There are many reasons for playing poker on the internet.
Legal poker rooms are now all over America, but many people still live far from a poker room. Online poker is a nice solution for the people that do not have a chance to play poker on a regular basis in brick and mortar card rooms.
2. Even if there is a poker room in your vicinity, you do not have to commute.
Many players do live closer to a poker room but find that it usually takes a bit of a commute to get there. Even if you live fairly close to the casino, it may still take half an hour or more to get to the poker room, and even then, you may have to wait a bit before getting into a game. On the internet, there is no need to commute and the wait for a seat is typically much shorter than in a brick and mortar casino. Also, for those that are physically challenged and find it difficult to commute or go to a casino, playing poker online is an ideal solution. They will be able to play comfortably at home, whereas they may not be comfortable in a casino environment.
A few years ago, the state of California banned smoking in certain establishments. Casinos and poker rooms were affected by the new law and now there is no smoking in California poker rooms. Several other poker rooms across the country have also made this adjustment to non-smoking poker rooms, such as the Bellagio in Las Vegas and Foxwoods in Connecticut. This is all great for the player. However, even if the poker room itself is a non-smoking room, many of the non-Californian casinos still allow smoking in other parts of their casinos. The smoke can often creep around in the air and find their way to the poker room. Since players are sitting down for long periods of time, they may be susceptible to the harmful effects of second hand smoking. Even worse are the poker rooms that do allow smoking. For those who are worried about second hand smoke, playing poker online is a healthy alternative.
Many of the online poker rooms offer a lower rate per hand than brick and mortar casinos. They may still collect a higher rake per hour because typically they deal more hands per hour in an online poker room. This is a benefit to players as they get to keep a bigger portion of the pots that they win. The only situation where it may not be a benefit to players is in a situation like heads-up poker where the rake is usually negotiable between the players and the poker room management but would not be online.
Tipping is a somewhat controversial topic. In brick and mortar casinos, a major part of the dealers' income comes from tips. However tips do eat up on potential profits from the winning players, and it increases the losses for the losing players. Online poker requires no tipping, you cannot tip even if you wanted to. This means the winning players will make more money and the losing players can play longer, or at least play more hands.
Online poker rooms are 24 hours a day operations. If there are players, there are games. Once an online poker room reaches a certain critical mass, they will likely have games at all times of day at all limits. Not every site has this feature as they are not all that successful, but there are a few sites that have achieved this critical mass. This means players can play any time of day they feel like. This is great for many people, including morning people, people who work at night and can only play during the day and people who are nightowls that play in the wee hours of the morning
If you make the effort to go to the local poker room, you probably feel you should stay there for a while. Nobody likes to drive half an hour just to play a couple of minutes and then drive another half an hour to get home. This is different with online poker. You could play one round which may take as little as one minute, you could play for five minutes and decide to leave. This is a great option for all players, although it does make for a relatively high turnover of players at the online game compared to the brick and mortar game.
8. There are easier ways to analyze your own play online
Most of the online poker sites have an option where you can see your hand histories. This makes for analyzing your own play much easier than in a brick and mortar casino, where the only way to track your own play is to actually write every single hand down, this is simply not practical for most people, not to mention the tremendous effort it would take. Recently several people have developed software to help players analyze their game. It may be worthwhile to find out about these software programs to see if they can help you analyze your own game.
9. There are easy ways to analyze the play of other players
Many sites have a function where you can write notes on each player, and these notes are accessible the next time you are at the same table as those players. This is a nice feature that is unique to online poker. There are also software programs that allow for the analysis of other players' games. These software programs can only look at the hands that your opponents played when you were in the game with them and not every game that they have played, but this could still be useful.
When players are paying attention, more hands are usually dealt per hour online compared to brick and mortar games. There is no need to wait for the dealer to shuffle, take in the mucked cards, collect the chips, make change, take the rake or time, get a rack fill, call for empty seats, settle player disputes and all sorts of other issues. For the player who plays with a positive expectancy, more hands per hour means a higher expected profit.
It is difficult to find a shorthanded game in a brick and mortar casino and when it exists, it may not last for long. Often these games will break up as most players do not usually prefer to play short, or they fill up to a full table when other players come in. Many online poker rooms have specific tables specially designed for those that like to play short, they may have heads-up tables and/or tables where a maximum of six players can be seated. Shorthanded games mean even more hands per hour as fewer players have to make decisions. This could mean even greater profitability for the skilled shorthanded player compared to a full game.
12. Players can play at more than one table simultaneously
One of the great advantages of playing online is the ability to play more than one game at the same time. In a full game often there is some dead time as you watch the other players play out their hands. If you do not know the players, this is a useful time to gather information about how they play and use it in the future. However, if you are well versed in their abilities and styles, it can be boring just sitting at the table. In a brick and mortar casino, many people will take this time to chit chat with other players near them, get to know each other, discuss current events or eat a meal. For some players, their primary reason to play poker is for the social aspects, so they rather enjoy this time to talk with friends while playing the game, but online is a different story. Many players know each other online, and can hold interesting conversations, but it is different from a brick and mortar casino. Once you get done with all that stuff, sometimes it can get boring especially if you are dealt junk hand after junk hand and are constantly folding. This is why people like to play more than one table, to deal with the boredom. Instead of getting distracted by non-poker issues, they choose to play two or more games and keep all of their attention on poker. There are the obvious advantages, but also some not so obvious disadvantages. Playing multiple tables simultaneously is further discussed later in this chapter.
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