How to Play Online Poker

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This represents, clearer than I could have expected, the dynamics of the online heads up poker community. There are two classes of players, professional high volume and recreational low volume , or as players call them, sharks and fishes. Sharks spend most of their time playing with eating! This analogy is pervasive in online poker, and can inspire some interesting advertising campaigns ….

1. Study all aspects of the game

Classifying players as professional or recreational shark or fish could be a valuable feature in determining the most profitable time to play. We have a few features available to make a blunt classification ROI and game count , a deeper look at the internal play rate of high volume players may give some hint as to how we should use those features for example by setting an ROI threshold for being considered a shark. To investigate the circumstances of the internal play rate for the high volume players I constructed a pairwise matrix of games played between each combination of the top 20 players by profit and top 20 by games played.

The resulting set is 25 players, showing a high overlap between the two groups. All players in the set have played over games. Despite this, they all play almost no games with each other. Such small game counts between the most frequent players, who are all but one winners, demonstrates that most winning players make an active effort to avoid playing with each other. From this set of players, there is one player who plays a large number of games against the rest, despite such strong opponents their ROI is not much lower than the sunk cost rake associated with each game.

This player is of a similar skill level to his opponents but experiences low returns due to the higher skill level of said opponents. This dynamic is best illustrated with a network graph:. The stronger players have almost no interactions with each other, and very few interactions with the weaker players in the group. Another way to visualise this is in terms of interactions with the red node.


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Here we start to see the reality in the life of a professional heads up player…. Professional players make an active effort to avoid playing each other, this is an unwritten agreement between a group of players that precedes the sample of games in this study. To enter this group of professionals, players must prove themselves by playing existing professionals in the group — to improve their chances of success they focus their efforts on the weaker existing professionals. And what incentivises the weaker professionals to defend their territory?

Unfortunately for these players, poker is not just about poker, it also involves effectively managing adversarial and mutually beneficial relationships with a view to managing the fish to shark ratio and in turn, their bottom lines. This probably goes a long way to explaining why my friendships in poker rarely last beyond the point of being mutually beneficial. Unlike tournament players who win or lose a small amount from many different players, making it hard to develop a grudge or adversaries, I have often been in the position where I have taken, or had taken from me, 5 figure sums from a single player, sometimes in a single day!

Taking this back to the original question, what is the best most profitable time to play, if we can classify players as professional and recreational, shark and fish, we can remove instances of shark vs shark from the game count per hour time series, transforming it from games per hour to games per hour including at least one fish.

I also created an additional feature, the number of games played per hour online, for every player in the data. This showed that likely sharks generally had a higher game count per hour than fish, which could be useful when classifying edge cases. Time to pull out some clustering algorithms? Unfortunately not! I gave it a try but attempts to cluster this unlabelled data eventually ended with me manually reviewing the clusters and altering them where I considered them not reflective of my own estimations based on my years of experience. The final classification method I used was a decision tree I created myself, with all players being classified with just a few nodes, as follows:.

This is quite a blunt classification scheme and undoubtedly a few players have been misclassified, but it will suffice for this analysis.

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Playing online poker at partypoker is easy and safe, plus it only takes a few minutes to get started. Ignition is a popular option for players in the United States. Licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Bovada is one of the oldest online poker sites servicing America. Bovada offers anonymous tables and a mobile-optimized design allowing play on all mobile platforms.

BetOnline is the newest online poker site for American players. This site is part of the BetOnline group which includes a well-known and reputable Sportsbook as well as an online casino. BetOnline launched their poker room in and has quickly become one of the largest US accepted poker rooms on the market. Get a new hand every time you fold in this fast-paced game.

Join Sportsbetting. Intertops Poker is fully licensed by Curacao and the Netherlands Antilles and offers a wide variety of cash game and online poker tournaments. Their software is available as both a PC downloadable client and a mobile-optimized web version.

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They are a popular room because they readily accept American players and offer a wide variety of online payment options including Bitcoin. Black Chip Poker is a legally licensed online poker real money site for US players. The poker room provides a variety of tournaments including the Million Dollar Sunday tournaments. Each casino site provides players with a special bonus and have the ability to process poker deposits. The list below covers the main factors to consider when choosing an online gambling or online poker real money USA site.

It is important to choose a site which works for your experience level and skills. If you are a recreational player, who enjoys the occasional casino game and casual poker game, then your requirements are different from those of a multi-tabling pro grinder.

A great online poker site has a good selection of poker games featuring a wide variety of buy-ins and game combination. The Winning Poker Network, poker and partypoker, for instance, regularly runs large poker tournaments, while online poker players can easily find high limit poker cash games at site such as Bovada and Ignition.

When visiting an online gambling news or poker news sites, focus on those real money poker reviews based upon first-hand experience. This will show in comments about navigating through the menus, the softness or otherwise of the games — and other small features. Welcome bonuses are good for boosting your initial bankroll.

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However, different poker site have different bonus ratings, with these bonuses then varying in their size, as well as terms of satisfaction. Furthermore, your welcome bonus will typically expire after 30 to 60 days, so make sure your site offers subsequently offers ongoing rakeback, loyalty schemes and regular promos.

The three basic poker formats are cash games, poker tournaments and Sit n Goes. Needless to say, choosing the biggest sites also means more games and a wider variety of stakes to enjoy. Check the poker room has an online gambling license before depositing at any online poker real money USA site. After all, licensed legal online poker sites are required to adhere to the strictest legislation and operating standards.