Winning Combinations for Online Poker

The online  poker boom has  been astounding. At the  end  of 2004, at any given moment, more than 10,000 players were  competing on over  150 poker sites. On any given day, combined bets totaled more than $130 million.  And the  numbers keep  going up.

And not  surprisingly, not  all the  new attendees play poker well. Sure, you have  to watch out  for some sharks, hustlers, and  poker savants; but  the  misfits, slackers, and  the  terminally distracted greatly idnpoker outnumber the  dangerous players. In online  play in general, and  especially at the  lower-limit tables, you have  the  potential to make a lot of money.

In this  short article, we talk about the  basics of Internet poker, as well as the  raw materials you need to play a truly  fascinating form of America’s favorite card game (and recently, America’s favorite game,  period).

Winning  on the Internet

In case you’re  confused by the  title  of the  article,  we should get one thing  clear from the  start: Yes, you can win money playing  poker on the  Internet. Recognizing that, however, doesn’t make it easy. Even if you’ve “mastered” brick-and-mortar play, you can’t  simply walk in and  take  the  candy from all the  Net brats. You come screen to screen with some pretty tough players. Heck, Net dwellers have won the  past two World Series  of Poker Main Events in Las Vegas. But coming out  on top  of your  favorite game is certainly possible, and  to do that you need to know your  poker theory and  have money to put  on the  virtual table.

The most important thing  to understand about Internet poker is that you’re  still playing  poker.

Knowing your poker theory

With very few exceptions, nearly all the  poker theory you already know and  have  gleaned over  your  life applies in the  Internet world. You must deal  with nuances and  fine points, but  poker is poker, no matter the  form or forum.

If you’re  looking  for general poker theory, you can’t  find much of it here (with  the  exception of single-table tournaments on demand, but  you can find the  info in books like Poker For Dummies (Wiley). If you aren’t familiar  with the nuances of poker itself, you should read and  study up on general theory first before you play with any hard currency online.

In any betting situation, the  basis to making  money is being  more informed than your  opponent. If you ignore reading up on poker theory, the  players who aren’t so cavalier will beat you in the long run.

If you’re  not  completely up on poker theory, don’t  let it stop you from getting started. You can always play for free chips.. In fact, you can also  play in free-roll tournaments, where you pay nothing and  still have  a chance to win hard currency.

Just like real money, but faster

Yes, the money you play for online is the real deal. That’s the good news, of course. The bad news is you can lose real money as well.

Because of the speed of computer play, a full Internet table goes through more than twice as many hands per hour than the brick-and-mortar equivalent. That means you can expect your money swings to be twice as big on the Net: If you play a winning strategy, you win twice as fast; if you play a losing strategy, you watch your money walk away at double the speed.

Dealing with the dough

In order to win money, you have  to throw in a few bucks yourself. Such is the  law of the  land  when  it comes to poker (except for those extra-special free-roll  tournaments). So before you can play for hard currency online, you have  to get money to your  poker site  — which can scare some people silly. We first want  to tell you: You have  safe outlets to get your  money online  . . . and  safe ways get it out  again.  The most common mechanism for money transfer is through electronic payment services that you connect directly to your  bank  account. You can write  an electronic check as well. You can look for more information about all things green.

If you don’t  want  to lose  a lot of cash while you learn, we recommend free-chip games and  free-roll  tournaments as tools to get you up to speed. But only play these forms of “poker” to get used to the  Internet and  to get familiar  with a particular game.  When you’re  comfortable playing  at these levels,  make sure you move  on.

If you play too long with no potential for loss,  you’re  bound to develop some bad  poker habits.