I play poker onlineWhen I meet someone new and they ask what I do, I just say ‘I play poker’.
I used to have more of a problem with it, not least because I’d end up explaining it at length, as people are often more interested in online poker than in talking about what they do.
I make about $40 an hour on average and play poker 30 hours a week – it’s not quite a full-time job, and it leaves me time to do a bit of web consultancy, read a lot of books, and go off on holiday without having to arrange leave.
I just got back from several weeks in Puerto Rico, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t miss playing poker at all – that was quite reassuring.
If you’re familiar with gambling in casinos, playing poker online is essentially the same thing.
Unlike at a bricks and mortar casino, online you can play at more than one table at a time. So sometimes I log into more than one poker site at a time, which means that I don’t have to be as good a player to make the same amount of money.
‘My poker face’
But in some ways, online poker is a very different game. It’s a lot faster, as there’s no banter around the table. For casino casino en ligne francais players, this interplay is a central element of the game, whereas for me it’s more mathematical.
In fact, at a casino I’d be at a disadvantage because these people know all about body language. I don’t even know if I’ve got a poker face.
One of the few times I went to a casino, I got a royal flush – it does happen occasionally – and my hands were shaking so much that everyone realised something was up. [The odds of being dealt this winning hand are about 650,000 to one]
But online, I could be shaking like a leaf in front of the computer, yet it would just look like I was making a normal raise.
I’m trying to write a computer program to help me play better. While I could try to program it to play while I’m not there, I’m not sure this is my aim. I don’t think I’m a good enough player to write a winning program, and other players probably wouldn’t like playing against a robot.
There’s nothing secret about the way I play. The most common mistake that beginners make is not folding [stopping betting on a weak hand] early enough. I had to get over that and learn to sit a hand out.
‘I lost $5,000’
My biggest wins have been about the same as my biggest losses – just hopefully they occur a bit more frequently. In one day I’ve lost close to $5,000, but I’ve also won about the same amount. One day I’m buying the beer, the next I’m getting my friends to buy it.
My first big loss came when I had first started to get cocky. I thought I was doing very well, when in fact I wasn’t.
Over about three months, a friend and I had built up about $4,000 from an initial pool of $300, and I lost $1,500 in one day.
I had a huge loss of confidence. I read a bunch of books and joined a couple of online forums on poker strategies. Armed with that new knowledge I went back to playing about a year ago.
Even now, I’m constantly evaluating if I really know what I’m doing. But there’s always days when I can do no wrong, when every bluff I make goes my way. I just have to treat each and every hand exactly like the one before.
I consider gambling as something to tide me over while I figure out what it is that I want to do next. So far it hasn’t worked out quite as I’d hoped – having no direction isn’t a great way to get direction – but it’s been a wonderful vacation.