Most of us who’ve managed to make it into adulthood are forced to become cynical when it comes to certain things. We all know how much gas costs now – and how much money Exxon executives are making. But when it comes to online poker, believe this: the people who own the poker sites actually want you to get better.

Party Poker wants you to win. After all, the more you win, the more you play. And they want you to play.

Why do they want you to play? That’s easy – because that is how they make their money. For people who don’t understand how online poker works, every pot in every hand has a micro-fraction of it removed. Usually about $0.03 of every $1.00 or so. This is called the rake or house rake and it is the major way that sites like Party Poker make money.

So Party Poker does not make more money if you go all-in and win or if you fold your big blind. It makes money strictly on a per-hand basis.

How do they get you to play more hands? If you win more!

It is for this reason that Party Poker is now offering its players ways to improve their poker play without losing their digital chips.

Winning Poker DVD

First off, there is the Winning Poker DVD. The Winning Poker DVD is rife with advice, tricks and tips from poker legends such as Jesse May, Noah Boeken and the infamous Tony G (maybe the only guy on the planet who could give Mike Matusow and Phil Hellmuth a run for their mouths.) The DVD is designed to help players sharpen their poker skills through three hours learning everything from simple tactics (raising on the button, disguising hand strength, etc., etc.) to hardcore strategy (implied pot odds, pulling off big bluffs, etc., etc…)

But it ain’t free – at Party Poker, all real money players are able to buy the Winning Poker DVD for the exclusive sale price of £12 (the regular price is £15.99).

So like $20 or so, which is relatively cheap for a poker lesson from top pros.

But if you’re not looking to spend money, there is the Party Poker Poker Trainer.

Poker Trainer

The Poker Trainer was developed by Party Poker to help improve the skills of any player for free while allowing them to remain online. It runs as a standalone application that can be launched from the Party Poker website without having to download it and log in, allowing players to practice against computer-generated opponents in a play money Texas Hold’em game.

“But wait,” you say. “Isn’t that just an automated play money game? Why not just play with real people for fake money?”

Hey, if you want to play funny money poker, go right ahead – just don’t confuse it with actual poker. Almost everyone playing play money poker, and approximately 173% of those playing low-limit play money poker is just confused. Yes, confused. You see, people playing play money poker think that they are actually playing the lottery, not poker. After all, how else could you explain the lunacy of family all-in pots? Or the unholy amounts of suck outs? How? Because any time that you lose all of your worthless fake chips you can go into your account and click that magical “Refill” button. And poof! You have 1000 pretend dollars again!

No, you are not learning how to play poker because you went all-in.

No, you are not learning how to play poker because there are other “real” people at your table.

The only way to learn how to play real poker is to play with real stakes. Because the essence of real poker, the crux of what playing real poker boils down to is saying to your opponent, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

That’s it, that’s poker.

You just cannot do that to a person who knows that if they lose every chip that they have, they can just go and get more. But the computer generated players that fill the Poker Trainer tables don’t think like that – they’re not allowed to.

To the computer-generated players, those 5 fake chips are 5 real dollars because they are programmed that way. And they’re not AI idiots either. The Poker Trainer is powered by Poker Academy with the most advanced training software, which is the result of 10 years of research into artificial intelligence by four professors from the University of Alberta.       

So if you are feeling like you need a poker lesson, you have a couple of choices: You can fork over the £12 and wait for the DVD in the mail, you can make use of the entirely free Party Poker Poker Trainer, you can just sit at a table, lose money and think of it as the price of education, or you can play play money poker and delude yourself into thinking that you are learning something.

The choice is yours.

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