My very first experience with Yahoo Games.

Now, my very first experience of Online Poker came many years ago in a dingy part of the internet called Yahoo Games. Via my E-Mail address, I could wager my accumulated points from digitally hustling on the pool tables against up to ten people playing a stripped back version of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker and I thought it was the best thing I had ever encountered in my short existence.

Fast forward a decade (or two nearly), and I’ve played the same game only for much, much higher stakes all over the midland part of England with varying degrees of success thanks to two things Yahoo Games never could’ve taught me – how to maintain a Pokerface and how to recognise a tell.

These fundamentals of playing Poker can’t be taught playing online, there’s no way we can all get together with our webcams and play Poker through an Online Casino – it’d annihilate a lot of the customer base who would rather not appear on camera for a start, never mind those who rely on Online Poker not having access to their awful Pokerfaces.

So what does Online Poker teach you? Well, it teaches you to monitor betting patterns which you’ll have a very hard time learning on the real tables because you’ll spend too much time watching your opponent’s habits to even notice the slight reduction in raise from the last hand indicating they have a great hand but want everyone to match them to maximise the pay out.

Online Poker has evolved a lot since the shady days of Yahoo Games and the fledgling days of the Online Casinos but it’s still the same game with improved graphics and glossy backdrops that immerse you into the game a little more – what else has it done to improve?

Well, Online Poker now offers you a few tools you’ll never have access to at the tables. Not only can you backtrack through hands; basically a hands free guide to card counting, you can look at other player’s profiles to see their winnings/losses and even details on their betting averages – it’s essentially giving you all the information you need to adapt your game!!

One such handy tool is the Independent Chip Model calculator. You might not find it on the Casino itself, but a quick google search and you’ll soon find one. Basically, these clever little programs work out chip value in terms of real money to work out an expected value of the overall winning pay out.

Why would you want this? I’d do anything to have this at the table for real! If you consider a game with five players and a £1,000 prize pool – you need to work out what your share will be for winning and how much the stacks are worth at any one time. Then you know who to encourage to bet against you – clever right?