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Poker is a game of simple rules with complex execution. It is widely regarded that poker rules are easy to learn, but poker skills are difficult to master. Due to its intricacies, poker has influenced how people approach playing card strategies as well as their online gaming behaviour.
Poker and its Behavioural Aspects
Like any card game, a poker player aims to win the game and build on the funds invested. It goes without saying that along the way, poker serves as an excellent mode of entertainment and pastime.
A key behavioural aspect associated with poker is the need to be adaptable. The hand you get in poker is completely random. But thereafter, the game of poker is all about reading patterns and outfoxing the opponents. The need for well-thought-out strategies directly influences the behavioural side of the players and the game of poker in general.
The strategy to win a poker game, or a series of poker games, is to avoid the style of play from becoming too predictable. Instead, the strategy must be shaped and readjusted based on the opponents. Thus, during a game, a poker player may have to alter their actions and also do so for the overall game strategy during the series of games. This would mean switching between an aggressive or defensive strategy or a combination of both in varying degrees.
A lot of studies have been done on poker strategies. For instance, studying the aggression factor of an opponent is a part of poker strategy. An opponent who bets and raises often has a high aggression (aggressive) factor, while someone who calls more often is said to have a low (passive) aggression factor. This can be further filtered down into opponent categories like loose-passive, loose-aggressive, tight-passive and tight-aggressive. An avid poker enthusiast must read more on these strategies, along with poker rules, to enjoy more success on the poker table.
A lot of these behavioural aspects have also trickled down to the real-money gaming scene.
Poker and Gaming Behaviour Evolution
Online poker has left a distinct imprint on gaming behaviour. Some of it is an apparent departure from the poker games of the clubrooms and casinos. A major part of poker games is the study of the opponent. This is different in face-to-face games and online games. In physical poker games, players look at facial expressions, or the lack thereof, for game-clinching clues. Then there is the ‘tell’, i.e., the body language and movements that make it easier for players to read a game. Online games, for the most part, are devoid of that. Here, the deductions from the games are drawn from gameplay patterns and styles of play. Thus, one of the most significant impacts of online poker is the departure from physical attributes that are associated with offline poker games.
Off-table changes in the behavioural aspects include the high demand for a safe and secure game experience. Offline poker games can be a high-voltage affair, but online poker games are much more regulated and monitored. Online card game platforms have turned the card game experience into a very transparent and secure form of entertainment.
Online poker has also made the game more democratised. You are no longer confined by physical boundaries and can participate in games with players from all across the world. This has cultural implications as well, as players from different backgrounds bring in different styles of play that make the game more dynamic.
Online poker has also formalised how poker games are played. For instance, if you browse the Pocket 52 app, you will find tournaments with specific starting times, prize pools, buy-in amounts, etc. When played as a recreational activity, poker was slightly less formal. However, the strict rules of the game would apply in both cases.
Further Evolution in Gaming Behaviour
The use of technology has catapulted the game of poker across a generational shift in terms of game experience. Poker games are now better monitored through the use of technology, software and algorithms, as well as through human expertise. There are more stringent fair play rules in place on poker platforms, and violations of poker rules are dealt with an iron fist. These measures have discouraged the bad elements within the poker community and made the game fairer and more transparent.
As technology evolves further and is brought to use, we can expect a future with a more immersive poker experience. Augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities can take the playing experience to a whole new level. It would bring the physical side of poker back to the game, as players will be better placed to familiarise themselves with one another. Besides, the convenience and fair practices of online platforms have also contributed to reducing the gender gap in poker and rummy games. As of now, the popularity of online poker continues to reshape gaming behaviour in more ways than one.
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