With the number of people that have been flooding back to the online world due to the shutdown of live poker, there are some old arguments that have come to the fore once again. There’s plenty of people talking about how “online poker is rigged” or that there is a “doom switch” for those who win on an online poker site. But one of the biggest things that players must deal with are those that are practitioners of “No Fold’em Hold’em” – the sticky online players who won’t release a hand.
Plenty of Reasons Online Poker Has These Players
There’s plenty of reasons that online poker is promulgated with these types of players. First off, it is an entirely different game than what “live” poker is. There is a “video game” aspect of online poker that people don’t take it seriously. Players don’t look at those numbers in front of them as “money,” they instead look at it as a way of keeping score in the game. If people lose the feeling that they are playing for real money – and when you walk up with a few hundred dollars in cash, plop it down at the cage and get chips and then go put those chips on the table, only to watch them slide into someone else’s stack, you KNOW you’re playing for real money – they aren’t going to treat the game as seriously as if they were playing live.
Second, you’ve got to look at the stakes that are being played. Online, players are playing at stakes from $.02/$.05 cash game (or, if they’re REALLY feeling adventurous, a $.25/$.50 game) and up. The money doesn’t mean anything to the players because it isn’t a serious amount and it is more for entertainment purposes than trying to make serious money. It doesn’t cost them tremendously to chase that gutter ball or try to turn their pocket pair that is the worst on the board into a set on the river.
This even applies to the tournaments that online poker rooms offer. If it’s a tournament, they’ve spent a miniscule amount, five dollars at the top. If they bust out of that tournament, another tournament is starting in 30 minutes. There’s always a game going and usually at a stake that isn’t going to break a player.
Finally, there’s simply the “computer” element of the game. You’re sitting at a computer terminal, not staring someone in the eyes, and you can make donkey moves without any ramifications. If you’re playing live and make a stupid move, you can feel the eyes boring through you and hear the comments in their brains – “What an idiot!!” “What the F**K was he calling with there?” “Why the hell was he even in the hand?” This type of scorn…people don’t like it. They don’t like not being “accepted” by the table. Online? Nobody is looking at you, you can shut off the chat if it gets too bad and you don’t have to answer for your actions.
So, What Do You Do About It?
The answer to playing against these types of players is – you get over it. These types of players – those who will hold on when the odds are, at best, minimally against them – are the types you will make money off in the long run. The players who hold onto their pocket pairs too long, the players who chase the runner-runner flush draws or even hope to pair their Ace with their kicker and make a miracle two pair to out pip your two pair…these are the players you will make money off of in the long run. Rather than trying to seek out a “perfect online poker room,” you have to accept that you made the correct decision and it was just the runout of the cards that didn’t bring about the result you wanted.
This is something that players arguably have the most difficult time doing in poker. Poker, in essence, is not a game about winning money. It is a game about making the correct decisions with the information you’ve been able to garner up to that time. The same thing applies to when, after looking at your scraps of hole cards and mucking them (let’s say a 6-3 off suit, just for fun), then seeing the flop come up 6-6-3 – with the evidence you had at the moment, you made the correct decision. Just because the flop came your way doesn’t mean that your decision-making process was wrong.
It also doesn’t mean that you need a different poker arena. If you are tactically the better player on a online site or even a live arena, you don’t want to find a different place where people are better than you – that’s just asking to lose money. Thus, you have to learn to accept the “sticky” players and the fact that they will occasionally take down your hands – eventually it will come back your way!