With everything that’s happened in 2020, many live poker players have found themselves in a rather uncomfortable situation. Live casinos and poker rooms all over the world have shut down and even the ones still operating aren’t anywhere near their full capacity.
The only real answer for those relying on poker to make money and cover some or all of their living expenses is transitioning to online games.
While this may seem like a scary proposition for those used to the live setting, it’s not too big of a deal. Sure, you won’t perform your favorite poker chip tricks when grinding on the virtual felt, but it’s still the same game.
This article offers you a few useful tips for adjusting to online poker games. These tips should help with the transition period and provide you with everything you need to for a good start.
1. Keep in mind that online games are tougher
If you’re primarily a live poker player, you might be surprised by the quality of play on the internet. For example, an average table of online NL25 will be much tougher than your standard NL200 game in a live casino.
There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is the spread of stakes. While NL200 (or an equivalent) is often the lowest stakes you’ll find in a brick and mortar poker room, online poker sites often feature games as low as NL2 ($0.01/$0.02 blinds).
It’s important to recognize and accept this fact before you start. To begin with, jump into some games that are a few levels lower than your usual live stakes. Try playing a few sessions, track your results, and see how it feels. If you feel like you’re struggling at NL50, there is no point in moving up to NL100. Things will only get harder as you move up.
2. Make sure your fundamentals are solid
You can often get away with murder in live games, especially at lower stakes. The competition is frequently so bad that with good game selection you can rake in a very nice profit without even trying too hard. This is one of the things that make live poker so wonderful.
Online games aren’t nearly as forgiving though, and you should not expect to be printing money right off the bat.
One of the biggest adjustments you’ll need to make when transitioning to online poker games is going back to the fundamentals and making sure you know your basics. Having a nice poker cheat sheet handy during the transition period is probably a good idea.
You can’t afford to make significant errors in your preflop hand selection or give up your chips in spots where you aren’t getting the right odds. Since the average online player is quite solid, these mistakes will add up before you know it, and they’ll often leave a big dent in your bankroll.
It’s natural to think that you already know all this basic stuff and don’t need to go over it again. Even if that were true, some repetition certainly couldn’t hurt your play. Plus, there are probably some things that have slipped your mind over time, and making the transition to online poker play offers the perfect opportunity to refresh your memory. On top of that, you ought to devote some time to constantly improving your skills — check out some of the best poker training sites — and you will quickly progress through the ranks.
3. Take the Time to Find Profitable Games
Unlike live rooms, where you’ll usually have no more than a few tables running at the same time, online poker sites frequently have dozens of games running simultaneously. On top of that, there are plenty of sites to choose from as well. That makes good game selection not only possible, but of critical importance.
Ideally, you want to play in the games with bad players and steer clear of the tables populated by solid regulars.
There is no magic formula for this (in live games, you can tell pretty easily who’s experienced and who’s new… online is far trickier), but you can get a sense of things if you take a couple of minutes to observe the action before sitting down to play. A solid player will quickly figure out if a game is good or not. If it seems like everyone’s playing solid poker and not making any big mistakes, you should start looking for a different table.
While the level of play on the internet is solid, there are still quite a few bad players hanging around. You want to be on the lookout for those players and trying to sit at their tables. Why would you waste your time and money battling good players with so many options available to you? Focus on the “fish” instead, as this is where the bulk of your profit will come from.