Play money vs. real money

I originally wrote this article on 11 Nov and decided today would be a great day to repost and add additional thoughts. The original article can be found here.

Monopoly Money vs. the Green Back...

King of the Poker Ocean Shark spoke recently (I believe in his forum - http://sharkpokertour.com/phpbb2/index.php ) on the topic of play money and poker games. He claimed there is nothing worse for one's game than play money. I couldn't agree more and here's why.

1. We're all naturally creatures of habbit. Play money creates bad habbits. Nothing "real" at risk. You lose, no big deal. You win, you feel like a genius. The real world of poker ain't the way you see it in the play rooms. If you are or aspire to be a "real poker player," play money is good for nothing more than to test the software of a poker room.

2. Our brains are wired in such a manner that when we put effort into something and get "desired result," we repeat said actions thinking we will get the same desired results. Consequently, when we "evolve" to cash tables, because we're "geniuses" of the make believe play money game (endless refills), we go into the real world, thinking it is OK to call down a 10x raise in the BB with 2-5, 2-6, or 2-7. I assure you, this is NOT ok. We fall into this trap because we never truely got "burned" the first time we did it, playing with monopoly $$$. We just reload, grabbing fruit or chips off the play money tree. No consequences for donk like action. All reward, no true risk.

3. We see other people who have a million plus play chips throwin them around like no one's biness. We therefore relate the stack to his skill level and thus try to duplicate his play, which then becomes habbit and transfers to the cash tables.

4. THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING YOU CAN DO WHEN ON A LOSING STREAK IS TRY TO FIX YO GAME ON A PLAY MONEY TABLE. During this time, a string of bad cards, its natural to want to move to play $$$ to "fix your game," (see the appeal of zero risk, egotistical reward). A lot of times, its bad cards! I went 27 consecutive pocket pairs without settin' on the flop. Bad streaks come, even to Drunken Beer Gods such as myself. When this happened, I did not change a thing. I played through it. I knew it wasn't me (pokertracker verified this).For these reasons, we really only want to use the play money to try out the software. I will say I do not even use play chips for that. I'm comfortable enough with the eye to determine whether or not I'd deposit based on what I see and read. I'd be more inclined to drop a fitty into a room that I wanted to try, thus "trying" things out on real tables, not risking to much principle. Last thing I wanna do is risk corrupting my focus on a day at the monopoly tables.For me, Play $$$ is off limits. I'd rather lose $50 than corrupt my style. So, in closing, stay away from Uncle McBucks or whatever his name is... Deposit today. If you're uncertain of the room you play in, try one of my rooms, or one of shark's rooms (we each have links on our blogs). These are sites we're comfortable puttin money in. Any questions on a poker room, give me a holla, I'll be glad to screen for ya or give ya my opinion.

In fact, should anyone have any questions about any poker room at all, drop me a line. I'll be glad to share my insight on rooms, bonuses, playthrough requirements, appropriate level of play, etc. I consider myself a resource to my readers and the members of CheckRayz. I'm always glad to help a brotha (or sista) out, if asked.

My "Monthly" gathering for live action is today. I never walk away from the 12 hrs I spend on this day without a great story or two. Look for results, poker anecdotes and insight tommorrow!