All-in on the flop. You have a backdoor flush draw, they have top pair. The turn’s the suit you’re looking for. Your mind is whirring. What are the odds, what are my outs? You’re hoping, you’re praying and then the dealer burns and turns. There it is. Bink. Boom. Boosh. Fireworks in your brain as you look down at the winning hand.
This hand happened to me twice today. This morning, during my usual SNG grind and again in the evening where I got some much needed live practice ahead of my trip to EPT Malta. Keep an eye out for my blog posts from the festival and much more content on this site.
Let’s look at the live version of the hand first. I’d just like to start by saying that I have good news! The old lady who I mentioned in my first ever blog post, who always tells me she has a grandson my age, told me again today that she has a grandson my age. Some things never change hey?
Back to the hand. Before the cards are turned over you get the obligatory good luck from the players around you, a few might tap the table in acknowledgement of the impending run-out. As the cards are turned over minds start to race as players work out odds and draws and races and who exactly needs what.
The card on the turn does different things to certain people. Some will go dead silent as they await the final card. Some will grow even louder, willing the final card to hit. And when it does, well, it is a sight to behold.
Players groan and gasp as the dealer mucks the losers hand. Today the losing player banged his hand on the table in sheer frustration. I get a few more taps of the table as the pot is shipped to me, and I quietly sit there counting my chips. Players come over from other tables to inquire as to the hand, and comments such as “Sick” or “Brutal” are often heard.
Online is different. There is very little atmosphere. Today it was in the mid-stages of a tournament in which I knew none of the other players. As the cards were turned up I couldn’t help but get drawn to the percentages. The damn things change so fast I can never keep up. Nevertheless I knew what I needed. “Spade?” I muttered, as if saying it would make the poker Gods a little more obliging.
Sure enough, the spade popped up. My head tilted to the side, “And again?” I said out-loud. Voila. Lo and behold another spade. And I can tell you I made the most disgusting noise ever. That gloating sound of happiness and relief accompanied by a few choice words in the direction of my opponent. You don’t get that outpouring of emotion in the live environment. Not unless you want to get punched in the face.
So which is better? Live or online? Honestly if you gave me a choice I would play live MTTs for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I am but a penniless student and as my instagram profile proves, I am reduced to playing for pennies online. I’m not knocking online, people do very well at it and have grown accustomed to the playing style. But for me, nothing beats the feeling of chips in your hand, professional dealers, and raking in pots. Even if it means I don’t get to stand up and do the running man to celebrate winning a hand. Note: I’ve totally never done that. Ever.