In online poker, you can easily see how big the pot is and how many bets the other players have left in their stack, whereas in a brick and mortar poker room, sometimes this is difficult to do. People often have both of their hands and arms on the table, as well as water bottles and all sorts of other foreign objects. The player may not be actively trying to hide their stack size, but it may just be circumstantial that you did not realize how many chips he actually had. This can sometimes affect how you play the hand. For example, if you knew your opponent had been losing and was down to just a couple of bets left, you may feel that he will play looser and more aggressive just to get all-in and get the pain over with. This happens fairly frequently and these situations are very easy to identify online but a bit more difficult to notice in the brick and mortar casinos. If you do not notice he is close to going all-in, you may miss the fact that he may be playing more aggressively than normal. Also a player could have a large denomination chip along with the other chips. So it may look like he is short stacked when in fact he is not.
Another situation where seeing the stack size is helpful is when you expect a player is going to go all-in and you want to use him by manipulating his bet for your own purposes. For example, you are first to act in a three player pot. You have a hand you think is strong, but is vulnerable to draws. You would be happy to have a player going all-in to your right. If you are first to act, you can check, hoping the second player also checks. When the short-stacked player bets and goes all-in, you can raise and make it more expensive for the second player to draw out. If the short-stacked player acts first and bets out while going all-in, you can now raise even if you are not sure if you have the all-in player beat, since the portion of your raise will be in the side pot. In an online poker room, you will have no problem seeing that the player has gone all-in, while in a brick and mortar casino, you may not realize it until after you have acted.
Seeing the pot size in exact dollar amounts is helpful in case you were not counting the pot size as this book recommends, but do not use it as a crutch if you also play in real casinos as well. This is because the counting of the pot as the bets go into it is extremely useful to your play in a full brick and mortar game. You can make better and faster decisions if you do not have to stop and take time to count the pot. While playing poker online you can allow the software to add up the pot size for you and make decisions from that information. However, if you are going to be playing poker both online and in a brick and mortar casino, your mind will get lazy and stop the good habit of counting the pot as each hand is played. So you may not find yourself at a disadvantage while playing poker online, but then see that you are at a disadvantage when playing in a real casino.
One benefit of seeing the pot size online is when you are playing multiple games simultaneously. It will be difficult to count the bets going into the pot when you have to concentrate on two different games, so having the ability to see the exact pot size at any time becomes very useful.
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