Not long ago, people looking to play poker were stuck with having to look for a live game to get into the action at all. If you were lucky to have a local game available that is. Or you could spend a lot of money travelling to places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or Southern California. Perhaps the game you were playing in wasn't even legal, and could be raided by the police. Or, like the Old West, you could get robbed or even killed at the game. Many of the old time road gamblers have plenty of stories to tell like this.
If you do find a safe game to play at, you've got to be worried about players cheating. There are plenty of stories that have been told about that, running from everything from groups of colluding players, to marked decks, to even surveillance equipment being used to spy on people's hands, with electronic equipment being used to relay the information to collaborating players.
Or maybe you're playing at a home game, where now you've got to deal with taking money from your friends. Poker is not a game for mixed feelings though. You have to be totally ruthless and not a bit concerned about breaking someone. This is very often difficult to do at a home game, not to mention finding one with stakes interesting enough. And one that doesn't have things like dealer's choice, where you could be playing all sorts of crazy variations of poker, most which you won't be very knowledgeable at all at. And you can't really turn anywhere for knowledge of them either. Where are you going to go to learn to master a game like Blind Baseball?
If you find a safe game and a fair game, now you have to deal with travelling to the game, involving both time and expense. You've also got to deal with the particular hours of operation of the room. Once you finally get parked and get to the room, you now have to deal with a pretty limited selection of games, often with a rather lengthy delay on a waiting list. Once you get to sit down, and get your chips, you're not going to be able to change tables very easily if the one you're at isn't to your liking.
You may not even be able to find a game at all to your liking, or one that's within your means. You can't really take notes, because this will make you pretty conspicuous. You certainly can't use powerful weapons like Hold'em Hawk and Poker Edge. Who knows what the rake will be, as the room will have a lot higher overhead than a virtual poker room. And, you've now got to worry about tipping the dealer, whereby virtual dealers aren't real people and don't take tips.
So, with all this, at best playing in live games is a big nuisance, if you're even able to find one at all. Where I live, you have to go almost 1000 miles to get to a live poker game. There's the travel expenses, hotel, meals, and so on even to get to sit down. And that's on top of everything else.
Needless to say, at the very least you're going to have to commit a whole lot of money to this to play poker regularly. And you also have to be quite skilled to even break even, considering all the extra expenses, not to mention a fairly good caliber of opponents you'll be against. They'll be not only watching your play, but your every expression and mannerism, looking for information that may be used against you.
However, luckily we live in the 21st Century, where an easy solution has been found to this mess. Poker has now been brought to the masses, where anyone with a computer and as little as $20 can become involved in real money play. You don't even have to leave the house anymore, so your travel time an expenses are zero. You can play in your pajamas or even naked if you wish. No longer do you have to worry about too high rakes, or tipping the dealer. There's a game available any time you wish, at any hour of the day or night, at virtually any type of game or limit you desire. We sure have come a long way since the old days.
The explosion of poker recently has a lot more to do with the availability of online poker than anything else. Sure, you can watch poker tournaments on TV, but they've always had those. There's a whole lot more of this type of programming now because there are millions more people who actually play the game for real money now. And within those millions lay countless players who aren't very good at all at it. Playing online, the whole world is your oyster so to speak, and you can find exactly the right game with the weakest players any time you want, if you know the proper places to look of course.
You'll now be able to play many more hands per hour than you would in a live card room, and you can even play multiple tables at the same time if you wish. Once you become sufficiently skilled, more hands per hour of course means more money per hour. And sites will even give you generous bonuses for trying them out, which can be a real advantage when looking to build your bankroll and eventually move up to the big stakes. Along the way, I'll be providing to you a list of not only the best places to play but the best bonuses to be had as well.
You can also join and leave tables as you wish, instantly. With just a few mouse clicks, you can be out of the seat you're in now and in another, even at a different site. This maximum flexibility ensures you will always be in the best game at the best table at all times. In addition, you can configure a program like Poker Edge to search across multiple poker rooms to find the most profitable tables for you.
You don't have to worry about tipping other players off with your gestures or expressions either. No one can see you in fact. And not only that, players won't be picking up on your personal style and traits very much, like they would at a live game. Players come and go much too fast, and there's much too many players online as well, for this to be any real concern. However, with Poker Edge you have the ability to dig up so much dirt on every one of your opponents you'll know their play better than they know it themselves.
Another benefit of the online explosion is that Hold'em has become by far and away the most popular game online. Hold'em is perfect actually since it allows for good play to be rewarded maximally. With Hold'em, there is an army of bad players out there who don't have much of an idea what they are doing, other than they are more than willing for you to use your superior skills to take their money. In addition, since Hold'em has been studied so intensely, much more so than any other poker game in existence, there is a wealth of quality information out there on it, including of course this series of lessons designed to benefit you. Many players aren't acquainted with these sound and proven strategies though, greatly increasing your advantage at the table.
When it's all said and done thugh, once again, the main benefit of playing poker online is that this allows you to use powerful and sophisticated software programs like Hold'em Hawk and Poker Edge to gain huge advantages over your opponents. You can't use software at live games of course. You have these powerful weapons, they do not, and you know the direction the money will be flowing consistently and over time. Those in the know, including both strategy and software, have such an advantage over those not in the know, having neither, that it's difficult to even put into words. Of course we still want to be focusing on those least in the know overall, to maximize our advantages, which means more money for us in a given time period of course.