Online poker being run by fast servers and programs is probably the biggest difference with brick & mortar poker. In a live game, you probably can expect to receive 30-35 hands per hour. Online, you'll get dealt twice the hands. That's a big difference! There's no shuffling and gathering the cards. There's no lengthy split of the pot and no changing of dealers.
It also means that a winning player can make a lot more money per hour than in a live game. It also means that a loosing player will lose faster. But it's also more fun! Ever had those long nights where you can't seem to catch a hand? Well, online, these nights go by quicker, since you get dealt more hands in the same amount of time.
Swings are a part of the game, some nights you win, some you lose. If you are mathematically inclined, maybe you calculated your Standard Deviation for live play. Well, fasten your seat belt because swings from online play are incredibly bigger. It's quite normal, since you are playing more hands. It also means that your needed bankroll should be a lot bigger and that you can expect to lose a lot more in a single session in an online game than in a live one.
low rake - no tokes
Online cardroom usually will have lower rakes than your live cardroom. Also, there's no dealer to tip which means also that your hourly wage should go up.
playing 2 tables
A great advantage to online poker is you can play more than one table at once. This is simply great. Before you start playing 2 tables, you need to consider the pros and cons.
On the good side, you will be getting twice the hands. This means that if you are a winning player, you will earn more. You can almost double your profits. Say you make $20/hour playing one table. Playing a second table will probably make you win more. You likely will not be making twice the hourly wage since you can't be as efficient as when you are sitting at only one table. But you can probably make more. What you probably need to do is to play more straightforward and not vary too much your game plan. You're going to be paying less attention to your opponents so simply play solid poker. Some players are making over 4 big bets per hour playing 2 tables. It can be done.
If you plan on playing 2 tables there a couple of tips you should know. The first and more important is to split your tables on your monitor. This will avoid you hitting raise on a table and having the second table popping up and raising with 72o. Here's how you do it:
This way, the action buttons will not overlap and you won't end up folding aces on your second table.
However, realize that this is not for everyone. Some players have a hard time handling the speed of the games and having to deal with quick decisions. It can be pretty hard to decide in a second what actions to take when your have a great hand on both tables. But for many players it is worth it. And you'll get better at it the more you play.
human memory and shuffling
There has been A LOT of discussions on possible rigged poker sites. Many players believe that some online cardroom manipulate the cards to ensure more action, thus maximizing their rake. I will tell you this: I think it's all crap.
Now I don't know for sure, I'm not associated with any online pokerroom. But when you think about it, even if the dealing was rigged, then it would also be rigged for everyone, and it would all even out for us in the long run.
Humans are easily biased. It's far easier to remember when so and so hit his 2 outer to beat you than when you did it yourself. Incredible beats happen every day in brick and mortar games, but you don't hear about them because many live players don't play online and aren't as familiar with the Internet. And it's a lot easier to go rant on a discussion forum seconds after you took the beat, than when you come home from the casino and have to power up your computer. I've seen top set get beaten by an underpair hitting perfect perfect to make quads in a big live tournament yet you probably didn't hear about it. It happens all the time. But it's normal that it happens more often in online games; they are dealing twice the hands!
And, if you play 2 tables at once, you can lose pretty fast. The majority of poker players do not note their results. It's quite possible that a player has been loosing for 20 years in live games yet he thinks he's a winning poker player. In fact, this is probably true of a good portion of poker players. Then, he plays online, where the swings are huge since you are playing 4 times faster than in a live game (playing 2 tables), and he loses his shirt in a week. Let me tell you, it's probably not the site, it's probably the player.
And from a business point, rigging the shuffling would be suicidal. I mean, they make a lot of money simply taking their rake as is; I can't see why they would risk being discovered for the a little more profit. Employees change jobs and sooner of later, this kind of stuff usually comes out. Some sites were dishonest in the past and they are no longer with us.
Players who whine on the discussion forums are probably inexperienced and not as knowledgeable as they should. It's easy to get side tracked and think you got screwed when you probably should take a closer look at yourself.
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