Online poker seems to level the playing field, bridging the gap between the abilities of the great

and average poker players. Poker has undoubtedly gone through a transitional period in the last decade. The game, once restricted to smoke filled back rooms in bars or casinos has come into the home of any person who wishes to play. Although online poker grew from its inception in 1998 until 2003(ref), it s true potential was not seen until a unknown participant won the 2003 World Series of Poker(WSOP). Chris Moneymaker was an accountant by profession, but after winning a $55 dollar online tournament to qualify for the World Series of Poker, the aptly named Moneymaker won the tournament outright, claiming a prize of $2.5 million. This gave birth to the term The Moneymaker Effect , regarding the boom in people believing they could humble the pros (Goldman, 2007). This surge was assisted the following year by the second online player to win the WSOP, Greg Raymer, netting himself $5 million. Online poker was to become one of the fastest growing uses of the internet, going from a $82.7 million business in 2001 to $2.4 billion business in 2005 (Going All in for Online Poker, 2005) People clearly believed online poker could be a way to easy money, and the poker sites were quick to exploit this. The online poker site PokerStars signed Moneymaker as a spokesperson following his 2003 WSOP victory. The 2006 campaign depicting Moneymaker s pre-WSOP as an average life as an accountant, didn t highlight the fact he was in fact a highly skilled poker player. Although the 2003 WSOP was his first true bricks and mortar tournament, Moneymaker s skills had in fact been chosen by sports handicapper Lou() in the first round as is dark horse to win the tournament (WIKI). Reymer, also contributing to the craze, was in fact a successful player, (ref) Online players continue to try and emulate previous player s success, and many have developed a heightened sense of their own ability. More often than not this is a false evaluation of their ability(ref). The two player s named did well as they were in fact skilled poker players. What online poker gave these men, was access to the tournament, not the ability to win it. Studies had shown that while people believe that online poker is a way to make a quick dollar, the outcome is quite the contrary(ref). Online poker has in fact become an incubator for players believing they are better than they are, with some of the new attributes introduced with the modern medium.

This is choosing a handle or nickname. 1999. 2004).Online poker introduced many new depths to the game. Texas Hold Em poker see s the player betting against another player. Players read information from each other in the most subtle of ways. 2008). However once again this can be a benefit or extremely misleading. the ability to read another player through traditional methods will be greatly reduced. The outstanding problem with this is the method of how this information comes to fruition. or lead to someone placing them in the wrong group from above. 2000). and Aggressive. is often decided by the information made available to other player. cards placed down with high energy hints a good hand. many players put thought into their name. Being able to observe and understand tells gestures and mannerisms that betray what a player is thinking is considered a valued skill (Golder & Donath. These characteristics are combined to create the four common types of poker players: Loose Passive. The handle is the primary item which leads a player towards deciding which of the four poker player types a player belongs to. Where most gambling games involve one placing a bet against the house or casino. Loose Aggressive. This is the name a player chooses when they register for the site initially. . When it is an opponent s turn to place a bet. Although some players may use their real name or think of a nickname on a whim. For example. only subject to availability. Besides gender the handle or avatar a player chooses can imply information of the owning player. Luigi Barone and Lyndon While recognise four main types of poker player. Loose. The handle is the most universally customisable identifier of a person. Tight Passive and Tight Aggressive players (Barone & While. Different poker sites have different methods of player representations. Passive. much of the information at the table is definite. Also this is a factor unique to online poker. even the virtual table. hoping in the future it will benefit them. Card games have been one of the most popular games to incorporate gambling and social interaction between players. Many decisions made at the table. Tight. while a player blinking less and staying almost still implies a player is bluffing (Pentland & Pentland. 2004). When played in person. When poker is played at a virtual table. The first step in the creation of an online poker identity however. Poker is a game which is largely based on social and psychological information (Golder & Donath. is the same for all sites.

though simple it does inform people at the table that you are likely to be a good player. and likely end up losing. the avatar. is likely to have be chosen from a small selection of avatars. (Obtaining a Read. Of course if they are in fact a player who only plays good hands. so did the desire for individualism online. 2004). who is simply playing to earn money. (Golder & Donath. Though players know intellectually that the avatar is assigned and the stereotype associated with the avatar does not describe that player. 2004). This does implies they are likely to play a hand even though they are unlikely to win. It is important to consider this when sitting at the virtual poker table. For example certain poker sites allow a player to assume the avatar of an inanimate object such as an ATM. 2004). if not pre-assigned. The avatar is at times set by the site with is arguably even worse with regard to learning about a player. However for many poker sites this avatar is chosen by the player and is not a true individual representation. Besides the handle. and once true this can be beneficial. Again. or avatar (Golder & Donath. Avatars and User Interface Cues. . ie the suave man in a suit or buxom blonde (Golder & Donath. This has become a popular way of reading a player as one who believes their belief in their ability surpasses their actual ability. This approach lets people know at the table you are there to play poker and nothing else. a player must take into account that for the majority of poker sites. (Golder & Donath. poker sites often have over the top and generally stereotypical avatars. 2004) For example. The avatar has the potential to provide a further insight into the player at the table. As online poker grew. (Golder & Donath. (Online Poker Screen Names. an inexperienced or frustrated poker player is likely to bet against them. 2010) Players can assume names or images implying one of these styles while really playing a different style. When a player sits down at a poker table site with a pre assigned avatars they will give other players a false read. The choice for professionals and serious players has simply become to use their real name. Online Poker Players. Once again this leaves the player with a representation of themselves which may require them to play a different style of poker. Also. 2004). it is nonetheless difficult to dissociate façade from reality. 2008) A popular choice is to adopt the name of a famous professional poker player. implying they are a loose passive player when really they are trying to gain an advantage as they are truly tight aggressive. 2004). others (poker sites) use names coinciding with a graphic representaion of the player.Many adopt poker terms such as Bottompair . (Golder & Donath. misspelling it so as to ensure its availability.

It is commonly known that this does indeed occur. Studies revealed females assumed male roles to allow for acceptance in a prodominantly male world. again of course not necessarily a representation of the player. Development of new poker sites are also changing the online game. or to mislead opponents with false tells.For example if a woman is represented by a man at the table. Males felt other male players would be less aggressive in their play towards a female player. 2008). and players sitting at a table who appear to be female do in fact have a large chance of being male. Development. The other reason being many male players believing they have a greater chance of intimidating a female player. (PKR Crowned Fastest Growing Tech Company. 2008). In a 2007 survey. while males assumed the female appearance for a tactical approach. Online Poker Players. In a general online gaming study 57% of gamers were found to have engaged in gender swapping. allowing for full body animation and a choice between selected speech (Obtaining a Read. PKR was launched. With PKR. Avatars and User Interface Cues. Two primary tactical advantages were stated in a seperate study. the primary reason being the different abilites afforded by the assuming the opposite gender (Hussain & Griffiths. Of course. This allows the male assuming a females role to lure intimidating males into a false sense of security thus possibly allowing them to win more money from them (Acquisition. 2010) What PKR brought to the table was perhaps one of the biggest developments in online poker. . 2008). and her name does not emphatically imply she is female. However the lesser known fact is that gender swapping allows little or no benefit. It established a 3D Poker world. () However. then she may experience a much different game. in fact bringing the game closer to its tranditional self. a female may choose to be represented by a male also. but a virtual person. The reason for this was players over estimating the apparent importance of the interpretation of their gender at the poker table. gender swappers were shown to be the least profitable of poker playing styles within online poker. In 2006. the user can create a full not just a standard avatar. and Maintenance of Online Poker Playing in a Student Sample). It is known as the greatest player interpretation mistake that can be made (Pokerscreen Names. The intention is that animations and gestures can be used to express oneself at the virtual felt. Next-generation online poker room PKR has been named as the UK s most successful technology company in the 2010 Sunday Times Tech Track 100. simulating the bricks and mortar casino rooms. PKR builds on previous emotion portrayal attempts made by Full Tilt Poker. The reasoning behind males and females gender swapping varied with respect to true gender. these additions do little more that irritate players.

(PKR Review. 2007). 2008) To truly read players online. he defeated over 800 players in a bricks and mortar tournament. (Roycrofft. Further skills required to elevate a player to such heights are honed on both mediums. even in this virtual bricks and mortar version. These are skills which can be applied to both online and offline poker. and it would be considered unlikely a player would ever deliberately portray information leading to their demise in a round of betting. Leaving the online medium as simply the access point he choice. players cannot ignore the age old essentials that the great online poker players have placed such an emphasis on. Players can choose to disable animations. and most importantly can be utilised on both mediums. it is essential to note that although he entered through the online tournament.and distract the player themselves from the goings on at the table. When we remember Moneymaker s victory. For example analysing betting behaviour can tell a lot about a player. Such as .

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