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Keeping Pace With The Action

Internet poker action may seem fast and furious compared to in-the flesh games. Additionally, you may feel a bit disoriented. If you're brand new to online play, the visual aspects are somewhat jarring: Cards appear briskly out of nowhere from a disembodied dealer, only to whisk off into cyberspace when players fold. This combination of faster action and visual shorthand can be disorienting until you're used to it.

With action whirring around the table - or, alternatively, when it stops abruptly for half a minute or more if an opponent "times out" without acting - it's easy for a newbie to become flustered and mutter, "What's going on here? Where's the action? Is it on me?"

Just remember: The games software will prompt you when it's time for you to act. In general, two simultaneous events - one visual and one audio - signal when it's your turn to act:

1. Obtrusive buttons for all permitted actions ("FOLD, "CHECK. "BET, and "RAISE") appear insistently on your screen the moment action reaches you.

2. These action buttons are accompanied by a pronounced "beep- or tone-like sound.

Try closing your eyes to listen for the audio prompt before action reaches you - it's a distinctive sound like no other you'll hear in the games. If you ignore it, a second, more insistent sound will follow a number of seconds later, and it's likely to be repetitive, louder, or more strident if you still fail to act.
When you're distracted from following the action visually, the audio prompts are your best friend. You'd hate to have a pair of aces folded because you're following the sports scores on TV, emptying the litter box, or grabbing dinner out of the microwave. So if you're multi-tasking, turn up your sound!

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