The Dark Side of Poker is No Joke – Shields Up!
As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, there’s a dark side to poker. However, some argue that I don’t need to discuss it. After all, this is a game that’s been around forever. After all, they insist, you should already know your way around — don’t you watch the TV poker events? After all, they insist, you should already know how things are supposed to go. But if you’re a true newcomer and you don’t know, there’s a good chance that you’re going to get burned. Here’s my thought son the subject, as someone that’s played poker for real money.
First and foremost, you cannot assume that everyone is just killing time the way you are. The rise of the professional poker player on the online circuit is definitely real. This means that these people are literally making their rent money online. Granted, the good ones are making their rent money and then some, but you get the idea. If they have their lifestyle on the line, they’re going to battle pretty hard to make sure that you don’t get to them in time. That’s the truth of things. You just need to make sure that you’re focusing on what really counts here. Getting lost in what the professional poker players want and don’t want is a recipe for disaster. Just when you think that you’re not going to get any type of wins on your sheet, you find that you’re killing hands right and left. Don’t get too excited — the professional poker player is studying you. They invest in software that gives them intuitive data about you, including how many hands you turn down versus how many you play. They’re using as much information as possible to try to figure out what type of player you really are. Most poker players, whether they will admit it or not, play to type. This means that they’re always thinking about how to get to you, and they’re always trying to see how predictable you really are.
This is the dark side of poker in a nutshell, but it can get darker than that. You see, people are often trying to escape their real lives online. This means that they could play wildly, or play emotionally. You may even find yourself doing the same thing. I always say that if you’re having a bad time in real life, playing poker is the last thing you need to do. Of course, if you feel like it’s going to help you…take the money off the table. You could end up blowing through your bankroll merely because you were having an emotional day. That’s not something that you really want to do, is it? You won’t look back on those moments with pride. If anything, you’ll look back on those moments in horror at what has gone down.
The time to really push forward in poker is based on your moods. If you’re having a hard time at work, chances are good that you’re going to have a hard time at home. Getting onto the online poker room means that you’re carrying that attitude with you. If you think that it doesn’t show up online, you’re mistaken. Most seasoned poker players can tell when you’re just betting from the gut rather than having a strategy. In fact, if they see that, chances are VERY high that they’re going to use that against you.
If you’re going through hard times or you’re trying to make money hardcore for a particular purpose…that’s really not the type of thing that lends itself well to online gambling. Your desperation will be visible. Even if you think that this doesn’t apply to you, I strongly caution you to think differently before it’s too late. A lot of people never expected to go online and have a chunk of money wiped clean because they weren’t focusing properly, but it happens every day.
Make sure that you’re still setting boundaries for your real life. Some people find that they can’t focus on anything other than the rush of the game and the thrill of victory. This means that they can eat up a lot of hours in a single day playing poker. Your bankroll will limit you to a certain extent, but there are always free rooms around. Make sure that you are thinking about the obligations that you have in real time. Now, if you’re single and staying to yourself, you may have more time than you know what to do with. But if you have responsibilities that need to be addressed this is definitely not a time for random fun and random games. You have to stay focused in order to see what’s really going on.
The time is perfect to check out online poker. Please, if anything — don’t let me scare you off. I just want you to make sure that you’re playing with a clear head. You can enjoy a little bit to drink, for example, if it’s going to clam your nerves. But I would never recommend that you get plastered and try to make sense of the cards at the table and what your opponents might be carrying. That’s just a bad idea all around.
Up next, I’m going to talk more about your poker opponents. Stay tuned!