Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some Facts about Online Poker

Online poker is all the rage right now for people who for one reason or another prefer to play poker over the internet. It is as fun and riveting as offline poker games but it is far more convenient. Read on to find more about online poker.

Online Poker versus Offline Poker

Online poker is conceptually similar to offline poker. You play with other people and the same basic offline poker rules apply. However, your interaction with your poker buddies is done through an online casino of which you are a registered member, and you use virtual cards and chips and you play in virtual poker tables. Before you can begin playing you also need to download and install the special gaming software provided by your online casino.

Online Casinos

Online casinos are the internet counterpart of your brick and mortar casinos. Online casinos facilitate and initiate online poker games by providing and distributing online poker software so that networked poker games can commence among players from all over the world. Not all online casinos offering online poker games and tournaments are legitimate, however. Some would just take your deposit, let you play, and then prevent you from withdrawing your winnings. Some online casinos are operated by crooks who simply wish to obtain your credit card information for fraudulent activities.

If you are thinking about joining one, be sure to check that casino’s web site. Give special consideration to its terms and conditions, the number of years it’s been operating, and the number of members it has. Check the website for security seals and see if it’s a member of any online gaming and online poker associations. However, do not take the casino’s word for it; search the internet for confirmation of the casino’s alleged affiliations and security features. Furthermore, initiate a search engine query about your target casino to find customer reviews about it.

Online Poker Legal Aspects

Online poker, as with many online wagering games, falls within the gray area yet to be defined and addressed by the law-giving bodies. Of course, each state has something to say about gambling per se which may be stretched to involve online gambling as well. The federal government also has the so-called Wire Act statute which may or may not classify online poker illegal; it is so vague that it is subject to contradicting interpretations.

Before you begin playing online poker, be sure to research your local state laws on gambling. You should also remain informed about any legislation that may impact your online gambling activities.

Winning at Online Poker

When you win at online poker, you generally have a choice between letting the money remain in your account for future games and withdrawing it for use elsewhere. Some people who are new to the world of online gambling have difficulty imagining how their payouts are disbursed. You can withdraw your winnings through various ways, depending on your online casino. The most common means are PayPal, wire transfer, direct deposit to your bank, etc. Check out your online casino’s payout disbursement methods and the service fees it charges for withdrawal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tips for taking on the big player on poker

Ideally you want to play in games where you're clearly the best player at the table. In No Limit Hold'em tournaments, however, you don't have the luxury of choosing which table you'll be playing at.

Unless you truly believe that you're the absolute best poker player on the planet (you're not), here are some adjustments to make when playing against superior opponents.

Make larger pre-flop raises

As a rule, I'm a big advocate of making small raises before the flop rather than oversized ones. That being said, when you're facing tough players, you should be seeing fewer flops and be willing to risk a few more chips in order to steal the blinds. This is especially true when facing a tough player in the big blind.

Tough players are notorious blind defenders who play well after the flop. So, avoid marginal situations against them by making slightly larger pre-flop raises in an attempt to get them to fold.

For example, if your standard raise is about three times the big blind, increase it to four times when a strong player is in the big blind. With a hand like 8-8 or A-Q, you'd be better off picking up the blinds with no resistance rather than playing a flop against this tough opponent.

Avoid marginal situations

If a tough player raises from early position, don't call him with marginal hands like K-J or Q-10. Those hands aren't very good in any situation, but they're especially vulnerable against a great player who isn't going to make many mistakes after the flop.

Target weaker players

Look to play more hands against the less-skilled players at your table.

If that means stretching your starting hand requirements against them, then that's what you need to do. In fact, you'd be much better off playing a hand like 5c-3c against a weaker player than you would be by playing a hand like A-10 against a top player.

Against the weak player, you'll be able to outplay him after the flop by bluffing or by getting him to pay you off when you have him crushed. That's not the case when you're up against a player that might be better than you. Here, you run the all-too-likely risk of being outplayed yourself.

Don't get too cute

One of the biggest mistakes players make when they're outclassed is that they add too much trickery to their game in the hope of outplaying a better opponent.

Give it up.

Your focus should be on playing fundamentally sound poker. If you do, it will be difficult for a better player to exploit you. When you get too creative in an attempt to fool him, he'll usually see right through the play and turn the tables on you.

Play cautiously

Don't play big tournament pots against the best player at your table unless you have a monster hand.

Sure, you eventually must beat all of the players in order to get the first place trophy, but it's a better policy to worry about them later rather than sooner. You can even hope that the best player takes a bad beat from one of the weaker opponents. Those are chips you can more easily pick up.

Even if you have a very strong hand on the river -- one that you're fairly sure has your opponent beat -- take the safe route and call him rather than raise.

There is less value in raising a great player on the river because it could cost you all of your chips if he does have you beat. Besides, when you do have the better hand, a great player won't call your raise anyway.

Here's the bottom line: Don't play scared poker, but when you spot a strong opponent, choose your battles wisely.