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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Wednesday, 14 June 2006
About online poker.
Topic: Poker
I get a lot of requests for my view on the alleged fixing of hands in online poker. Here is what I had to say about it two years ago:

I haven't changed my mind since.

But there is another point I want to make while I'm here. And that's that No Limit cash poker is different when played online rather than live, though not for the reasons that most people give. I'm not referring to the fact that people might be less embarrassed to make bad calls when they can't be seen or that there are no tells.

It's the stack sizes.

If I play at the Vic, I will typically start with about £400. Given that the big blind is £3, that's approx 133 big blinds. Others are sitting down with a grand or more. That's 333 big blinds.

Contrast this with the situation on Victor Chandler for instance where you can only sit down with 75 big blinds, or most other sites where the limit is 100 and many people sit down with a lot less. It's a totally different game. The shallowness of the money means that it's 'best-in, best-out' poker. The implied odds aren't there if you want to play unusual cards in raised pots. They do exist however at the Vic.

I have a friend who wins at online SNG. He wins at live cash. But he loses at online NL cash games. And that's because the stack sizes don't suit his style. In live play, he sits with about 500 big bets and plays some wacky cards. In SNG, he plays tight when the blinds are small, but aggresively later on when they are worth winning. But in online NL cash action he's stuck. The money isn't deep enough to reward taking risks with non-premium hands, but the blinds are not worth stealing like they are in an SNG. Add in the fact that winners tend to 'hit and run' in online play because they were only planning to play for short periods anyway and you have a recipe for disaster for those who can't play tight.

He's not alone. There are bound to be plenty of others like him. And many of them bombard forums with the 'I can win live but not online, it must be rigged' blather.

_ DY at 9:47 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006 10:47 AM BST
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