This trick is useful mainly for SnG (sit and go / single table) tournaments, which are notoriously quick to fill up. Many times, you'll see "Wtng for 5 players" as the table status, but when you click on the game, it will have already started. This is due to the table status not updating quickly, which you can force by clicking between tabs. Of note however, is that Party Poker has recently upped the refresh rate of the tables substantially, so this isn't a major issue like it used to be.
I cannot stress this enough. So much so that I will be writing an article on how to take some good notes in the future (updated: Player Notes page now up). While you always want to be paying attention to how people are playing, in online poker, players are always coming and going, which doesn't give you time to feel them out. Taking notes cam help you when you play these opponents again. Even if you aren't going to play this person it again, taking notes makes it much easier to keep a mental track of how each player plays and what to expect from them. The big things to note are: smart or stupid, aggressive or passive, tight or loose, straight up or bluffs, bets out a draw or not and what kind of hands do they play or pre-flop raise with. Yes, this is a lot of information to note, but it will help you in the long run.
This tip is probably debatable by many of the players out there. In my opinion, unless you know what you are doing, this tactic will save you money in the long run by letting you not only get mentally prepared for the game, but also gives you invaluable time to evaluate your opponents. The worst thing that can happen is to get dealt a strong hand early and then get caught in a massive raising war between two players you don't know. They could be two maniacs for sure, but what if one of them is a maniac and the other player is super-tight? Most likely, that super tight player is holding the nuts while you are bumbling by with top pair or two pair. Not a good move. So be patient, take notes in the meanwhile and save money in the long run.
It's no secret that us humans work better using more of our senses, otherwise we wouldn't have been born the way we are. Yes, it may get annoying to hear the dinks, beeps and chip sounds of the game after awhile, but hearing those audible cues are vital to your play. You are much less prone to make mistakes when you can hear and see what people are doing, as opposed to just seeing it. For me, I notice it helps my timing when I am trying to figure out if I am onto a online tell or not, based on the delay during the other person's actions.
This is really just a general poker tip, but it still nabs even the poker pros at times. At Party Poker, if you find that you are being outplayed, outclassed or just unlucky at the table, it's ok to leave. Don't think about getting your money back or getting revenge on the person that river'd you for the 3rd time now. If you are losing money at your table, you do NOT have good table image no matter what you might think. Not only are you not in a good mood, which puts you on tilt (admit it or not), but other players will be more likely to make plays against you. This makes your game harder in more ways than you want. With so many tables at Party Poker, just get up and go, it's that easy.
I can't stress this enough if the game gets short-handed (6 or less players) and you are not familiar with short-handed play. This is an easy way to lose a lot of cash if you don't know what you are doing. I see this happen all the time, when a table breaks up and I'm stuck with two solid players and three guys who don't realize they are about to get run over. Don't be road kill when all it takes is a single click.
If you've been doing your homework, you'll know that you should always sit in with at minimum 20 times the big blind at any poker table. In the realities of online poker, this should be more along the lines of at least 40 times the BB. Personally, I like to sit down with practically 100x the BB. You should think about doing this too. Why? First, don't ever be in the position of holding the nuts and not having enough money to raise the pot. I've seen this happen too many times, where a guy will have flopped a full house in a $3/6 game, but only have $12 in his bankroll. He could have made a killing if it weren't for the fact he was playing with a small stack.
If you are worried about losing your money, you should stop playing poker, switch tables or take a break. Second reason to buy more than is necessary, is for intimidation factor. Opinions may differ, but faced off against a big stack, my feelings are that a good amount of players (but not all) show a bit more respect (read: fear) and will play accordingly - which is to your benefit. Now, don't read this as buying in for $1,000 in a $1/2 game, because then people will think you are just nuts, but $400.. now we're talking.
This isn't as much a trick as it is advice. The $5 sit and go tournaments on Party Poker are cheap, but at a price. With a $1 entry fee, this amounts to a 20% rake, which is no light task to beat. If you are good enough to win enough $5 tournaments that you can beat this rake, you are good enough to be playing at the $10 tournaments. There really is no difference between the two; and in my opinion, the $10 tournaments might even be easier because you don't get filled out tables of nothing but calling stations. Try as you might and throw the book of poker at me, but there almost nothing humanly possible you can do at an entire table of maniacs or calling stations. The game makes more sense at $10 and even more sense at $30.
This may sound like some paranoid or strange advice, but it never hurts to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your computer and poker information. Anti-virus software of course is nice, but in reality isn't as much a threat as spy ware or Trojans. I recommend getting Ad-Aware 6, which is a very popular (and free!) spy ware killer that will thoroughly clean your system out of tracking junk on your computer. Firewall software is great too and highly recommended. Windows XP comes built in with it's own firewall that you can enable, but other software like Black Ice defender are even better. Chances are nobody will be coming after you for your poker passwords, but why chance it?
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