Monday, September 12, 2011

Staying Focused During Online Poker

The great part about online poker is the ability to do other things while you play. If you walk into my poker den, you will find me eating half a pizza, listening to the baseball game, and keeping a Facebook tab open. We can do all of these things because were at a desk in our home. Playing poker at the casino limits us to what we can do.
There is one big problem that will hold most online poker players back. Staying focused on the tables we play becomes neglected very quickly when Joey Votto smacks one out of the park. We must learn how to stay focused in order to increase our profit. Lets face it poker is fun, but its much more fun when we win. Players must discipline themselves enough to keep that focus despite external tasks.

Making Observations

Watching and learning about our opponents in any given match will always give us the upper hand. Even though we can't physically observe other players make decisions, there are observations to be made. The biggest online tell is based on time. How long does it take for player A or B to decide on whether to call, raise, or fold? If player A frequently uses all of the time bank or uses auto fold then we can infer that he or she might be playing on multiple tables. What does this mean? It means that that player is not going to be intently watching every table they play. We can ruthlessly steal their blinds and know when they have a good hand when they raise or call. Player B always takes a few seconds to decide on each hand. In this situation we can easily assume that this player is playing only one or two tables. They are watching you and learning from you as well. Our A game must be on when we attack players like this. So you can easily see where our options change based on these simple observations. Learn to adjust your poker play based on these observations.

Opponents Who Can't Fold
One of the best observations is made on how differently players play strong hands. Hands like AT, AQ, AK, or even KQ and KJ. These are good hands but they are also drawing hands. Pay close attention to players that are so sure that they will win these hands no matter what the flop, turn, or river are. They simply over value them after the flop and can't resist. We should be looking to flop sets in order to slow play them because this type of player will call or bet every time. These players are not chasers and they are not really calling stations either but they have a poor ability to let go of great hole cards in bad situations. Even getting great flush or straight draws and good pot odds will give you an upper hand.

Each poker table takes a life of its own

Table selection is often an important factor when picking an online table to play at. I typically look for loose tables where my tight aggressive play will prevail. Being able to pick up each individual players playing style will make you a winner in a big way. Pay close attention to players who play lots of hands and over play them. These players will usually be the first out from the table. Stay focused and pick strong hands to play back at them. More often then not you will be far ahead in the hand. To counter that type of player, there is the Tight player who is very picky about the hand he plays based on blind levels and their chip stack. These players are easy to steal on because they want to have good odds against you.


As you can see throughout this article that there are many observations to be made during an online poker match. It's important to balance your game and the tv. If you want to win and you want to win constantly then its important that you pick up on tells from every poker player. These are only three observations while playing poker, but you will quickly learn that there are many factors that can be observed in order to gain an edge over your opponent. Stay focused and winning money while playing poker will become an everyday thing.

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  1. It's amazing just how many online players don't observe others at their table or take notes on their competitors. Some players become so timid especially close to the bubble while others step on the gas to exploit this. Keeping a close eye on these behaviour patterns could mean the difference between making the money or not. Totally agree with Matt here. Stay focused always!

  2. Alot of new players seem to think that your cards and how you play is the most important. The most important thing is how you adapt to other players with your cards and play! Thanks for the comment!


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