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An Online Players Worse Enemy – Boredom

Living in the states, it can be difficult to play online poker. Especially when you live in one of those states that really screwed the poker rooms like Maryland. Since Maryland, New York and a few other states have stricter laws in place; most online rooms do not accept players from these states, even though they still take American players.

I just happen to live in one of those places which make playing online almost impossible. There is one or two that still allow me to fulfill my degenerate tendencies, but even I won’t risk playing on these sites, no matter how desperate I am.

So what is a guy to do when they play thousands of hands a day and all of the sudden are left with little to no option?

The obvious answer is to make the jump to live poker. This is what many Americans have done, but sadly, not with much success. True, the top online players are now dominating the live scene, but these guys are top notch players who can succeed just about anywhere.

The rest of us, average Joe Schmoes who were squeaking out 3 BB/HR and grinding out rakeback rewards have a harder time adjusting.

You may be saying that poker is poker, whether it’s live or online. This is true to an extent, but there are major differences that cause good players online to lose their bankrolls along with their minds when trying to play live.


The main adjustment to playing live is the sheer volume of hands, or lack thereof. Playing online, you can play thousands of hands in a day with ease. This becomes a habit and playing anything less, is for lack of a better term- boring.

When you play live, you may be lucky to get 30 hands an hour. If you happen to play in one of the home games I play at, you’re lucky to get 10 in. after having to remind everyone it’s their turn every 10 seconds, playing a single hand of poker usually takes about 10 minutes of pure agony.

Trying to concentrate and focus for long periods of time playing live can be the most demanding aspect of poker.

Many of us who played online would have 10 or more tables up, YouTube, Facebook, a movie, Rage Against The Machine blaring in the background and possibly a third monitor with….let’s be honest – porn.

All of this stimulation creates a disease that becomes addictive and without all of this visual, audio and brain activity going on around us, we get very bored, very fast. Having to wait even a minute to play a hand only to fold it becomes painful and tiresome.

Overcoming the boredom and lack of activity is by far an online poker player’s largest feat.

To succeed live, we must find a way to combat this issue. To each his own is the common saying and we must all find our own ways to do this. Personally, I like to try and guess what everyone has when not playing. But, I must admit, that I am still having a hard time adjusting to the slow pace of live play.

At times I will play a hand just to do something. After all, I came to play poker, not sit and watch everyone else play.

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  • Steve T

    I think it is very important to pay attention to how each player plays at your table even if you are not involved in a hand. Of importance are the times when any player has to show down their hand. I already have recorded a mental image of how the hand played out, specifically the cards on the board and the betting as it unfolded. With this observation I can already begin to profile each player after several show down and non-show down hands with specifics such as if he/she is capable of bluffing, or able to fold a strong hand, or aware of obvious situations (e.g. limp calling a big raise when there is a short stack with only double that amount still to act), or only bets or bets big when they have strong hands, or likes to slow play trap with big hands.Besides getting me more involved with the slower live game, it also significantly helps me make critical decisions later on when I am involved in a big spot with such and such player with regards to me folding and laying down a decent hand or allowing for wider range possibility and calling more lightly to aggression.

    • Ivan Y

      I agree with Steve. It is equally important to observe your opponent’s playing tendencies and style, when you are not in the hand.

      • Alex

        I agree with Ivan who agrees with Steve who agrees with Chris. Now that we are all in agreement, can we get some controversial articles?

  • Ivan Y

    Live poker is zzzzzzzzzzzzzz sometimes. Especially playing PLO live, that is like 15 hands per hour at best.

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