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Thursday, June 19, 2008 

Tools of the Trade - Online Poker - Part 1

Most live tournament players along with cash players have a routine. That may involve pregame mind warm ups, meditation, whatever. When the action starts, these players try to be as prepared as possible. When play begins, their various routines continue as they make calculations on their opponents, making reads, making mental notes on every possible thing. Problem here though, the average live player can only retain so much information and apply it properly in various poker situations. The better players are often able to retain far more information and use it to their advantage.

The point I'm making here is that online players have a huge advantage when it comes to the various tools available to them while playing. Sure, you can make text notes on players on every site you play at, but what do you put in that note field? "this guy's a douche and uber donkey"? Sure, in some cases, this would be the perfect note. But there is so much more information and tools out there you can use to add to that note field. I'll be talking about notes and how to get the inside scoop on your opponent in Part 2.

Today, I want to share the following tool I use every day, during every poker session:

Problem I was having is one I'm sure a lot of online players have. I'm a multi-tasking fool when I'm playing online. I might be playing 3 tables, while reading digg.com, getting my latest Apple info at tuaw.com, and watching TV. Plus, I might be having a "discussion" with my wife, my dogs may need to go out, etc. Yes, I'm borderline, ADD and strangely enough, this is my "downtime". I find this to be relaxing. A long time ago I wrote an article about limiting your distractions. I've sung this tune before. But even though I preach, "limit your distractions", I'm still horrible at following my own advice. This is where netvibes has helped me out.

What is Netvibes?
Simply put, it's a custom home page. It lets you add widgets, tools, content, blog feeds, etc. You can then organize it in any way you like. You can put your blogs on one tab, while your daily gossip sits on another.

How do I specifically use Netvibes relative to poker?
Admitedly, I have a lot of content that has nothing to do with poker. But what I did here is create a tab and tittled it "Poker Survival Guide". Under this tab, I added a widget called Webnote. Webnote lets me add little boxes wherein I can add whatever content I like. For instance, let's say I have a very specific strategy I want to recall when I find myself deep in a tournmant. I simply cut and paste this material into this little box and it's there for my viewing pleasure any time I open this tab.

Currently, I have 12 content boxes under my survival guide tab which covers everything from an "M Zone Guide" to "Deep Tournament Strategy" to "Useful Poker Links" to "Inspirational Poker Quotes". So, how exactly does this limit my distractions while playing? It keeps me focused. I have everything I need in one place. I don't have to randomly search the internet to keep me engaged. This allows me to remain focused on poker, the tools I have in my arsenal, etc. I can also add new things to it on the fly. I often have great friends on the rail that I speak to during a session. When they drop little nuggets of wisdom, I capture that gem and add it to this page. It's great. How often do you coverse with friends about various hands? You can't remember every good point made during these talks. Use Netvibes and have all of these points in your tool box next time you play.

In a way, this is almost turning into my poker diary. While I still concentrate on making notes on my opponents and studying my table, the information I have on Netvibes just extends my capabilities. I even find myself pulling up my page on my iPhone while playing live. I highly recommend you check it out. Let me know if you find it useful and if you do, how you set it up.

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