*This article was written for CAVE by Jeremy Beal and is brought to you by lockpoker.eu*
There’s huge money to be made placing smart bets on the internet’s poker tables, but the guys at the top of the heap, the guys whose handles strike fear into their opponents hearts and wallets, didn’t get there by accident.
The myth that the only way to cut your teeth at Texas Hold ‘em was in the casinos got shot out of a cannon that went by the name of Chris Moneymaker. In 2003 the most aptly named man in the universe blew the doors off the WSP by winning the whole shooting match after qualifying online, and the barbarian hordes were soon to follow. In 2012 that genie is thoroughly out of the bottle, and the net result is that at any given moment, day or night, a savvy poker player has a chance to make some serious bank anywhere in the world while wearing his or her Star Wars pajamas. There’s boatloads of money, ungodly prizes and lifestyles that put Tim Ferris to shame all there for the taking, and it’s the guys and gals who’ve locked down the ins and outs of online poker that are playing with money the average worker bee can only dream about.
Of course, for every big winner there’s a table full of players who are in it for the fun, and who enjoy the ups and downs of luck. If you want to make sure you’re in the former category consistently, there’s a few steps you don’t want to skip. You don’t have to take these points to heart to play and have a good time, but the journey from casual gambler to the sort of card player that makes the other people at the table swallow hard is going to touch all these bases.
Do The Math
Put simply, the success of your online poker career is going to hinge first, last and always on being able to figure out your probabilities as quickly as possible. You have to stay sharp, pay attention, and study. You have to know how likely it is your opponent is holding that third ace because when you do, you can sniff out a bluff faster than a bloodhound can find a baloney sandwich. This takes more than practice, you have to study like it was your SAT’s, only instead of getting into a shitty college, failure means you lose your money. So crack the books and take what you’re reading to heart!
Know Your Enemy
The poker you watch on TV, or the game you play with the fellas, always circles around paying attention to the guys around you. How they’re talking, how they’re moving, their heart rate, everything. You might not be able to see the whites of their eyes over the internet, but the great online players are paying attention to all the little details, and there’s plenty to watch if you know where to look. So know how the people at your table have been playing, pay attention to how long they’re taking to bet, how much they’re throwing around on hands, and when they’re folding, and you’ll be well on your way to picking up their digital tells and stealing pots you wouldn’t otherwise.
Expand Your Horizons
Everybody knows the marquis event of any poker tournament is Texas Hold ‘em, but all the greats spend their time playing plenty of other games as well, refining their technique and their understanding by getting a look at poker from different perspectives. I promise you, there’s lessons to be learned from dramatically different versions of poker that translate to advantages at the Hold ‘Em table, and in the process you might just find a more obscure game you’ve got a knack for! Websites like lockpoker.eu offer a great variety of games to try out, games like Omaha and others that put a twist on the rules you might be used to. Trying out different games is the perfect way to train yourself to think on your feat (or in your computer chair as the case may be) and increase your overall poker understanding and vocabulary.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It can’t be stated enough, the best players are not born, they are forged by muscle memory, bleary eyes and caffeine. It’s the same as anything else in life, playing is always fun, but winning the bracelet is going to take you patience, hard work, and attention to detail.
The recipe for online dominance is a simple one, get playing, learn wherever you can, and always remember to keep it fun! You’re only a few million clicks and a shelf of books away from a life of riches, so get started!