Will Geeks Be the Next Poker Stars?

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

So 22-year-old Peter Eastgate has become the youngest World Series of Poker champion ever. It was also the longest final table in the history of the series, 274 hands in 15 hours and 28 minutes. Though a $9.1 million payday isn’t bad for 15 hours of work.

Like most younger poker players coming onto the scene these days, he got his start online; he decided to make money playing Internet poker rather than going to college. A gutsy choice… or maybe he just knew how good he was. Still, the Internet has become a popular training round ever since the Cinderella story of Chris Moneymaker, who turned a $39 online satellite into a $2.5 million World Series win… his first live and in person tournament ever.

So what I’m wondering is–with these younger, Internet-poker-playing competitors swooping in and stealing the pot from the seasoned pros–does the training of online poker actually give you an advantage? I imagine that to some degree it’s an issue of scale; you can play a heck of a lot more hands from your computer than you can if you have to wait until you can get to Atlantic City on the weekends.

But here’s the geeky rub: if you learn to play online, where there are no tells or body language, do you learn to play the numbers better? Do you get a better feel for the uncluttered probabilities? And if so, could this actually make you a better player? Could geeks take over this sport? How much of poker can you learn, and how much is instinct?

I will add one caveat, though: the difference between playing Internet poker for real money, and playing for “play” money or in a computer game. Computers don’t play like real people, and people playing for peanuts don’t play like real people, either. Though that can be a great way to learn the game, if you sit down at a table with players who have something to lose, you’ll notice the difference very quickly.

Image Source: flickr

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10 Responses to Will Geeks Be the Next Poker Stars?

  1. Well obviously you can play more hands online than in live action games, so you can easily train on playing hands correctly online.

    In live action games you don’t play your cards though, you play your opponents. That’s why I think geeks who rarely play live, will never take over the live (no limit) cash game tables from pros like Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson. Live experience is much more important in those ring games.

    Tournaments like the WSOP is another story: luck is a bigger factor and there are probably more online players than there are “seasoned pros”. So yea, (us) geeks probably have an advantage in those games. :)

    • Ap, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this? I didn’t write this post btw, Casey did, but I’m not sure she’ll understand either. What is so special about tonight? :)

      • Maybe it’s not airing on TV until tonight? :( If so, you can blame USA Today… that’s where I got the story (linked), so I assumed it was common knowledge. (Trust me, I don’t have any poker insider info.)

  2. Well obviously you can play more hands online than in live action games, so you can easily train on playing hands correctly online.

    In live action games you don't play your cards though, you play your opponents. That's why I think geeks who rarely play live, will never take over the live (no limit) cash game tables from pros like Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson. Live experience is much more important in those ring games.

    Tournaments like the WSOP is another story: luck is a bigger factor and there are probably more online players than there are "seasoned pros". So yea, (us) geeks probably have an advantage in those games. :)

    • Ap, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this? I didn't write this post btw, Casey did, but I'm not sure she'll understand either. What is so special about tonight? :)

      • Maybe it's not airing on TV until tonight? :( If so, you can blame USA Today… that's where I got the story (linked), so I assumed it was common knowledge. (Trust me, I don't have any poker insider info.)

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