It really is only around 20 years since the dawn of the internet. Now we can’t imagine a world without it. But one of the biggest surges in popularity was the poker world. The online poker generation was born in the early 2000s and by 2003 online players had their first WSOP Main Event winner in Chris Moneymaker.
Since then the number of online entries into the tournaments has been stratospheric. The number of players who cut their teeth by learning how to play poker online has been phenomenal. And many have had some deep finishes over the years.
At least three players who have already won bracelets would come under the umbrella of being an online player. Although British pro Praz Bansi, winner of a $1,500 no-limit Hold’em event, now plays predominately live poker, he first started to play poker online before the lure of big money live tournaments became too much.
Simon Watt, a New Zealand based player stated that he mainly plays online. The experiences gained from playing a large number of hands helped him win another of the $1,500 no-limit Hold’em events. And that was a tournament where he had to defeat the iconic online poker star Tom Dwan in a heads-up. But he still managed to win his first WSOP bracelet.
Another British pro who has won a WSOP bracelet is James “Flushy” Dempsey. He said in his final table bio that he prefers to play pot-limit Omaha cash games online. And that the majority of his income stems from playing online poker from the comfort of his own home.
There is an age-old debate that is still raging where the online poker players say they are better than their live counterparts and vice versa. Whilst the live players have the advantage over physical tells and reads, the online players are much more used to navigating huge fields in tournaments.
Thanks to the ability to play multiple tables simultaneously, many of the big name online players have played many more hands and tournaments in just a couple of years than some of the big live players have in their entire careers.
Of course, the downside of only playing poker online is that you don’t know if you have any tells! Sitting on your couch playing poker on your laptop will hone your strategy and skill. But could you be giving away far more than you realise? How much of your success is luck rather than skill?
So while the practice from actually playing the game online is essential, nothing really beats the experience in the real world. Yes, the online poker generation is here to stay. But the very best poker professionals know how to use it along with all of their other skills.