. Many players began complaining of “bad beats,” or large hands dealt against smaller hands. It has been noted to happen a lot more in online play compared to poker games played in traditional venues like a casino.

Experts, however, say that this is understandable since more hands are dealt in online poker sites than in “real life” poker on an hourly basis. And because of the growing number of online casino players, the number of possible large deals or bad beats dealt randomly is increased, though not necessarily percentage-wise.

A Blow to Online Poker

It was discovered that ProPoker.com, an online casino site, used “bots” or computer programs that simulate human players to play against online players.  However, it was possible that the bots had “knowledge” on the hands of the opposing players even when the cards have not been dealt yet. The site was forced to close shop. Most of its patrons stopped playing, but not before losing each and every bet they placed on the site.

The case prompted a number of certification-awarding bodies like the Kahnawake Gaming commission and big-name auditing firms such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers to review online poker websites, and solicit reviews from online poker players to help improve their set certification standards. The payouts and shuffle are now being tested and reviewed for fairness.

Online Poker vs. Traditional Poker

The Psychological Game – The biggest obvious difference between online and traditional poker is player interaction.  In online poker, players do not see each other, and sit together before the same table. Traditional players are known to observe their opponents’ body language or reactions for clues on the hands they are dealt with. While some people say that the game’s most important aspect – the psychological warfare – is diminished, other players see this as an advantage.

Instead of watching the other players for hints, online poker players focus more on betting patterns. Likewise, they learn to observe non-physical reaction patterns and behavior from other players. In short, the key to success is an online player’s ability to adapt to a new playing environment. Those who have mastered the intricacies of online poker are seen as the more successful ones.

Rate of Play – Because everything is automated in online poker, where the shuffling and dealing are done in an instant, games are generally faster and more dynamic. On the other hand, in the traditional version, the dealer first collects the cards at the end of each hand, before a new game can start. Thus, on the average, only about 30 hands are dealt every hour.

In cases of pot splits, there is also no delay in online gaming as far as counting chips is concerned. Online poker players likewise claim that you can even make the game pace faster by using the “auto-action” buttons. Through these buttons, a player can choose an action he wants performed before each turn. It is therefore not surprising that an online poker player can be dealt an average of 50 to 80 hands an hour.

These are only a couple of reasons a lot of traditional poker players have turned to online playing. They get to play a lot more hands. This is particularly attractive for players who easily get bored from waiting for their cards to be dealt. If you are on a roll, you get to win a lot more hands in a shorter amount of time, but you also stand to lose a lot more games if you are on a bad poker day.

Traditional and online poker, however, are both games of chance, and should be played with caution.  While the games can provide you with substantial winnings, you can also lose a lot of money when irresponsibly played.  Just enjoy playing, stick to your limit, and never play with money that you cannot afford to lose.