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I was wondering if you would share any tales, tips, and observations that you have made since you've been playing online at Paradise Poker.

Funny you should ask.

I haven't played all that much online lately, because the day after I posted that I took some major, major hits to the tune of practically all of my "online" bankroll, about $700.

Only about $300 of it was from the full $3-$6 and $5-$10 Hold'em ring games; the other $400 or so was from playing heads-up $3-$6 Hold'em.

I felt especially silly after I had called online Poker, with the 10% chip purchase bonus, a "no lose" situation. Of course, the "no lose" refers to the perspective of expectation, and playing Poker entails the possibility of negative outcomes, as the Universe likes to remind me from time to time. :-)

A couple of observations:

1. The $3-$6 Hold'em games in which I played online were among the tightest $3-$6 games I've ever played in my life. The players weren't all that good, just generally tight. And there were a few fish at the tables - people who would call my pre-flop raise cold with Kh 4h, for example. And some others who would draw to 2-outers. But overall, there wasn't much action relative to "live" $3-$6 games in which I've played.

And there was this really big sucker named "heihojin."

2. My heads-up opponents were terrible. And again, the Universe decided to reward their ridiculous play with the gift of my chips. Now, my heads-up play isn't as strong as my full-table play (mainly because I don't get the opportunity to play heads-up nearly as much), but I'm good enough to know what constitutes solid play in a heads-up match. These guys were simply awful, and they nailed me but good.

3. Playing online is certainly different; I'm not sure whether I "enjoy" it more than playing live. My favorite part of playing online is that I can cuss and scream at my opponent all I want; it's nice not having to bite my tongue. However, there is something to be said for the physical experience of playing live. It was strange betting without the tactile sensation of the chips in my fingers.

4. I found it more difficult to study my opponents online. During the course of a live game, I am actively observing every hand, studying my opponents as they play. I found it far more difficult to do so online, probably because it's easier to associate memories with an actual person than with a mere screen name. I also miss out on the benefit of subconsciously absorbing their non-verbal behavior and mannerisms ("tells" if you will) that occasionally contribute to a sudden flash of insight I might have during a hand, from which I might be able to profit more. Online, the only potential tell is the time lapse between players' actions, and then there is no guarantee that this is a tell; it may simply be a product of network conditions.

5. The next time Paradise Poker runs a chip purchase promotion, I'll almost certainly bite again. I will likely restrict my play to full-table $3-$6 or $5-$10 games, primarily because I want to give my online bankroll a better chance of lasting longer (that, and I've got a bad taste in my mouth). The fewer number of players at the table, the bigger the potential swings, and heads-up play gives the biggest. Heads-up play against loose, aggressive players gives the biggest swings of all.

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