Online poker is an evolving arena. Many players who quit years ago are returning to play and finding
things a little different to before. Perhaps they expected it to be the same or there would only be
subtle changes? If you played in the poker boom era and left after the US were cast out, you’d be
forgiven for thinking poker probably shouldn’t change that much? The reality is that it has changed a
lot in recent years. In this post we’re going to share five reasons how it’s changed and what you can
expect if you are returning to play.
1) The standard of online poker play is higher
There is no denying that online poker is tougher than the golden years in the mid 2000’s. Players are
not just donking off their stack without rhyme or reason quite as often. The low stakes players have
a better grasp of the fundamentals. This is unsurprising as players are exposed to more poker
material. They can access more books, websites, poker coaching, software and social media
resources that allow them to play better.
The standard of play being higher means it’s not easy to generate a decent win rate. Players need to
study regularly and dedicate themselves fully to become consistent winners. There are still
thousands of players that know how to make money playing poker, but they are putting in the effort
to earn it.
2) Loads more games in online poker
Another change in recent years has been the diversification of poker formats offered by major poker
sites. Open any poker lobby and just cast your eye over the sheer number of games around. You can
play turbo, hyper turbo, short deck hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha on all the big poker sites. This shift
in focus has meant the poker sites are keeping online poker fresh, relevant and active. It’s not
surprised that online poker had an industry boom in 2020.
With each new game comes opportunity for players to learn a new form and hopefully crush the
competition. Naturally, with each tweak in gameplay there is a shift in strategy required so be
careful before jumping into any poker game! We recommend you read strategy first.
3) Clampdown on HUDs
One positive to come in recent years is the increased prohibition of HUDs. They are software that
allows online players to track key statistics on their opponents. Several years ago, the HUD was
attributed to the decline in poker popularity online. Some sites took notice and, in an effort, to
appeal to recreational players, started clamping down on the use of HUDs. We recommend you look
on a poker site before depositing. Find out if they restrict the use of HUDs or permit it. Those who
allow it are allowing the grinders to increase their edge on the social players.
This move to remove HUDs has had a mixed reaction from professionals but is great for social
players. It means you can compete on a fair playing field. It removes a key weapon professionals
exercise over the rest of the competition is surely a contributing factor to the recent poker boom.
4) Twitch for online poker play streaming
This streaming platform has done wonders to the gaming world in recent years. It’s not only a
platform for streamers to show how they play fortnite – online poker playing is available too. There
are literally thousands of people streaming their poker playing and it seems to resonate with people
Whilst it can be a useful tool to access poker content, we recommend taking advice with a pinch of
salt. The vast majority of those who stream their poker playing on Twitch are only doing so for
entertainment. Many are unlikely to be long-term winners and therefore, their advice and tips
should be taken with caution. Twitch is a great platform for sharing content but there is no criteria
set for someone to stream.
5) Game Theory Optimal & Exploitative Strategy
Finally, we come to the biggest change in recent times. There are two prevailing poker strategies
that are discussed in the poker world – GTO and exploitative. The GTO approach is about finding the
“perfect” way to play poker. It’s a system of playing that means you cannot be exploited. Many
poker coaches adopt this method of training students.
The exploitative strategy is more of a reactive and adaptable brand of poker. Instead of being
unexploitable yourself, it focuses and exploits the weaknesses of other poker players. This way of
playing is more attainable at lower stakes where players are making more mistakes. Whilst the
standard is higher than years ago, the players still have loads of leaks