Poker is a hard game to conquer, of that there is no doubt. It’s a game of skill and manipulation, predictions and lies, twists and turns which makes it hard to win. Hard to win, but not hard to play. Play badly, that is. Being the fish is easy. It’s being the shark that’s tricky. As noted Poker Journalist, Mike Sexton, once famously said “Poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master”, which just about sums the game up perfectly.
But there are other work arounds that can help would be grinders. Games, strategy based, that require skills that are transferable to the virtual felt and can help you enjoy high wins at online poker. There are lots of these game types out there, available and ready to play but I wish to concentrate on just one; League of Legends.
League of Legends, hence forth referred to as LOL, is a multiplayer battle based video game, played online. Similar in style, to Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defence of the Ancients and Hearthstone, in LOL, players are tasked with summoning and controlling champions, who each have special abilities. As you might expect, the point is to use these skilled champions to battle against other players. In classic mode, the aim of the battle is to crush the rival team’s nexus by winning a series of strategical matches and unlocking items, monies and abilities.
Successful LOL players tend to play the long game. Try not to worry about losing one battle, it’s a war, there is plenty of time left. In fact, if anything, maybe it will loosen your opponent’s concentration and he’ll let his guard down. In the same way, the worst move you can make at a poker table is panicking. If you lose a hand, it doesn’t mean you have to like it, but just accept it. There are always more hands to play. In brief, play the long game and keep your eyes on the bigger prize.
As good as your moves are at LOL, everything can be undone by a periods of poor play. In both games it is advisable for players to identify their weaknesses and eradicate them. It sounds easy I know but, with practise, it can be achieved. It all starts with rooting out your problem plays. Then, and only then, can you begin to fix them. Once you do though, you should reap the rewards in Summoner’s Rift and online poker, where you will begin to “know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em”, as Kenny Rogers might say.
Ok, back to League of Legends. Studying game strategies offline is what is known in the LOL community as theory crafting. The point here is too give yourself an edge. By understanding the finer points of a particular match up, you can create for yourself that edge and, what’s more, there are plenty of online resources for crafting such strategies. Just as there are with poker.
Finally keep a look out for tilt; recognise it coming and stay in control. Good LOL players know when it is time to take a break, allowing themselves time to cool off, refresh and hit the reset button. Staying alert to tilt is yet another transferable skill to poker. In fact, tilt is a poker term, described as an emotional state which makes you play worse than you normally would.
If you can remember and apply the above to the virtual felt, then you can do very well in online poker. There are many successful players across the world right now thanks to the boom in online poker. This occurred in 2003 when the aptly named Chris Moneymaker won a satellite entry into the WSOP main event and walked away a millionaire. Since then, people the world over have flooded online poker rooms in their search for a similar outcome and, while this is possible, most are quickly found out to be fish, nothing but chum for the party of sharks enjoying the feeding frenzy. If you have a decent level of poker ability, find yourself a little fish tank and go for swim, who knows, maybe you could pick off a few flounders yourself.
Online poker rooms today are well regulated so you have no worries about safety and security and customer service is normally provided around the clock. Most of the rooms offer real or play money options and with such a huge market place, poker rooms are regularly creating new games built loosely on poker. While the rooms have different trademarked events, most of the bigger sites that control their own software offer lottery style games, where the prize pool is randomly generated. 888poker’s Blast and PokerStars’ Zoom, are fast games where players play from a massive pool of tables and players. In all though, it is still Texas Hold’em that is the most popular game in online poker and a great place to put your new found skills into practise.