Five Common Characteristics of Online Poker Players

Everyone who plays online poker isn’t the same. There is no singular type of person that plays a singular game. That would make for a very boring – and possibly creepy – game.

However, there are some qualities that many regular online poker players share.

This isn’t about the people who dabble in many online casino games, including poker, and play purely for fun…with no strategy in mind. There are people who play poker for the sheer enjoyment of it.

But there are other people who are drawn to the game for a variety of reasons. Whether for the strategic or analytic challenges or for the chance to practice certain well-practiced strategies against a range of different opponents, some people are simply meant to play poker.

And they are good at it.

There are many people in the world who simply haven’t discovered their penchants for poker. Check out these characteristics to see if that person is you.

  1. Math-Minded

To gain the upper hand on opponents, a poker player must be able to perform some math functions quickly. Poker becomes a skill game when the player uses math to calculate their outs and odds on a particular hand.

A player who can figure out how many outs they have in a hand will know if the smart move is to bet or fold. For example, if the player is holding two cards to a straight, and there are another two for that straight on the flop, they can use math to figure out how many outs they have. This refers to how many cards could be in the remaining deck that could make that straight.

Players can then calculate pot odds. How much money is in the pot versus how much a player needs to bet to remain in action? Those are the pot odds and dictate whether it is best to stay in the hand or fold.

For the best players, they can also calculate implied odds. That considers the size of the pot, how many outs a player has, and how much the bet needs to be to win.

It can get complicated, but math-oriented players can figure the odds and outs quickly and play smarter.

  1. Analytical

Good online poker players need to be able to analyze hands. The aforementioned math skills are an important part of this.

There are other things to analyze during play as well. Players should be able to watch opponents and take mental notes about their playing habits and styles. Does the player in Seat 1 only bet when in the small and big blind? Does Seat 3 call all the way through the river with bottom pair?

There is also game theory. GTO is a term used by poker players that means game theory optimal play. This requires players to think in terms of odds and outs in each hand as well as their own hand ranges and those of their opponents.

  1. Open to Mental Challenges

Everyone doesn’t like the math component of poker. Playing GTO requires concentration and practice.

A person can only improve their poker skills if they are open to learning strategies, honing their math skills, and consistently being open to analyzing hands. They have to be willing to adjust strategies and use all possible edges to better their gameplay.

If a person simply wants to be entertained or just play poker for fun, there is room for those players! But a person who wants to excel and make money in the long term must be willing to face the challenges that come with the game and work to conquer them.

  1. Patient

Patience is a very important characteristic of a successful online poker player.

Those who play every hand will never will in the long run. They must pick and choose their hands based on a variety of factors: their two cards, position at the table, cost of each round of play, stack of chips in relation to those costs, and characteristics of opponents.

If a person is seated at a table with several loose players who bet out on every other hand to see a flop, a good player must wait for optimal hands in proper position to get involved.

Often, a good player will fold more than half of the hands dealt in each round. That requires patience.

  1. Calm and Level-Headed

One of the worst things a player can do is go on tilt. This can happen when an opponent lucks out to beat the player’s best hand that had the best odds. It can happen when a player loses several hands in a row. Tilt can also be induced by other players needling or talking smack in the chat box, taking too long to act on each hand, etc.

Players must be able to control their emotions and remain calm, or know how to shake off the tilt and get back into the game quickly.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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