Today’s online poker
world is distinctly different from what it was five years ago. At the turn of the millennium, very little information regarding online
gaming was available, and much of what little could be found was often misguiding or incorrect. After Chris Moneymaker’s win in the 2003
World Series of Poker Main Event and subsequent discovery that this “newcomer” had won his seat via an online satellite tournament at
PokerStars, Online Poker Forums began to satisfy a growing demand for virtual poker resources.
Online Poker Forums serve many purposes; not the least of which is serving the poker industry by promoting it. Sites
sometimes specialize in certain forms or venues of the game, such as “live poker”, “online tournament poker”, “bonus
whoring”, etc. However, the main attraction of these forums to a poker player is their abundance of poker-related
information. It’s not always easy to go up to a well-known poker player (or a complete stranger) and ask for poker advice.
If you hang around a card room and ask a random person “How should I play pocket pairs after the flop?” you’re more likely
to receive some bad beat story rather than sound advice. Forums allow you to anonymously sign up for an account (usually
free), and begin to “post” on any subject of your choice.
Navigating around a poker forum can be a bit difficult for someone with no experience, but the learning curve for basic
forum use is often well under an hour. It is common for one site to have various “Forums” that are titled “Texas Holdem”,
“Omaha”, “Stud”, etc. Or perhaps you might find another site with categories including non-poker discussion. A new member to
an online poker forum should make a point to post in the correct forum – and avoid an unpleasant experience of getting a
negative response from a number of long-time posters on that site.
There are a few general “Do’s and Don’ts” for new forum members. You should attempt to post in the correct forum, be polite
when replying to other members’ questions or opinions, and adhere to the forum’s rules, which are usually posted and
available for all members to read. You should NOT attempt to degrade other members, be dishonest about and/or alter a hand
history once you discover you’re not happy with the advice you’re receiving, and you should never use forums to beg for
money (unless otherwise stipulated in a certain forum’s rules).
That being said, don’t be surprised if it takes a short while in order to receive responses to any questions you make. New
forum posters are sometimes disappointed when they ask big-name players to respond to a question like “How do I play…?” Or a
new poster may get immediately upset when someone replies with a different opinion, or worse, a rude response. Online forums
in general contain plenty of unhelpful advice and mean-spirited retorts… it’s up to you to sift through and ignore what
isn’t helpful in order to find what you’re seeking.
Once you’ve posted consistently on a forum for a few weeks, you may find that your e-Reputation has taken a turn for the
better. Once you’ve gotten to a point where you receive a few serious answers to your questions (or serious replies to your
opinions), you can branch out into other topics and form a part of whichever “community” that forum represents. You may even
have the opportunity to send Private Messages to those members who reside in your geographical area… allowing you to make new
poker friends and perhaps even begin discussing poker
strategy in person and/or participate in home games.
If you’re having trouble deciding which forum to join or post in, a quick Google Search of “online poker forums” should
provide you with a more than adequate list of sites to choose from. As long as one has thick “e-Skin”, a new poster has a
reasonable chance of acquiring information and receiving replies to his/her posts. Many forum posters have been turned off
by the constant barrage of negativity and senseless responses that are commonplace in any online forum (whether it’s poker
or any other subject matter). Just ignore the negative aspects of communicating with total strangers, and concentrate on
embracing those posters who are respectful and receptive.
All in all, online poker forums provide a huge potential value to an aspiring poker player. Signing up for a free account at a few
forums could lead you to new ideas and a higher level of poker education. Many top-notch poker players credit the information available
in online poker forums for taking their games to a new level. Just remember the guidelines mentioned above and you’ll be enjoying a
brand new experience in no time.