1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Is Online Poker really the best way to Start Learning how to Play?

Discussion in 'The Poker Room' started by volcombrdr25, Jan 24, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. volcombrdr25

    volcombrdr25 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    6
    So my interest in poker has really increased the last few months and have been reading up on it, watching it on TV, and based on my friends advice; started playing online through Bovada. I love it and see the adrenaline that builds into big pots but also feeling miserable after finding out the hand I had was not the winning hand.

    It seems like there are a lot of people here that are experienced and I feel that I could ask this on here. I have started to see online for me when playing the lower limit tables due to just getting started; that everyone seems to call every bet. To me I see this as hybrid between loose passive/aggressive. When I feel like I figured them out and get into a showdown, my hand always seems to lose especially when I have pocket aces.

    Is live cash games at casinos easier than online in terms of just how people play and seeing it face to face what they could be doing/thinking? I really want to learn and be able to play in games in Vegas but I don't want online poker to discourage me when I feel like everytime I have the best hand the flop, turn, and river end up making me lose and wonder if its "rigged".

    Just want input on whoever wants to reply to this topic and tell me what you typically do and if online poker is your thing to learn or just try to make quick cash.

    Any help would be great.
     
  2. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,426
    Location:
    Green, Ohio
    You're limited in what you can learn about other players when you can't see and hear them. You also have your own relative anonymity. Neither of these is good. You want as much information as you can get about your opponents, and you need to practice deceiving others or at least hiding your own tells as much as possible.

    It is also true, as you noted in your post, that small online games tend to be loosey-goosey compared to most live poker, and this means you might need to unlearn some behaviors when playing live. So after you put in some hours getting used to what values of hands can win or lose under what circumstances, it's time to move on- unless you truly enjoy online play. I did not.

    You didn't ask about this, and everybody learns differently, but you also might consider reading some books about poker. You said you "read up" but it isn't clear what that entailed.
     
  3. volcombrdr25

    volcombrdr25 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    6
    I bought a book that someone recommended in another form that is called "Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big with Expert Play" by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, and Mason Malmuth.
     
  4. DowntownDiva

    DowntownDiva Tourist

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Poker is like Othello. It takes a minute (ok, a day) to learn and a lifetime to master. I agree that playing online is great to teach you the mechanics of the game but there's nothing quite like playing in person. And, despite everything that I'm about to say, there's only one way to learn how to play poker in real life. And that's to sit down. And play poker. In real life.

    What are you playing on Bovada? Limit or No Limit? Most of the Vegas poker scene has moved to the No Limit format of Hold 'Em, though you can still find some Limit games around town. What does $200-$300 mean to you? Are you willing to make/call an all-in bet of that size, knowing that the wrong card may take all that money away all at once? I don't think there are any No Limit games in Vegas cheaper than 1/1 NL game at Linq. You can buy in as short as $50. But many people will sit down with more - up to $300. And that's all a lot more than the $5 you're probably coming into a Bovada table with. So you need to be comfortable with losing the money and calling it entertainment if things don't go right.

    As far as learning - have you read any books? I like the small stakes book by Miller, et. al. referenced above. There's little wrong with ABC poker at most 1/2 or 1/3 tables.

    Have you ever reviewed your hand histories and re-playing big hands (both won and lost) to take a second look and understand how and why each hand played as it did? That's a really big learning tool that most beginner players don't do.

    In the poker world, the general consensus is that most 1/2 (or 1/3) games play about as well as $0.05/$0.10 (10 NL) online. But, everybody starts somewhere and there is no shame in sitting down at a table and getting some experience as long as you're playing with money you can lose.

    Call it an investment in to a wonderful hobby. Happy rounding!
     
  5. volcombrdr25

    volcombrdr25 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    6
    Honestly I realize losing money is losing money; regardless where it happens. However, if I were to lose all my money at one sitting, I rather it be in person than online. I just feel like being sucked dry online and for the table games I have played ala craps, ultimate texas hold 'em, three card poker, etc. I love the live entertainment that makes it fun and feel recreational. Winning is amazing, we all know that so don't think that I have the attitude of if I lose it I lose it.

    I am going back to Vegas end of February, and I was planning to play live with a $300 buy in at a 1/2 dollar game of NL.

    The book that I have been reading is amazing so far and makes me realize that I have been playing the wrong way for about 85% of the hands I do go into the flop with. However as I stated earlier, it feels like such a huge gutshot when you hold pocket aces and someone in first position is playing with a 2, 3 and ends up winning with a low hand straight A-5 with me having a 3 of a kind Ace's.

    I haven't played live yet, but hope to change that this coming week by playing at a local casino down here in So. Cal.

    I know I'm hooked though because I have that same look and have that same interest I had in playing craps and I made sure to study the game of craps. I finally found my betting strategy around craps instead of changing every possible tactic possible in hopes of winning. I hope to do the same with poker even though there seems to be so many more ways to change your game around.

    I'm just really fed up with online poker because of some of the hands these players get lucky with in my opinion.
     
  6. DowntownDiva

    DowntownDiva Tourist

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Some of the hands people play in real life get lucky, too. That's why it's gambling :).

    Seriously - as long as you're comfortable with the format of NL Hold 'Em and understand the basics of the game, I'm a big advocate of learning by doing. Grab a seat, get some chips and have fun!
     
  7. karlmonday

    karlmonday Tourist

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    50
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    22
    If you have local "free" poker at different locations you should try that. It will let you play with real chips and people you can watch.

    Then you can move to playing poker rooms.
     
  8. npom

    npom High-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    696
    Location:
    central NY
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    I was just wondering, does this sight accept American deposits? How do you deposit?
     
  9. DowntownDiva

    DowntownDiva Tourist

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Most states, yes. There are a few that Bovada shies away from - usually because they have their own state-wide legalized gambling/poker.

    Go to the website - http://www.bovada.lv (NOT .com) and on the top/right hand corner of the page is a button to create an account. From there, you can play all the games for fun (fake money) or decide to make a deposit on a credit card and play with and for real money.

    One detail: They will talk about a signup bonus. Understand what the requirements are BEFORE you accept it. It's easy to say, "Ooh, free money! Yes please!" only to find out that the requirements to actually satisfy the bonus are too much. The worst part is that you can't even withdraw YOUR money if you have a casino bonus pending. I don't think that applies to poker though.

    Their customer service is actually pretty decent for an online gambling company doing business in the US. If you have questions, I've always been able to get prompt responses through email and even on the phone.
     
  10. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,749
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    14
    If you are playing for real money I think online poker can be a good way to learn the game and improve your play. One of the important things is experience and playing online will usually allow you to play more hands in a shorter period of time than in a casino - so multi-tabling online for a year might garner you the same amount of experience a live player gets in 10-15 years

    The other thing is that the stakes you can play at online are usually a lot smaller so you can experiment and see what does and doesn't work and any mistakes you make will usually cost you a lot less money.

    I've never played at Bovada but if they let you save hand histories you should turn that on and then from time to time review your hands and as you play make notes of specific hands you want to review and check out.

    And for that I don't mean "in hand #123456789 you flopped a set of 9s and the other guy flopped a set of Jacks and you lost your whole stack" because there isn't anything to review there... but if you had a hand where you lost a good portion of your stack, and its not a hand you should have gone broke on, you should look at it like: How did you lose? When did you lose? Was there something you could have done differently to win the hand? Was there a point where you should have gotten away from the hand?

    For losing "every time I have the best hand on the flop" or getting your aces cracked: for hands like that you might want to use an odds calculator and really look at how the hand was played and what you could have done to win it... like a common mistake with losing with Aces is: with pocket aces against 3 other opponents you are usually only a 51-53% chance to win the hand... against 4 other opponents you could be as low as 40-45% - YES, you have the single best chance to win the hand but against 3 other players you are pretty much just a wee bit better than a coin flip to win and against 4 or more other players its more likely you will lose than win with pocket Aces.


    But back to online: with online you get to play so many hands and its easy to review your play that it really helps in seeing how certain hands play out in the long run and different little nuances in the game that you pick up because you see so many more hands than a live player will see and so you can see just how bad certain hands really are, why shoving on the flop with a flush draw usually isn't a good play, why King/Jack and King/Queen are considered "trouble hands", how easy it is to be counterfeited with tiny pocket pairs, how your aces stack up against multiple opponents, etc. a lot of that is covered in books, but most players have a hard time accepting it and letting it sink in until they've experienced it first hand.
     
  11. FXT

    FXT VIP Whale

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,033
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Imo online poker is more about the math. You're making the proper +ev play everytime and hope you come out on top. Live poker not so much. I'd play live limit games if you're a beginner.
     
  12. D in the D

    D in the D Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Canton, MI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    23
    Great way to see a lot of hands, as others have pointed out. I would add a couple things: If you cant beat a .05/.10 or .25/.50 game over the long haul, you aren't going to win at higher levels online or elsewhere. Play at a level until you feel like you are winning over a long period of time. Then move up a level. Don't skip a level to "get away from the donks".

    Finally, and I mean this in all sincerity. If you cant get over the mindset that you feel its "rigged" just don't play. Online sites make money on the rake and just want continued action on the site. They really don't care who wins. But if you feel the site is out to get your money, along with everyone else at the table, you wont win.
     
  13. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,440
    Location:
    NYC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    That's a Limit book.
     
    Super Bowl Weekend for a Bachelor Party!
  14. Corinne

    Corinne Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Bucks, UK
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    I saw something a while ago that some players in the UK online are using software to analyse everything and that it is difficult to win unless you are using this. It also said that that this was set up on another computer and could play automatically without you even needing to be there. I remember seeing or or reading it because I have a nephew who plays and wanted to tell him he was probably wasting his money if he wasn't using the same ways to win as others always had an edge. May be worth checking it out before putting real money in. I have a feeling it was on a TV consumer programme and they said that online poker wouldn't last much longer because of this as they couldn't be run fairly to all the players at the moment. Google is your friend, lol. Wish I could remember where I saw it, getting old!

    This is an article which is about what I saw or read about
    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1595028/Youll-never-beat-poker-robots.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  15. DowntownDiva

    DowntownDiva Tourist

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Hoo boy. So, there's actually two separate things that you're touching on.

    1. Computers are very good at collecting data and making information out of it. The thread talked a little before about reviewing your own hands to get an understanding of how you played certain hands. The computer can also analyze - in real time - your tendencies and the tendencies of the people you're playing with in a broader sense. Maybe one player plays almost every hand. Maybe another player doesn't play many hands at all, but when he does play, he plays them very strongly. Maybe that person always bets the flop when he plays a hand that he raised pre-flop, no matter what.

    Computers can capture this data and display it to you in a Heads Up Display (HUD). One common example of this is Poker Tracker. By installing it along with your online poker software (PokerStars, Bovada, etc.) you are able to see your own playing style and that of everyone at the table. This can help you (or your opponents if they're using one) make decisions in hands. If you always bet the flop after raising pre-flop, maybe my second pair is good on a flop with low cards heads-up and I might call or even raise with a less-than-ideal hand, but force you to fold. By using that extra information, I believe I'm good.

    Bovada mitigates this a little bit in that you're never referenced by a 'username' or anything. You're just assigned a number at a table (cash game) or tournament (lasts the whole tournament). You're simply referred to as "Player 3" and that lasts only as long as your stay in that table/tournament. So if you leave a table and go to another one - or start a new tournament - you're just assigned another player number and you're a total stranger again. On PokerStars and other sites where you use a common screen name, people who are not playing can collect information on you with every hand that you play and use that information against you when they do play you.

    2. Separately, there are actual programs that people write that can read the screen, make decisions based on the hand and execute those actions (call/raise/fold). These are what are referred to as poker bots or robots. Basically, you are playing against a computer. This is particularly a problem in limit poker, since limit is now a solved game. However, even in no-limit or tournaments, there are bots in use. This article is a good, recent example. A player makes it several hours deep into a tournament, to the point of cashing. When the players stop to discuss splitting the final prize pool, one player is completely silent. They call his phone number.. No answer. They start playing again and he picks up playing like nothing happened. Even the other players accuse him of being not-human.

    The worst part is that these people may ruin online poker for everyone. Nobody will want to play if it's not fair.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  16. Marky147

    Marky147 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    993
    Location:
    England
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    Players worldwide use software to aid their decision making, but huge samples are required before they have any meaningful data on us recreational players.

    It's harder to win now, because people are smarter at the game, and players are generally better.

    I used a hud for a bit, back when I played fulltime, but that's in the last decade, and I rarely play online anymore. That's not because of the software, but because I'm lazy, and prefer to just play when I'm in Vegas, or when there is a special tournament on.

    The software mostly aids the regs against each other, and it's a bit of a fallacy that this is helping them to win against us.
     
    Double digits!
  17. Marky147

    Marky147 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    993
    Location:
    England
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    Online is the best way to learn the basics of the game, but it's not the most fun.

    Maybe worth signing up to a training site, and downloading some videos, which will help you get the fundamentals.

    If you can hold your own in a $25 buy in cash game online, I'd say you're good to go in most low stakes live games :)
     
    Double digits!
  18. Snickers99

    Snickers99 Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    7
    Not sure how much I can add...some good advice in here.

    Definitely review hands if you can. My goodness I would replay every online session with the hand history tools and look for mistakes. Even when I started playing live, I would jot down hands I was in. Sure someone would always ask what I'm doing. Sometimes I tell them the truth...sometimes I make something up. But after a hand, I would write down as much info as I could...stack sizes, position, how the other guy(s) were playing. I suggest you do NOT just write it down later. You won't remember it right. I used to read my notes later on and think I remember a particular hand, and then it would turn out I mis-remembered most of it.

    Anyway, I would write down as many hands as I could and review them later. Sometimes I would think I played awful but I would review my hands and see that I got unlucky in some spots, etc. Other times I see mistakes I made (OMG, how did I not figure out he had a flush?). Reverse is true as well...thought I did good when I was really being a donkey.

    Be careful of the 'I never win with aces' line of thought. It's human nature to remember the bad times. You don't always lose with aces...you just remember the times you did. Don't get aces and think 'oh boy...how am I going to lose THIS time?' And don't get into the 'I need to play a higher limit where they respect my raises'. Doesn't really work that way.

    If you're not in a hand, watch everybody. Try to figure out what they have. Why did he not bet there but now he's betting here? Why would he bet now? And so on. It's a little hard putting people on hands at first, but it gets easier. Not saying you'll know every time, but you know what I mean. Just pay attention.

    My number one advice... all you can do is get it in good. You can't control the cards. If you keep getting it in when you're favored, of course you're not going to win every time but it will work itself out in the long run. You're going to get sucked out on. Even if you're a 90% favorite, one out of ten times you're going to lose. But if you get it in good most of the time, you'll be fine.

    On a side note to the above, I don't know if this is true but I was told good players get sucked out on more often because they usually don't put themselves in a position that they themselves have to get lucky. If you get sucked out on, just move on. Don't get mad. It's the old story that if someone needs to suck out to win, you WANT them at your table because eventually they'll lose. For goodness sake, don't tell a player that he stinks and then tell him how to play. Just muster a 'good hand', move on, and take his money later.

    But yeah, the best way to learn is to jump on in. As the saying goes, poker lessons aren't free Generally, most poker players are nice people. If you let them know it's your first time, they'll help you out in posting blinds, etc. When you first sit down, you'll be as nervous as crap (at least I was). But pulling in that first pot and stacking those chips is awesome.

    Sorry...this post is a little rambly and unstructured.
     
  19. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    4,706
    Location:
    Chicago South Suburbs
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    14
    I think online is a good way to experience the rules of the game. But at least on the free games, you see a lot of stuff that I don't think would happen live. If I were to ever try a live game, I would probably try a charity tourney locally first. The better ones use dealers from casinos and all that.
     
  20. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    5,749
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    14
    I find live poker boring and when it is there usually isn't anything you can do (except leave) but with online if you are on a boring table where nobody is talking or its a little slow you can always open up another table.
     
Tags:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.