Poker Basics

   The Mathematics of Poker

   Poker Strategies

   Poker Game Cases

   Poker Vocabulary

   Online Poker




Choosing a game

Make use of all that lobby list information to find the best games you can! If you like to play shorthanded, for example, it's not only easier online to find three or four-handed start-up games, but to jump in and out of them faster than a Mexican jumping bean, happily navigating from games screen to games screen while (hopefully) racking up profits.

Unlike in brick and mortar casinos, you'll never annoy the staff if you hopscotch between tables and games. Online, away from all those pedestrian physical reality matters requiring salaried casino staff - like dealer rotation, seating of new players, and breaking down inactive games - nobody cares whether you play one hand per session or ten thousand nor does anyone care if you change tables a dozen or more times per hour.

For all the other players know, you may have just left for work, had something urgent come up at home or in the office, lost your Internet connection, or just dropped dead. To them, you're just an anonymous blip with a screen name.

But Internet anonymity is a double-edged sword. Online, you can't stereotype opponents by age, dress, gender, games familiarity, or apparent experience with chip riffling or other manual poker skills. Therefore, take advantage of all info given on the lobby or games screen player list (such as city or country of residence) to surmise whatever you can. Just remember to take such possibly deceptive nuggets with a grain of salt and stand ready to revise your conclusions later.

In some cases knowing as little as a player's place of residence may be valuable. It's a known fact, for example, that Europeans are far more accustomed to pot-limit play than Americans, so unless you're highly skilled at this betting structure, you'll want to avoid a pot-limit games comprised mostly of players from the other side of the pond.

Another thing you should look for is folks playing in more than one games at a time. Even if they play well, they may be more easily distracted or bluffed. On the downside. they may play more slowly: games with several multitasking players are likely to be slower than others. But if you stick to one games and remain attentive, you have an advantage over anyone whose attention is split - just one more factor to consider when choosing a game.
Last but not least, you'll be able to see if players are waiting for the games. If so, double-clicking on the table name brings up a pop-up screen on which you can join the waiting list m. A lengthy waiting list may indicate an especially good games with many "live ones" - newbies; folks on tilt; maniacs gambling it up; tired, intoxicated or undisciplined players; or players who just play poorly.

If there are many more players on the waiting list for one table than for others of the same games and limits, you're on the right track. Join the list immediately and then observe the games - you can always play in another games while waiting. After you've verified your assumption that the games is relatively easy to beat, you can remain on the list until you're called to the table. On the other hand, if you don't like the looks of the games after observing for a while, you can just remove your name from the waiting list.
While observing, take notes! Jot down - using either the site's note-taking feature, if offered, or your own noteSite - of any poor or unusual play you observe. Determine likely "calling stations," check-raisers, outrageous bluffers, and tight players. Also list the screen name and table stake of each player. Note: Even if a site's software provides for note taking - allowing you to store typed notes for that session and even save them to your hard drive - the note-taking function may not work until you're actually seated at the table. If so, use a noteSite and transfer your pre-games observations to the games screen apparatus later.

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