Starting in 2003 with Chris Moneymaker qualifying for the World Series of Poker from a PokerStars Satellite tournament, online players are coming to dominate the fields of the WSOP in Las Vegas more and more. 2008 is no exception, with many online poker sites sending players to the WSOP through qualifying tournaments.
Site like Full Tilt and Bodog are sending hundreds of entrants between them, and PokerStars this year will send over 2000 players to the WSOP with over 1700 already qualified as of this writing. With these kind of numbers it is no wonder that an ever expanding number of players are learning the game and honing their skills by playing internet poker.
Playing Texas Hold’em online offers all kinds of benefits that players will never find in live casino games. Starting with obvious advantages like not having to travel or sit in a smoke filled room, there are many tools available to online players to perfect their game.
First, you can play internet poker whenever you want. If you want to play at 3 a.m. you can find competition. If you want to play first thing in the morning before you even put clothes on, you will find games available. More importantly, you can play for FREE.
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Forget about playing for money. Forget about spending your hard earned cash to accumulate the necessary skills to compete with the pros in Vegas. You can register with most any online poker site, including PokerStars, Full Tilt, Bodog, Doyles Room, Sportsbook and PlayersOnly and play in “play” money games.
It does not cost you a cent to get started learning the game. You can be a total novice and start playing Texas Hold’em immediately. More importantly, you do not have to spend money and you do not have to sit at a table with other people feeling dumb because they have played for years and you are just starting. This is an incredible advantage that you should jump on right away if you have ambitions of sitting down at the green felt tables in Vegas someday and playing alongside the pros.
No other game of skill besides poker offers you the opportunity to learn and then play with the pros that you see on ESPN today. I will guarantee you that you can play all the golf you want, you are not going to tee off at the Masters with Tiger Woods next year. You can, however, learn to play Texas Hold em and find yourself next to Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey in the WSOP Main Event. It happens to other players every year.
In the old days of poker, online players were not taken seriously. They were not given the same respect of the old pros who had been playing live games for 50 years. No longer. Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer, and Jerry Chan have changed that by winning the WSOP Main Event in the last several years, pocketing millions of dollars in the process.
One of the advantages of learning to play online is that you can accelerate your learning curve as fast as you want to. Think about it. If you are a “live” player, you have to seek out games in casinos and they will only exist at certain times on certain nights.
As an online player, you can play as much as you want any time day or night. This is a tremendous advantage.
The internet game also moves much more quickly than the Texas Hold’em games dealt in a bricks-n-mortar casino. This means you are dealt many more hands, giving you that many more situations to experience.
What these two facts translate to is literally years of poker experience compacted into a very small amount of time. You could see more hands and experience more poker in online games in a week than you might see in 3 months playing in live games. This gives online players a tremendous edge.
Couple this with all the tools available to online players, from the ability to take notes, see your statistics, to online poker odds calculators. At the click of a mouse you can see how many hands you have played, how many flops you have seen, how many hands you won at showdown, and whether or not you were as much of a favorite in the hand as you thought you were. You can improve your game at an incredibly rapid pace compared to trial and error methods previously employed by poker players in “live” games.
Plus, you learn how to bet, how to check, how to raise, and if you are a total novice what hands win. All without having to study books and feel dumb when you make a mistake at the table. And again, it is free. You can gain all of this experience playing online poker for free. Why wouldn’t you want to play?
Once you start putting all these fact together it becomes easy to see why online players are dominating the WSOP more and more with each passing year. Internet poker is here to stay and never before have players had such easy exposure to learning the game and also the tools to improve at an incredibly accelerated rate.