Why is it easier to win playing online poker and harder to win playing poker in Las Vegas?
One of our regular new players on http://www.dailystarpoker.com mails in to say he regularly win a high percentage of games playing online poker, and when playing socially at home. When, however, it comes to his annual four day summer poker pilgrimage to Vegas, he almost always comes home a loser? Obviously, he has his own hunches why this is so but he's asked us for our thoughts.
It's an interesting question because this is a surprisingly common experience. There are several reasons why.
Firstly, the Vegas sharks love to look out for tourists and many of the locals play together at the same tables day in and day out throughout the whole year. They are what we call colluders. They may or may not deliberately work together to whip-saw or use other subtle signals to one another but it's often part of the agenda. It's difficult for a tourist to spot this happening as the guys in question are masters of this kind of soft money take-down. Time constraints will also be a major factor weighing on your normal comfort-zone game. You know you have to be back on the plane in a few days and this injects a subconscious urgency into your play which is bound to lead to careless decision-making. Finally, there's something about Vegas that makes you "gamble" instead of calculate.
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THE VEGAS DEFENCE
There are just two simple ways to counteract Vegas-syndrome. The first is to note what we have said above and be a railbird for your first few hours in Vegas. Check out what's happening at various tables before getting involved. Since you now know what you're looking for you have a better chance of spotting collusion in action. The second solution is more radical. Don't go! Stay in your comfort zone. Play online poker at home where you know what you're doing.