Online poker is one of the most popular casino games played. In fact, online poker is the reason why there are so many poker players worldwide. According to some reports, revenue from online poker grew from $85 million in 2001 to $2.5 billion in 2005! The staggering figure should give you some indication of the popularity of poker tournaments online.
Online poker rooms may seem intimidating to new players. But it is one of the best ways in which players can get wide exposure in the game. Brick and mortar casinos are often reluctant to promote poker because they get very little profit from the game. Online poker rooms are more profitable because they have low overhead and operational costs. That is why online poker tournaments allow players to bet on low stakes and even offer freeroll tournaments where there are no entry fees.
So, a lot of people are playing poker online. This means you have to be really good to win a game of poker. Unlike other casino games, in poker, you cannot cash out your chips in the middle of the game. You have to continue until you lose or win all chips.
In poker tournaments, the ground rule is to know your opponent. Evaluating your opponent quickly and accurately is vital to your game. But, playing the game online makes it very difficult for you to evaluate the person sitting opposite. To add to the thrill of the game, most players visit different tables and encounter different opponents. In most cases, you are sitting with an opponent you have never met before. So how do you get inside their head?
The only way to size up your opponent in online poker tournament is through observation of betting patterns. Of course, the chat window is an option, but most players do not reveal much here. Even so, look out for novice players who rant about the poor play of others. These players are likely to lay down draws. You can make out experienced players by following their conversation. If a bunch of players are inquiring about the week (‘Have you had a good week’ or ‘Did you win XYZ tournament?’), mark them as the experienced hands at the table. Also, take a look at the size of the stacks. For reasons unknown, experienced players have sizeable stacks.
Look for players who are playing at several tables. This needs quite a bit of concentration and such players will not accept marginal hands. ‘Walk’ the lobby and pick out players who are engaged at several tables. Novice players are vulnerable to bluffs but higher level players will turn the tables by bluffing you. You can judge a player’s aggressiveness by noting the number of times they are betting. A very aggressive player is not for novices.
Never play a game of poker without having a rough idea about your opponents. This may seem redundant when you start playing. But as your experience grows, you will understand that this knowledge is an invaluable tool.