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Play-Money and Real-Money Strategy
This might seem a bit obvious, even if you're relatively new to the game of poker and its new online incarnation, but it's worth mentioning briefly: The level of play at real-money games is significantly different than at the play-money games. Therefore, your general strategy and approach to the game should change as well, regardless of the specific variant you are playing or the stakes involved.
As a rule, real-money games are much tighter than play-money games. Players do not make the foolhardy moves so common in games when no real cash-value chips are at stake. Stands to reason, doesn't it? For the new player, though, it's very important that you be aware of this distinction when first moving from fake-money to real-money poker.
This applies to you and to your game, even if you tend to practice funny-money poker with discipline and skill. The reason is that, even if you are stalwartly employing your same steady game, the general play of the competition is now significantly different. Strategies that worked consistently in the practice rooms may not work at the real-money tables.
There are no black-and-white rules or guidelines here, but you'll notice some differences rather quickly. You'll likely find the players in your first real-money games to be more selective with starting hands, more skillful with marginal hands and situations, and more aggressive (or deceptive) when the circumstances call for such play. In short, they are more practiced and more proficient—they are wily-like coyotes.
When weighing matters of expense in the real-money poker game, you are well-advised to take this into consideration, as self-evident as it may seem. Remember, your principal expenses in poker are the chips you're wagering. In real-money poker, the other players aren't out there on a lark, going all in for the hell of it. They're in the game to win. They're in it to take your chips.
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