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tomson    Poland. Apr 07 2008 05:39. Posts 1982

The Online Poker Revolution
Nobody can deny that in the last 5 years poker has evolved more than ever before in its 40 year-old history and has pushed the game to a point that did not seem possible before. The victory of Chris Moneymaker and the development of online cardrooms made it explode and grow exponentially in size. To get an idea of the scale you can compare the number of entrants to the WSOP Main Event. In 2003 there was 839 and in 2006 - 8,773. With increasing popularity, there are better tools made available for becoming a better poker player. You can easily discuss hands with friends via AIM/MSN, post on forums, use programs to calculate odds, watch instructional videos. Cardrunners were the pioneers of the online-poker teaching site and revolutionized the game for a lot of people with clearly outlined basic concepts about position and aggression. As these sources of knowledge expanded, you could definitely see a unified playing style conceptualize. A paradigm for the winning players.

The Model of the Winning Online Poker Player
The outstanding fundamental rules were:
- be very aggressive
- never limp
- isolate limpers
- be loose in position, tight out of position

These things constituted a style that was not only profitable and difficult to play against but also very hard to exploit. The style evolved and more specific rules were created and adhered to. Nowadays, almost every winning online poker player applies them to his game to at least some extent without question. Sometimes a player applies the rules and style before they fully understand the reasoning behind it which allows them to become good faster than they would through trial and error.

This online-revolution created some distinctive differences between the young internet stars and the oldschool live pros. If you watch shows like "High Stakes Poker" you might cringe at how players who are regarded by the public to be the best in the world aren't applying even the most fundamental rules that now seem absolutely standard in the online world. I, for one, felt almost angry that these people were considered the cream of the crop when they were obviously making horrendous mistakes. And while I still hold on to the idea that they're technically flawed and definitely worse than the online pros, they might have a certain advantage over some of the young internet poker players. They haven't been indoctrinated by this paradigm allowing for them to more easily...

Think Outside the Box
In my previous poker article Exploitive vs Optimal Approach I talked about 2 different approaches to the game - an optimal one and an exploitative one. The current paradigm of a winning online player is more optimal, while the technically inferior live players rely more on exploitation. Live players never learned the cardinal rules taught by instructional sites therefore they have to adapt to their opponents mainly through reads and observation. While they are technically inept they might make correct plays that an orthodox aggressive online would not make (e.g. folding KK pre-flop for 100bb against a specific opponent).

Players who subscribe to the paradigm often follow it blindly. This can be easily proved if you look at a topic on a poker forum where the question is about a big laydown. Very few people will encourage the idea of making a monster fold. Most will hate it because that's the way they have been taught to think and that's what their conception of proper poker is. Unfortunately this makes many discussions pretty shallow - not many think outside of the box. There are a lot of people are trapped inside the paradigm.

It is important to realize one of the most crucial aspects of poker is adaptation. They say 'never fold a set' or 'don't fold KK pre-flop' - don't be an idiot. No rule can be universally applied to every situation. You make money by playing your hands differently than the rest of the field so the more you generalize, the less your edge will be.

Once we accept that we can start seeing certain situations under a different light, options begin arising in spots which previously seemed automatic. A good example would be the min-raise - a play that was notoriously characteristic to be almost exclusively that of a fish. Now it's not all that uncommon to see players min-raising continuation bets in high stakes games. Another nice example of a play that in the past was almost always labeled to be that of a fish - open-limping the button heads up. Now it is successfully employed by players such as durrrr and cts.

There are no golden rules in poker. The answer to virtually any poker question is 'it depends' (as dreadful as that phrase might sound sometimes). Don't subscribe to the craze that says you should 'always' do something in poker - think for yourself. You may come to realize that open-limping might be more +EV than raising in specific scenarios and then go on to apply that; that you can limp behind instead of isolating with your suited connector. Maybe you can find a fold with bottom set on a rag flop - and perhaps it is possible to muck KK pre-flop.

Stay open-minded.


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Peace of mind cant be bought.Last edit: 10/04/2008 16:50

Meatball   United States. Apr 07 2008 06:11. Posts 893

Good Read. Thanks Tomson.

One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish 

Silver_nz   New Zealand. Apr 07 2008 06:31. Posts 5647

v nice, gives me hope that i can beat regulars if I think

The72o   Zimbabwe. Apr 07 2008 06:35. Posts 6112

nice one

A Hard Way to Make an Easy Living 

rnbsalsa88   United States. Apr 07 2008 06:46. Posts 821

Great article Tomson. You're dead on. There is way too much rigid thinking in poker.

United We Sit 

kimseongchan   United States. Apr 07 2008 07:02. Posts 2089

great article, reminds me of why I like this game so much (other than the money), there is no a "perfect" way to play

Joe   Czech Republic. Apr 07 2008 07:11. Posts 5987

I realised this when I started playing live more often. When you 1-table live you have so much more info that you can easily make decisions that would be considered sick bad by online multitabling grinders.

there is a light at the end of the tunnel... (but sometimes the tunnel is long and deep as hell) 

Yugless    United States. Apr 07 2008 07:39. Posts 7174

great article

Baal - look is talking hah.  

Jelle   Belgium. Apr 07 2008 08:11. Posts 3476

tomson u r really good at this =) wp sir


YoMeR   United States. Apr 07 2008 08:38. Posts 12435

  On April 07 2008 06:11 Joe wrote:
I realised this when I started playing live more often. When you 1-table live you have so much more info that you can easily make decisions that would be considered sick bad by online multitabling grinders.

yea you start doing crazy shit that you've never dreamed of in online poker. and it's not only the fact that you're 1 tabling. It's the fact that they are there in person and that makes for soooo much more information. so most good players would obviously take the exploitive approach rather than the optimal one.

eZ Life. 

BLo01   Canada. Apr 07 2008 08:49. Posts 298

Thank you very much!

ukfan81   United States. Apr 07 2008 08:56. Posts 139

Finally......some support for my thread, mucking KK preflop at 25/50!!!!!!!!

Roman    United States. Apr 07 2008 09:21. Posts 590

deep stuff

Roman    United States. Apr 07 2008 09:21. Posts 590

  On April 07 2008 07:56 ukfan81 wrote:
Finally......some support for my thread, mucking KK preflop at 25/50!!!!!!!!

combined ur opponents didnt have a card higher than 9 in their hand ahahaha

Bejamin1   Canada. Apr 07 2008 10:00. Posts 7042

Spot on Sir.

Sorry dude he Jason Bourned me. -Johnny Drama 

Darki   Peru. Apr 07 2008 10:16. Posts 687

nice read tomson actualizado 2013!! 

milkman   United States. Apr 07 2008 12:29. Posts 5719

i fold kk ALL DAY*!*

Its hard to make a easy buck legally, its impossible to make a easy buck morally. 

Highcard   Canada. Apr 07 2008 13:30. Posts 5428

good read and definitely true

I have learned from poker that being at the table is not a grind, the grind is living and poker is how I pass the time 

BenGb   Canada. Apr 07 2008 13:41. Posts 421

nice read, thats a good thing to remind.


k2o4   United States. Apr 07 2008 14:02. Posts 4803

  On April 07 2008 05:46 rnbsalsa88 wrote:
Great article Tomson. You're dead on. There is way too much rigid thinking in poker.

yep, agreed. Really nice read =) 


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