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In order to get you prepared and prepped, this short chapter introduces you to some of the online language that you will find commonly used as you play Internet poker. You can witness the comments made by other players through the chat box windows. Cyberspace poker has a language of its own and most of it is in a very abbreviated form. It is quite a unique language that has evolved from the need for speed and the ability to transmit comments and observations from one player to another without the necessity of spending a great deal of time at the computer keyboard. Although voice-recognition technology is already available, it is not yet available or applicable to Internet poker rooms. Therefore, in order to chat through the chat box windows, players have to use the computer keyboard to type their messages. Sometimes this can be very distracting and it can also be a problem, especially if you are one of those who are digitally challenged and whose fingers may be able to do the walking, but typing is a considerably more difficult proposition. In order to overcome this, cyberspace poker players have developed a language all their own, and one that consists of several symbols used on the keyboard that, when read, communicate a person's message quite clearly, although you first have to know what it means. Such cyberlanguage is composed of many hundreds of characters, but only very few of them are actually useful to this discussion in this book. As you play Internet poker, you will become exposed to many more such expressions, since newer ones are being created on almost a daily basis.
Following is a list of the most commonly occurring expressions in cyberlanguage, as they apply to Internet poker.
Symbol What It Means
nh Nice hand
n1 Nice one
gg Good game
gh Good hand
gl Good luck
ty Thank you
tu Thank you
yw You're welcome
ur You are
nf Nice fold
np Nice play
np No problem
u2 You too, meaning You also or You as well
gf Good fold
ck Sick, meaning something really bad
zzzzzz means someone is falling asleep and acting very slow
LOL Laugh out loud—when something is funny
LMAO Laugh my ass off—when something is very, very funny
ROFL Rolling on floor, laughing—when it is really funny!
This list provides you with the basics of cyberspeak and allows you to communicate with your fellow Internet poker players in a manner acceptable and immediately identifiable by them, especially those who are more familiar with playing in cyberspace. It will also immediately demonstrate to every player that you have familiarity with the Internet, and particularly in playing Internet poker. Therefore, even if you are very new to Internet poker and are only now starting to play, by putting in a few comments like this soon after you sit at the game, you will be able to showcase your expertise in Internet poker simply by knowing this language. This can help mask your newness and help you gain faster acceptability by the cyberspace poker-playing community. You can thereafter forgo the option to chat with your other fellow players and take more advantage of the recommendations and suggestions about the preservation of your anonymity which I will describe later in this book.
It is now time to jump headlong into the discussion of Internet poker by beginning with the most popular Internet poker game of all—Texas Hold'Em.CHAPTER 2
If you have read my earlier book Powerful Profits from Poker, you already know the depths of discussion to which I have taken the game of Texas Hold'Em in that book. Although that book was written primarily for playing the game in real-world casino poker rooms and card rooms, nevertheless many of those playing principles and items of knowledge leading to skill, as well as the principle of transference of knowledge into skill and experience, also apply to cyberspace poker. If you have not yet read Powerful Profits from Poker, I encourage you to do so because this chapter is a continuation of the discussion begun in that book, as it applies to Internet poker. I am not going to duplicate the many great details that I have presented in that book, but instead I supplement those discussions with additional commentary, observations, and recommendations as they apply to play of Texas Hold'Em specifically for the Internet.
INTERNET TEXAS HOLD'EM
The first thing you will notice about Internet Texas Hold'Em is that there is a huge variety of games and limits from which to choose. Internet poker rooms offer something that land-based casinos cannot, and that is a choice of games that cannot only be played for free money—which is basically virtual play money supplied by the Internet poker room for you to play with for free, and which can be refilled on a twenty-four-hour basis each time you lose it up to the usual amount of about 1,000 play money dollars—but also games that can be played for real money from as low as one-cent to two-cent limits. Even if you are an absolute novice in the game, and you do not wish to practice with free money, but instead wish to enter the world of real-money play and gain the experience and thrills while doing so without it costing you an arm and a leg, you can easily enter a multitude of such games at these extremely low limits. Although not all Internet poker sites offer games in these penny ante limits, just about every Internet poker site available, including those that I feature in this book, offer games from at least $.25 to $.50 limits or, more commonly, limits from $.50 to $1 and up. At these small limits anyone can experience the thrill of playing this great poker game for real money, while at the same time investing very little in gaining such education. Prior to the availability of the Internet, poker experience such as this usually took many years to acquire, and almost always at great expense. If you have watched any of the television broadcasts of the WPT and WSOP championship games, you probably have noticed that they all play the game of Texas Hold'Em in such major tournaments, and you probably have taken notice of the many interviews conducted with the grand and great old road gamblers. People like Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim, to name just two among the surviving great road gamblers, often take time to talk during those interviews about how long it took them to acquire the great level of expertise they now possess. They often mention the fact that during the age of the Internet, a great many of the new poker players are able to play more hands in one month than they could in a year and as a result can gain years' worth of experience in playing no-limit Texas Hold'Em. In fact, Doyle Brunson at the recent World Series of Poker commented on just such a thing as a great crop of Internet poker players descended upon the World Series and made such a huge impact on this time-honored championship. His were truly prophetic and insightful words whose meaning should not be lost on you, either while reading this book or thereafter. What you are about to learn concerning Internet Texas Hold'Em, as well as all the other Internet poker games that will be mentioned—and in general acquire Internet poker-playing expertise—was impossible for those great traditional players of this game in years past. As you enter the world of Internet poker, and specifically Internet Texas Hold'Em, you will be able to learn in just one year what would have taken you several years on the road in the olden days, and do so for the price of nickels and dimes, and perhaps merely dollars, instead of hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in those days past. You will gain familiarity with how the game is played, and you will gain familiarity with how to play for real money under a variety of situations and circumstances, including a great range of opponents in limit cash games, and also a multitude of tournaments.
To accomplish this and provide you with a lasting benefit that spans not only the Internet, but also extends to the real-world poker rooms and card rooms, and the real world's tournaments, you first have to realize that the world of cyberspace poker is completely different from the world of poker in real-world casinos. There are substantial differences, many of which I will discuss later on in this book, and particularly in the chapters on strategy. However, the first thing you should notice is that Texas Hold'Em played on the Internet is not only considerably faster than in the real world, but also vastly more volatile. It is faster because in cyberspace everything is dealt by the program and not by a human dealer, and also because you are facing your opponents and your game only in cyberspace and not in real world and, therefore, there are no distractions, no mistakes in chip handling, no errors in shortchanging the pot by putting in the wrong amount of the call or raise, no discussions among players other than in the chat box—which does not detract from the speed or efficiency of the game—and generally none of the procedural problems that often distract from the speed and efficiency of dealing the game in the real world. You will face hands at about the rate of double that of the real-world Texas Hold'Em games, which means that you will face twice the cost, twice the blinds, and twice as many decisions. Volatility will increase commensurately not only with all these factors but also with the multitude of and variety of opponents you will be facing. Circumstances like this, particular only to Internet poker, will provide you not only with the opportunity to experience profitability at an equally higher rate commensurate to real-world poker rooms, but also the danger of losing your bankroll twice as fast. In addition, you may experience attrition of your bankroll twice as fast due to increased frequency of blinds, antes, as well as pots lost to inexperienced players who got lucky on you. In fact, one of the most important aspects of your experience on the Internet (as I will mention in my chapters on strategy) will be your ability to discipline yourself and overcome adversity. There is nothing worse than learning how to play well, setting up a situation where you have the best of everything, and have your players trapped in a pot that is huge, only to lose this on the very last card when you discover that one of your opponents stayed in with all that expense of betting and wagering with absolutely no hand whatsoever, and then pulled out a one-card miracle that made him a hand that defeats you.
This is something that you will experience over and over again on the Internet, particularly in the low-limit games. You will also experience this in the lower buy-in tournaments because these games are largely populated by players who are new to the game and are experiencing how to play it—and often play horrendously and with really bad cards that have absolutely no hope, or very little hope. Under such circumstances, some of these players will get lucky on you and defeat the very good hands with which you play. And because the Internet poker rooms are populated with a majority of such players, you often face not just one such volatile opponent, but several. It is not unusual in these small-limit games to find yourself in a situation of having to face five opponents on the very last card, all of whom you know to have substandard holdings up to that point, as well as drawing nearly dead, or entirely dead. What you always have to fear in these lower- limit games are not those players who are drawing absolutely dead, but those who still have at least a glimmer of hope. In higher-limit games, and particularly in real-world poker games, you often have to face only one such volatile opponent, someone who obviously knows little or nothing about the game. But in the world of cyberspace—and in particular in these lower-limit games and small buy-in tournaments—you will often face at least two, perhaps three, of the five opponents that stay with you down to the river no matter what they have and no matter how much it costs. Under such conditions, you have to defeat the one least knowledgeable opponent and all the others, most of whom will also fall into this category. This means that while in real-world poker rooms, or at least in the higher-limit games, you usually would have to worry about only one opponent and therefore have the possibility of only 1:1 against you in such circumstances, now you may face an average of five opponents who are chasing you down, and therefore your odds are now 5:1 against you no matter what hand you have and no matter what its winning percentage may be inherent in the mathematics of the game. What is often missed in all of the analysis of various Internet poker games is the volatility formula of inexperienced and unknowledgeable opponents willing to invest any amount of money to see the very last card even when their hope is only a one card out, whose odds of appearance may be thousands to one against. Now multiply that by the fact that you may face an average of five such players, and you quickly discover than in Internet poker the tried-and-true principles of how to play your hands may not always be so when facing such a multitude of opponents who simply don't care about the money or anything else and will pay any price to see if they get lucky. Now you have to face five players trying to get lucky as opposed to one, which would normally be the case.
You also have to recognize and understand that you are now facing the possibility in any one hand of having at least five random hands playing against you, and this will make it very difficult for you to put other players on a hand. Since you are also unable to see the opponents themselves, and therefore picking up on any potential tells will also be very difficult (as I will discuss further later on in the chapters on strategy) your difficulties are now compounded by this volatility and the very nature of Internet poker that preserves anonymity among combatants. All of this discussion so far has led up to one simple piece of advice, and something that you absolutely must learn before you begin playing Internet Texas Hold'Em, or any Internet poker game, and advice that will be invaluable to you no matter how long you play and at no matter what limits you play. And that is this: don't get rattled—remember your discipline.
Where most Internet poker players fail the most often is precisely in this one area, and that is the loss of self-discipline. When facing situations of protracted losses as well as horrendous beats, they become rattled, lose confidence, start playing loose, and lose more money, which then leads them to get more agitated and lose even more confidence, and all of this leads to their loss of self-discipline. Acquiring such discipline, and then being able to maintain it as you continue to play Internet poker, and particularly Internet Texas Hold'Em, will be the hardest thing you ever have to learn to do. Very few poker players ever have it to an extent where they can consistently maintain their focus and concentration to a point of continued profitability. There are examples of such players who have made their way into the WPT tournaments, in particular WPT champion Eric Lindgren who is known by his Internet moniker "E-Dog." There are, of course, many others, including players who play exclusively on the Internet and do extremely well. You do not have to be a world champion, or be on television, or be famous at all in order to be a successful and profitable poker player. If you enjoy playing Texas Hold'Em, and you enjoy playing in cyberspace, you can easily enjoy yourself in a multitude of levels of profitability without ever having to publicize this or extend your success any further than where you wish to be. Many play purely for the enjoyment, while others play for supplementary income, and some even reach the rarefied atmosphere of professional poker players and play for a living. It really doesn't matter at which level you wish to play. Even if your interest is only to play for the entertainment aspect, recognizing that you are sitting in the comfort of your own home and are able to interact with players from all over the world, then this is perfectly fine for you. I hope that your interest is also to play a very good game, and to make money at it, no matter at which level you have selected to play.
Excerpted from Powerful Profits from INTERNET POKER by Victor H. Royer. Copyright © 2014 Victor H. Royer. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Posted November 11, 2010
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