Texas Hold’em Poker – Post Flop

The game only continues to the flop when all players have either folded, or matched the highest bet on the table. If no one calls and the Small Blind folds, the Big Blind wins the chips without needing to show his hand. The betting might end up with everyone betting two chips, or it may mean that one player has bet ten chips and just one other has called that bet and placed ten chips on the table.

Let’s imagine that two players have done that. The chips, which up until now, have been pushed forward by the players in front of them in little piles, get placed – or tossed – into one big pile in the middle of the table. This is the pot – the prize for which all the players remaining in the hand are now competing.

(It is important not to throw – or splash – your chips into the middle when you first bet since that will make it difficult for everyone to check that you have bet what you say you have. That is why you push your chips tidily forward in front of you first and then, once that round of betting is complete, everyone then puts their chips into the pot.)

Player A holds K(D), K(H)
Player B holds A(D), Q(D)

Both are strong hands, but Player A is winning so far since he holds a Pair and Player B holds only a High Card.

The dealer burns the top card off the deck (that is to say, he discards the top card face down) and then deals the next three cards in a row into the middle of the table, face-up – this is the flop.

A(S), 8(D), 5(C)

Player A will be sorry to see that ace on the board (the community cards that are face up on the table) since his Pair of kings may now be beaten if Player B holds an ace in his hand. As you can see, that is the case. Player B now does hold a Pair of aces and he is beating Player A.

Being to the left of the dealer means that Player A must bet first and he decides to make a bet to see if Player B stays in the hand. In this way, he is testing to see if Player B has been pleased by the appearance of the ace on the table. Player A bets ten chips. Player B now suspects that he has the best hand and he now has a choice of actions. He could simply call the bet (placing ten chips on the table), giving the impression that he wants to stay in the hand but that he is not sure who has the best cards or he could raise the bet, say to 20 chips, to state clearly that he believes that he has the best hand.

Let’s say that he takes the former option and just calls the bet. Each player moves his ten chips into the middle, adding to the pot. The dealer burns the next card and then turns over the following one. The board now shows:

J(S)  A(S), 8(D), 5(C)

Player A is still not sure that he holds the best hand so perhaps this time, he checks (indicating that, at the moment, he doesn’t want to make a bet). Player B may decide that, with two spades on the board, there is a slight chance that Player A might have two spades in his hand and be on the verge of making a Flush, so he decides to Bet.

is when you are the first player after the flop, turn or river, to make a bet.

Let’s say he bets 20 chips. Hand A is now feeling a bit depressed. His two kings were almost certainly the best hand until the ace appeared on the flop but now Player B’s confident betting is strongly suggesting that he holds an ace and has the best hand with a Pair of aces.

If Player A continues in this hand, unless another king appears (giving him 3 of a Kind kings – sometimes called Trips, so here Trip kings) he will lose. Since there are only two kings left in the deck (or held by Player B) out of 46 possible cards (the pack of 52 cards minus Player B’s hole cards and minus the four cards on the board), this is very unlikely.
(Here are some statistics – there is only a 1/23 or 4.3% chance of a third king appearing.)

Therefore, if Player A can work out that Player B really does have a Pair of aces, he should give up on the hand now and fold. He started with the best hand, but the community cards gave his opponent a better hand. Assuming that Player A is good enough to fold such a nice hand as KK, he will throw his cards away and concede. Player B will gather up the pot without having to show his cards (and, almost always, he should not show his cards as the best strategy is to keep your opponents guessing at all times).

Beginners often whine at the end of the hand and ask you to tell them what you actually held. Do not tell them. That is the game of poker: if you want to know what your opponents held, you have to pay to see the cards!

So, the hand doesn’t always proceed as far as the river. More often than not, one player makes a bet that is so big, so convincing, that all the other players feel that it is not worthwhile to continue in the hand, and they fold. Of course, in the previous example, Player B really did have the best hand and would probably have still had the best hand even after all five commumty cards had been dealt.

But, what if he had held almost nothing? He could have bet in the same way, Player A might have reacted in the same way, and Player B might have taken the pot without having any kind of decent hand. That is the beauty of poker. You do not have to have the best hand to win (unless there is a showdown, when you do). If you can convince your opponents that you have the best hand, then they may all fold, and you may win the pot without ever having to show your cards. That can be an amazing feeling.

Incidentally, should the deal have proceeded further, the dealer would, again, have burnt the top card and dealt the final community card – the river – face up onto the table. The dealer’s job is now done and he can relax and watch the hand played to its conclusion.

Forms of Texas Hold’em Poker

There are three main forms of poker game:

1. Home Games
As the name suggests, played at home, usually amongst friends, acquaintances and work colleagues. Stakes are usually low and, commonly, the style of poker played changes regularly. One round of Texas Hold ‘Em might be played, followed by a Hi/Lo game, then perhaps a mad variation with wild cards. A favourite form is "Dealer’s Choice" – where the dealer decides on a different form to be played on each deal.

However, recently, players have come to realize that Texas Hold ‘Em is the most exciting form of the game and many home games have switched to playing this form exclusively.

2. Online
At the end of the 1990s very little poker was played online. Now, more poker is being played online around the world than in homes and casinos. It is a massive business, hugely popular, and growing month by month. The advantages are many: there is privacy, convenience (you can play two hands and then change your mind and leave the table again), anonymity, huge choice of games and stakes.

The disadvantages are there too, however: you lose the human, social element, which diminishes many of the psychological elements, such as reading other players’ body language and reactions. It is also possible, without the support of others, to lose too much and to become utterly addicted to the adrenalin rush of gambling for high stakes. Like or loathe it, online poker is here to stay .

You can qualify for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) _ the World Championships for poker – over the Internet, starting with an entry fee of just $2 and you can give up work and become an online poker pro – as some have – earning a good living from the comfort of your own home.

3. Clubs and Casinos

Beware, the standard of play at poker clubs and casinos will be a lot higher than in your home game or online. You get the atmosphere, the equipment, often a dealer, and the reassurance of high security when you play. You are very unlikely to get cheated in a reputable casino or poker club. However, you’ll pay an hourly fee, or the house will take a rake (a small percentage) from each pot, to pay for all the facilities. Playing for mid or high stakes, that’s fine, but those fees eat into your bankroll as a low-stakes player and may harm your bottom line. Frankly, steer clear of club and casino poker until you are experienced and competent, or you may lose your shirt.

The Buy-In
Whatever game you play, there is always the buy-in. You exchange cash for chips and you place them on the table in front of you. Traditionally, you do not take chips off the table and put them in your pocket: any that you win are available to be lost until you stand up and cash-in (change your chips back into cash).
There is usually a minimum, and sometimes a maximum, buy-in. In clubs and casinos and online this is posted at the table. In a home game, it will be be mutual arrangement.
Buy-in for an amount which will hurt just a little if you lose and which will please you mightily if you manage to double. Do not buy-in for money you cannot afford. Sometimes the poker gods are in a black mood and you could play perfect poker and lose the lot.

Action on the Flop in Poker – Part1

The time to get off (or out of) a hand is either before the flop – and therefore before you have committed any, or much, money to the pot – or once the flop has appeared and it does not help your hand (which is, I’m sorry to say, most of the time).
The flop is the time when your hand – and those of your opponents – is made or broken. It is the moment when hands which were trailing before the flop have suddenly become strongest, and good hands pre-flop get no help from the community cards and suddenly look frail. Let’s look at a series of common situations and decide what action we might take. Bear in mind at all times that different players will take different action in the same situations. There is rarely a right or wrong way to play your hand, just methods that are more or less likely to work. These suggested methods are simple, but they are a good starting place on which to build your own skills and poker identity.

When the Flop Doesn’t Hit:
Sadly, this is a common situation.

You hold  A(H),Q(C)
and the flop comes K(S),7(S),3(D)

If no one bets anything, you can just check and wait to see if the turn and river are great cards for you. An ace would be nice. However, be aware that someone might’ be holding two spades and be on a Flush draw (hoping that another spade will appear in the turn or river and make him a Flush). If anyone makes a bet, you will have to concede.

You hold Q(S),Q(D)
and you raised before the flop, and one player called your raise
and the flop comes A(C),K(D),6(S)

This is a disaster for you. It is very likely that one of the two overcards (cards higher than those in your hand) has paired up with your opponent’s hand. If your opponent makes a bet, it will be right to fold and concede your greatly devalued hand. Contrast that with this situation where, again,

you hold Q(S),Q(D)
and the flop comes J(D),7(S),2(C)
Now, unless your opponent has AA, KK or a Pair matched on the flop, you have the best hand. You should definitely bet and probably re-raise any bet that your opponent makes since your QQ is likely to be winning. What you do not want to see is a king or ace appear on the turn or river – that would threaten your hand. Here, you want to raise big, to protect your hand and try to force your opponent to fold.
Intention: try to win the pot now with a raise to protect your hand against being beaten subsequently if an ace or king hits the board on the turn or river.

Holding Top Pair: This means if the flop’s highest card matches yqur hand to make a Pair. Now, your pair is the highest possible unless another player holds a higher pair in hand (here, only AA in the hole can beat you). This is a common situation which requires a simple course of action. Assuming that there have been no pre-flop raises, but three callers,

you hold            K(D),J(D)
and the flop comes  K(C),9(C),4(S)

when it is your turn you should bet. This is because you hold the top Pair of kings and a decent kicke: In the form of your jack. Unless someone has called originally on a strange low hand or something like K9 or K4, you have the best hand. You do not want to see any further cards in case a third club appears and you begin to fear the Flush. Betting the value of the pot here looks good. If you are called by a player with two clubs in his hand, seeking a club Flush, you have the odds on your side. He will only make his Flush one time in three whilst you have the best hand unless a club appears.

Intention: try to win the pot now or make players pay too dearly to draw to their hand.

Holding an Overpair.
An overpair is a Pair in your hidden two cards (in the hole) which is higher than the highest card showing on the flop. Assuming that no one raised pre-flop and you decided to call rather than raise with your low Pair, you face a similar problem to holding top Pair when this happens:

You hold            8(S),8(D)
and the flop comes  7(D),6(H),3(D)
Hoping that no one has called on 54 or 98 (it has been known) and therefore made a Straight on the flop, you probably have the best hand. Players with a higher Pair than yours might well have raised pre-flop. So, you want to protect your top Pair of 8s from the appearance of high cards on the turn and river, which might mean that another player suddenly overtakes you.

Some players would go all-in here to prevent any speculative calls, but in truth, a large bet – maybe twice the pot size – should do the trick.

Here, your intention is to win the hand now while you seem to be safely in the lead. If you checked or made a small bet which was called and the turn came:

K(D)  7(D),6(H),3(D)

Now you would be miserable. A player might easily hold a king and have you beaten and someone might just have made a diamond Flush.

Anyone betting now will surely have you beat and you will have to give up.

Intention: bet big to win the pot now – you do not want to risk overcards appearing on the table.

Texas Hold’em Poker – Patience

Possibly the single most important skill for a cash game player to learn is patience. I’ll say that word again: Patience. There it is … a mantra to be repeated throughout your poker playing lifetime. Patience. I’m saying it as much for myself as for you, because, without it, you will live fast and die young – and die penniless. Take a deep breath and say it aloud: Patience.

Some perceive poker to be all about action, all the time. Certainly, there are more heart-stopping, adrenalin-pumping, heart-in-mouth moments in poker than in any other game but they are, for each individual player, relatively rare. Most of the tIme, you are folding your cards either before the flop, or once you have seen the flop. You can go hours, even days or weeks, without picking up a decent hand or finding that the flop fits your cards. The expert realizes that this is just the unpredictable run of the cards where normal trends can sometimes seem exceptional. The fact is that every time you sit down to play poker from now on, it’s just another few hands in a lifetime of poker. Over that lifetime, you are very likely to pick up close on average hands. So, it is how you handle the bad times, as well as the good, that will determine how successful you are in the long run. Many players can’t cope with this and a short run of bad cards sees them starting to play hands that should be discarded, call bets that should be folded, and raise hands as a bluff, just to see some action. This will lose them much money in the long term.

High Roller Poker – On the Button

If you are the dealer, you are said to be "on the button". This is the most powerful position pre-flop since, other than the Blind bettors (who have been forced to bet), you are the last to act.

A common, aggressive play, when sitting in this position is to make what is called a "Button Raise".

If there have been no callers from early positions (such calls would suggest better than average hands) and only one caller up to you, it may be worth putting in a button raise to try to drive out the two Blind bettors – who may have terrible cards – and also the caller and steal the pot there and then. Because this tactic often succeeds, players make these raises on all sorts of sub-standard hands. At the very least, you should put in a button raise with any of your 21 starting hands.

Because the tactic is well-known, however, when you see someone making a button raise, you should be suspicious that he may be trying to steal. Of course, you don’t know if he is bluffing or has a seriously good hand – the great advantage of raising is that it injects doubt into the other players’ minds, The result of this situation is that you sometimes get a "double bluff" situation where the Big Blind re-raises the button raiser even without a particularly good hand. If the button raiser was bluffing – whIch is quite often – he probably has to concede at this stage. And so the constant psychological battle begins and, at the poker table, it never ends.

Should you get involved in bluffs and counter-bluffs? Certianly not as a beginner, learn the game first: this is only the beginning of a lifetimes journey. Stick to the low-stake games and you won’t find too many players trying to tie you in knots’ they are all still learning the game themselves.

Texas Hold’em – Hands not to play

There are so many hands you might get dealt which you certainly should not play. Those containing two different low cards are obviously weak – unless the flop hits them perfectly. It is the mid-range hands that lure players into indiscretions and every mistake you make will likely cost you money. Here are two examples of hands you should not play in any position:

Ace with a low kicker, such as A3 or A6
If the flop comes with an ace and a bet is made by an opponent, or if you make a bet and it is called – you won’t know whether you are winning or not. You could easily be outkickered. Almost certainly, you will have to fold, and now you have lost money, and you will be wondering whether you should have folded your Pair of aces.

Picture (or Honour) card with low card, such as K3 or Q6 orJ7
Again, you may hit top Pair and then not know whether an opponent has you out-kickered.
The problem with these hands is that they rarely win you big pots but they can lead you into losing big money when you are beaten. Since better poker involves better judgment, and that is a quality which, quite understandably, as a beginner you are lacking, you want to avoid those confidence-draining situations.

Action on the Flop in Poker – Part2

Holding Second Pair: Second Pair means that the second highest card on the flop matches with one in your hand to make a Pair. Now, only a player with top Pair, or an overpair, is likely to be beating you. Top Pair is always reassuring but, quite often, no one hits anything much on the flop and the second highest Pair is winning the hand. There are also chances to turn your hand into 2 Pair or Trips. Betting with second Pair can be dangerous, but it can also reap rewards.

You hold           A(S),J(S)
and the flop comes K(C),J(D),2(S)

You might choose to check if you are in early position but, later on, a bet would be in order. If no player holds a king, you may win the pot immediately. If a player holds a king with a low kicker, say K(D),7(C) (you would not be in the hand with that holding of course – unless you were the Big Blind), you may frighten him off, making him believe that you also hold a king and probably with a higher kicker.

If you do get called, you have several ways to improve your hand. An ace would give top 2 Pair, another jack would make you Trips, and another spade would give you the Nut Spade Flush draw (if a spade comes on the river you would then have the best possible Flush).

If an opponent raises your bet, you might well choose to lay down your hand. He is likely to hold a king with a good kicker and that means you will be betting against the odds.

Intention: a pre-emptive strike to push out intermediate hands, with some possible draws to improve your hand to a definite winner.

When the Flop Pairs: The flop pairing – that is to say when a Pair appears on the flop – brings tears to even the most robust players’ eyes, since any player matching the flop’s paired card suddenly holds Trips and is likely to win the pot easily. A paired board (or flop) can also lead to Full Houses overtaking Flushes and casts doubt on all your usual thoughts.

The standard way of betting on a paired board would be as follows:

•    If you match the Pair on the board and have made Trips, or better still a Full House, you have made a hand which is very unlikely to be beaten whatever appears on the turn or river. With such a strong hand, it is safe to check to allow other players to stay in the hand, hopefully improve and then feel that it is worth betting or calling your bet later, hence increasing your chances of winning more from the other players.

You hold           A(D),J(D)
and the flop comes A(S),J(C),J(S)

You hope that an opponent might also have a jack in his hand – giving him Trips – or that an opponent has two spades in his hand and subsequently makes a spade Flush. You will beat either of those hands, and you want to give your opponents a chance to make them. Then, when you bet (or they bet) you will get more action and therefore more money out of them.

Intention: lie in wait with the best hand and hope that other players bet or call your bets later.
•    If you match the odd card, so making 2 Pair, it is usually right to bet at this stage, because you have 2 Pair when your opponents do not. You do not want them to see the turn or river in case those cards are higher and match with their hands.

You hold           A(C),9(C)
and the flop comes 9(D),6(H),6(C)

You now hold 2 Pair but, if you check and allow the turn and river to be dealt, you may see a card higher than the 9 appear.

Intention: win the pot there and then, or make your opponents pay to see cards against the odds

If, when you make this play, you are raised, you will have to judge whether your opponent holds Trip 6s, or whether he too holds a 9 in hand. If he does, you have the best possible kicker to go with it. Finally, of course, it is possible that he holds a higher Pair in the hole, maybe two 10s or two jacks. If you believe this to be so, you should fold.

A paired board is a fearful situation to the inexperienced. However, this in itself can be an advantage to you. In poker, fear is vital: you can read it in your opponents’ faces and in their play. To succeed, you must be fearless. I have made a good deal of money betting paired boards strongly. Imagine you are close to the button.

You hold           A(D),10(D)
and the flop comes 9(S),9(H),4(C)

everyone checks around to you so you bet the value of the pot.

You are suggesting that you hold a 4 in your hand and that you now hold 2 Pair. Often, everyone folds and you win. If you get called, beware. The caller is likely to hold an overpair (higher than the 4) or a 9 in his hand. If you get called, you can give up on subsequent rounds.

Your security is that you have two overcards – cards that are higher than those on the board – so if the turn shows a 10 or an ace, you may well have the best hand. Generally, to bet in this situation with overcards is sound, but not when there are possible Straight and Flush draws which could destroy your hand, even if you improve, later on.

Many top players might try this action in any position around the table.

Intention: to bluff your way into picking up the pot.

Lower Pairs
I have a simple rule when calling with low Pairs. If the flop produces two or more overcards (cards which are higher than my paired cards), I don’t commit any more money to the pot. If there is only one overcard, I may continue pursuing it and if, by some good fortune, all the flop cards are lower than my paired cards, that will be the time to go in with a big raise and try to win the hand there and then, before threatening overcards hit the flop which may beat my hand.

You hold           7(C),7(D)
and the flop comes Q(H),9(S),4(C)

It is just too likely someone holds a Pair of queens or 9s. Fold if there is a raise.

Poker – Action on the Turn and River

If you have stayed in the hand this long, it had better be because you think you have the best hand, you know you have the best hand, or you were on a draw for what would definitely be the best hand (i.e. a Nut Straight or Nut Flush draw). You may still be in the hand because there has been no betting on the flop, but those situations are relatively rare.

Remember that the most costly hands in poker are not those hopeless cards that you pick up 75 per cent of the time; they are the quite good hands you see 20 per cent of the time and you over-value, staying in the pot too long, committing too much money to the pot and then finding it hard to throw your cards away and wave your money goodbye. The most dangerous hands are the second-best hands – because you think that they might be best and then they win you nothing and lose you the most. Therefore, unless you are confident that your hand is best, or will be best on a reasonable draw, if there is a bet from an opponent just throw your hand away now.
On the turn, if you have a hand that you think is best, do not let your opponents get to see the river for free – if they hit their card on the river, you may have converted a winning hand into a losing hand and then find it very hard to judge at the end.
For example:

you hold           A(S),Q(C)
and the flop comes A(C),6(D),2(C)

As you have top Pair with a good kicker, you put in a bet on the flop and you are called by one opponent.

The turn comes     8(D)  A(C),6(D),2(C)

If you believe you still have the best hand, you should put in another bet and make your opponent pay to see the river card. If you check and he checks, the river appears for free and he may make a Flush or 2 Pair without having had to pay for the risk. For example:

He might hold       A(D), J(S)
or                  K(C),10(C)
and the river comes J(C)  8(D),A(C),6(D),2(C)

With either of the above hands, you have now been beaten by your opponent: with the first hand, he has 2 Pair – aces and jacks; with the second hand, he has the Nut Flush.

If you had raised the value of the pot, your opponent should certainly have thrown away the Flush draw hand (since he has only a 1/6 chance of making his Flush with one card to come) and he might even have conceded with his AJ.

Either way, to let your opponent see free cards when you think you have the best hand is a mistake.

Recommended Starting Hands for Poker Cash Games

Here is the very basic guide to starting hands and the action you might take with them. As you gain expe¬rience, you will modify these actions to take into account your opponents and what you have learnt about them.

Premium Starting Hands
Always RAISE in any position; always RE-RAISE in any position.

Good Starting Hands
JJ 1010 AQ suited
CALL in early positions; RAISE in late position; CALL small raises; consider RE-RAISING a button raise or a late-position raise.

Other Starting Hands
99 88 77 66 55 44 33 22 AQ AJ suited
CALL in most positions; consider a RAISE in late position and on the button. CALL (and consider RE-RAISING) small raises and button raises.

Weakest Starting Hands
KJ suited QJ suited J10 suited KQ suited
CALL in all positions, FOLD if raised by a player in early position.
FOLD if the flop does not hit encouragingly (2 Pair, Straight or Flush draw), and there is a raise.

Disadvantages of Online Play

Personal Features

1. There is a temptation to play online when you shouldn’t. Internet poker is so easily accessible that it is easy to find yourself playing when you would be better advised not to (during or after a drinking session, for example). While it is true that alcohol is permitted in most live-action games, you are less likely to run into someone who is playing poker completely drunk in live play than you are online. On occasion, some online players even take the time and trouble to inform others at the table of exactly how much they have drunk! (If you come across such a player, please feel free to e-mail me so that I can join the party.)

2. There are more distractions when playing online than in a brick and mortar cardroom.The fact that most people play online in their homes, means that potentially they could be distracted by other matters and, in failing to pay full attention to the table, start to make mistakes. Whereas in a brick and mortar game, the physical presence of other players should be enough to keep your attention on the game, this safety net is absent from the online game. Most online players are, to a greater or lesser extent, guilty of answering e-mails, surfing the Internet or watching TV while they are playing. (It follows that you will have an instant edge over many of your less focused opponents if you simply give the game your full attention. Online poker is real – the players are real and the money is certainly real!)

3. Like all ‘computer games’, online poker may encourage obsessive and compulsive behaviour in some people.
The relatively easy accessibility of online poker might be potentially very damaging for ‘problem gamblers’, since the next opportunity to gamble is only a mouse-click away. Furthermore, it is easy to get sucked into playing ‘just one more hand’ or ‘just one more round’ and before you know it another hour has passed by.

4. Online poker is a very untactile form of the game.
Most players prefer the tactile qualities of physical cards and chips to making impersonal movements of a mouse around a screen. Indeed, some players like to hold a few chips in their hands while they are playing online, in order to make the game seem more ‘real’.

5. Online poker could potentially have negative health effects. For players who play for many hours each day (like anyone else who spends a great deal of time on a computer) there is the risk of RSI or other computer-related health problems such as eye strain and headaches. Furthermore, nowadays many people already spend their working hours at a keyboard, and it may be unhealthy or unsatisfying for them to spend their free time at a computer as well.


Social Features

6. There is little social interaction online.
For many players the general social interaction of a brick and mortar game is one of its most appealing qualities. If you attend a regular weekly game, for example, you have the opportunity to chat with old friends and share the odd joke while you are playing. Although all online cardrooms offer a chat facility, this is a poor substitute for proper conversation. Professional players who play exclusively online may therefore experience a sense of social isolation.

7. There is no face-to-face psychological warfare.
Many brick and mortar players enjoy the fact that they are engaged in combat with other players sitting nearby; human beings whom they can look straight in the eye, rather than pixelated representations on a computer screen.

8. There are no waitresses bringing food and drink online.
If you need beer or pizza you actually have to get up and fetch it yourself!


Financial Features

9. There is no internationally recognised regulation of online gaming operations.
Many players are understandably wary of depositing substantial funds with online cardrooms. Apart from fears over the legality of playing online poker for real money, there are two main reasons for their concerns. First, if the cardroom were to go out of business, they would most likely lose any funds that are being held on account. And second, if they became involved in a dispute with the cardroom, their account might be frozen without any means of legal redress.

10. It is more problematic to buy-in and cash-out online.
In a live-action game you can just show up with the cash and sit down to play, whereas online poker requires that players have some electronic means of funding their account. Likewise, you cannot simply walk away from an online game with a bundle of notes, but will experience a delay of at least a few days while any cash-out is processed. One side-effect of this is that there are fewer purely casual players online than in a casino – the hassle involved in buying in online is enough to deter anyone with only a passing interest in poker from playing solely on a whim.

11. Online games have a higher hourly variance than live play.
Online players generally experience higher hourly swings than their live-action counterparts. This extra volatility can be attributed primarily to the greater number of hands that are dealt per hour in an online game. However, experienced brick and mortar players may also encounter greater variance because they are deprived of the visual tells which usually enable them to save a few big bets or win an extra pot or two in each session.
12. There is potentially more chance of going on tilt online.
It is more important (and harder to maintain) your emotional control and general discipline when there is no-one else around. The very fact that they do not want to embarrass themselves in public, is enough to prevent many players from going on tilt in a live-action game. However, there are no such emotional checks in place when you play online, and the fact that you are playing with ‘cyber’ chips rather than real chips may accentuate the problem. Furthermore, the online game is so fast that you can find yourself on tilt before you know it.
13. Online games are generally regarded as tighter than live-action games.
On the whole, online players are more poker-obsessed and poker literate and will therefore play in a tighter fashion than their brick and mortar counterparts (for some of whom poker is more a social event, possibly being combined with a visit to the blackjack table, some slots and a little roulette). Indeed, many good players choose to play at lower limits online than they would in a live-action cardroom; the speed of the online game and the fact that they can play multiple tables means that they can earn as much (or more) online than they would in their normal brick and mortar game.
Furthermore, most online opponents are competing at a level with which they are comfortable, and not being forced to play out of their depth just because it was the only seat available. In online play, casual or inexperienced players can choose to play at micro-limits, whereas in brick and mortar cardrooms they would very likely be forced to play at least at $3/$6 or $5/$10 limits. The micro-limits provide these new players with the opportunity to learn to play poker very cheaply before they venture into the online low-limit and middle-limit games. In addition, many of the looser players who provide the ‘action’ in full ring brick and mortar games, opt for short-handed rather than full games online. Finally, weak online players are usually prevented from going on serious tilt for thousands of dollars, due to online credit restrictions. Instead of losing whatever may be in their wallet, without ever having to add it up, these players are forced to establish a proper bankroll when they buy-in.
Game Selection Features
14. You cannot change seats online without leaving the table and therefore possibly losing your seat altogether.
Brick and mortar cardrooms always provide players with the option of moving seats when another player leaves, but in an online game you cannot change seats in this fashion. You must first leave the table and then buy back in, which would place you at the bottom of any waiting list.
Game Play Features
15. You may be disconnected from the site while you are playing.
Every online player occasionally experiences the frustration of disconnections from a site in the middle of a hand, either for Internet connectivity reasons or because of a local problem with their computer.
16. You need to be able to make good decisions more quickly online.
The online game is much faster and more frenetic. In fact, some experienced players deliberately act bewilderingly fast in order to confuse their opponents and perhaps cause them to rush their decisions.
17. It is more difficult to identify and use tells online.
Although there are tells in the online game, these are far fewer and generally less reliable than tells in brick and mortar games.
18. It is more difficult to identify the really bad players quickly.
When a new player joins a table at a brick and mortar cardroom, it is often relatively easy to identify how experienced they are by the way they handle their chips, whether they act promptly in turn, the conversations they have with the dealer and other players, etc. (although it is true that some players do pretend to be inexperienced to deceive their opponents). However, online you have to rely solely on your interpretation of how they are playing their cards. Sometimes a new player to an online game might appear to be very loose, when in fact they have just received a glut of good starting hands. If you were instead able to see them in the flesh you would have immediately been able to peg them more accurately as a solid, experienced player.
19. In the online game there is a risk that players are either colluding by phone or Instant Messenger or perhaps cheating in other ways.
Although collusion does occasionally occur in brick and mortar games, it is much easier to collude online. Indeed it is even possible for one person to be playing two or more hands at the same table.