I‘ve often lamented about how online poker loses something, due to the fact that you can’t physically see your opponents. Since poker is largely about being bluffed, and attempting to bluff opponents, there is a bit of a disconnect. After all, not having to back your bluff up with a poker face somewhat defeats a large portion of the game. I concluded that online multiplayer poker does still have value, since bluffing can also be about the actions taken in the game.
But, lo and behold, I recently discovered that there is such a thing as online poker via webcam. This was obviously introduced as a way to narrow the disconnect, and once again force players to use their poker faces. And, of course, no one was as happy as I. I have mentioned that I am blessed with a naturally impenetrable poker face, and so it was clear that my time had finally come to shine.
Emboldened, I took to the poker-cam online lobbies to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting opponents.
The Teething Process
The first thing I realised, upon seeking out poker-cam websites, is that there were far more of them than I had first realised. It seems that the lack of seeing opponents in online poker games had been a gripe of many players, and so, as always, the Internet had taken steps to supply a solution to that demand. What is the Internet, after all, if not a place where all possible desires have a provider. For better or worse.
So I logged into a website, prepared to jump into a game, and suddenly found myself overcome with a bout of self-consciousness. It suddenly dawned on me that all the players would be staring directly at my face, all the time. I jumped up, combed my hair, trimmed my beard, and touched up my eyebrows.
Then the actual poker playing started, and a second thing dawned on me very quickly. I was in a random collection of players from all over the world. Half my opponents didn’t speak English, and, honestly, I can’t have imagined why I would initially think they would have. One opponent was French, and spoke only very broken English, and seemed to find everything extremely funny. Another was Italian, and seemed to only blast me with I what imagine was elegant sounding insults. I was instantly bewildered.
The Poker Face Strikes
And so the first hour or two of my time in poker-cam based games was a mess. I felt awkward, self conscious, and constantly found myself wanting to Google translate what the other players were saying, for fear they were being mean to me in another language. My bluffs failed due to nervousness, and my playing in general was less than optimal. I couldn’t shake the fleeing of the camera staring at me like a big eye, putting every imperfection on my face up for display.
But, after a brief period of adjustment, I started to focus less on feeling obliged to be social, and got busy playing actual poker. And, wouldn’t you know it, my naturally very lazy face started to work it’s magic, and the victories started to mount up. The other players became gradually became less jovial and loud mouthed, and real poker started happening.
It soon became apparent to me that online poker of this nature was a game all of it’s own, and the webcam aspect just another tool to be used to your benefit. The puzzle pieces came together in my head, and I realised I loved online webcam poker. And, excuse me for blowing my own horn; I was exceptionally good at it.
Your Face As a Weapon
Everyone playing online poker in this fashion, at least all the opponents I faced, were immediately aware of the novelty factor, and distracted by it. Some kept fixing their hair, others couldn’t stop smiling awkwardly, and one woman seemed to have an obsession with ensuring that her make-up was perfect. It all seemed very silly at first, but then I realised a very important thing; we were still playing poker, and the distraction was an invaluable tool.
Once I switched my mind back into the poker playing zone, and adopted my natural poker face, the tides rapidly swung in my favour. I stopped feeling obliged to have a reaction when I felt I was being watched, and the other players were befuddled.
Is Webcam Poker The Future?
Upon leaving the game, I felt enormously victorious and proud of myself. The games I played had gone very well, and overall the experience had been a thoroughly enjoyable one. There had been a few issues with camera feeds lagging, as I had expected, but these occasions had been few and day between.
All in all, I had had a blast, and in hindsight very much hope that playing online poker in this form becomes more popular. Of course, once the novelty of it all wears off I’ll have a bigger challenge on my hands. But, little do all who face me realise, my natural poker face is up for the challenge.