These days, poker enthusiasts have a greater variety of options to enjoy their hobby: from visiting a casino to installing a desktop game or playing against friends using a mobile app. While these are very popular options, the recent growth in online poker popularity didn’t happen simply because people couldn’t go to a casino during lockdown. In fact, there are many advantages to playing poker online, among which we can find the following:
Limited Social Interactions
One of the best advantages of playing poker online is that you don’t have to worry about the other players trying to read your body language in order to find out your strategy. The games are simply played through avatars and your moves are limited to the basic actions of the game like folding, calling, or raising a bet, which is all your opponents will have to try to predict your hand. On top of that, games offer different ways to communicate with other players, like written messages, as well as video and voice chat. Those feeling confident enough to try these options will have to invest in webcams and gaming microphones. But this is entirely up to the player and is by no means a requirement.
More Game Variety
The variety of apps available is important not only because of the ability to limit or customize our social interactions. They also offer features that may appeal to different players. Some apps have minimalistic interfaces while others add some beautifully designed graphics and animations. Some even fill the screen with multiple minigames, rewards, and cosmetic items for the players looking for more stimulating experiences. And while most games use touch-screen controls, World Poker Tour designed its controls to resemble real-world poker gestures, like double-tapping to check or flicking the cards to fold.
Ability to Choose When and Where to Play
For most people, starting a game session requires booting up a computer or console, and then going through the slow process of launching a game (that is if there isn’t a pending update that has to be downloaded and installed). Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to play, but apps offer us the ability to quickly start and end a game, which can be particularly convenient when we only have precious minutes to spare. This also applies to location, as with mobile apps a game can be started while waiting in a coffee shop, commuting to work, or sitting in our favorite chair at home.
Angle Shoots Are Not an Issue
Poker also has a couple of unwritten rules that other players and the dealer expect you to respect. The breaking of these unwritten rules is known as an angle shoot, and trying one can lead to a penalty or even being kicked out of the poker room. Players, for example, have to make their chips’ denomination and numbers visible, so the rest can make a good judgment on their performance. In addition, players have to refrain from claiming they have a better hand than what they actually hold, or pushing chips forward during their turn without first verbally indicating their bet. Such a move could make the dealer rule that no bet took place.
Experience is a decisive factor in poker games. It’s so important in fact that beginners frequently find themselves sitting at a table with what appears to be other inexperienced players, only to realize later on that they were experts trying to take advantage of beginners. One way to avoid this is by trying to assess the skill level of the opponents, which is in itself an ability that has to be developed. To make it harder for more experienced players to take advantage of beginners, some online poker games allow users to switch tables as soon as they fold. This is called a sit-n-go game and it allows players to quickly try a table and leave without having to stay for a few rounds.
Poker games will never replace the experience of visiting a casino, sitting in a luxurious poker room, and interacting with other players. However, games can improve upon certain aspects of the experience, like making the game less socially demanding, more flexibility in regards to when and where to play, and, more importantly, protecting players from misunderstanding angle shoots. This explains why the number of online players has not only grown but also why it will probably stay relatively high long after the pandemic is gone.