Every poker player over the age of 23 I think really understands the effect that Online Poker has had on the game in general. Just the quick pace and tournaments that are always available available have made for more aggressive games. I think what players spend less time thinking about is the game inside the game and how the online phenomena has effected poker decisions in the static environment of one particular tournament ...
And by that, I mean that because of Online Poker, these MTT sharks do not, or very rarely, think of one tournament as a static situation or this isolated poker vacuum. If you play a live tournament, and go with some sort of borderline decision, you make that decision with the understanding that if you are on the wrong end of it, you will be powering down the IPOD, wrapping up the ol 'headphones, saying your goodbyes, and leaving the casino - the next opportunity to cash in on some dough being unknown hours away.
Obviously, if you bust out of the Nightly Hundred Grand on Pokerstars, why your bankroll is banned but so what? More than likely you will still be battling away in 6 or 7 other multis at the same time.
And even more obviously, if you were playing the Nightly on your last bullet, then you have no business playing in the first place.
So what does all of this have to do with the earlier point? How does Online Poker and the format effect in game decisions strictly because of its format?
I argument that the MTT shark is not that far off from the average MTT grinder in terms of pure skill level. ESPecially in 2010 where the average poker player knows all the basics: when they should be shoving, generally when it makes sense to call, pot odds, and the like. But what that MTT shark has mastered is how to make VOLUME of games work in his favor. Also, the shark makes the format of Online Poker work for him as well. How?
Let's say the shark opens in MP with 4c4d. The button 3 bets with whatever. Air, or a monster. Who knows? The shark sure does not.
As a poker purist and long time player, I am no longer at all one bit surprised to see the shark shove all in knowing he is getting called in this spot. Or see the shark snap call a 3 bet shove. It happens over and over and over again. The railbirds all chime in about how sick the shark is.
Is he really that sick?
Or has Online Poker made it actually kinda easy to make this kind of move? If you win what turns out to be a coinflip, you look like a genius. You went in with the best hand, it held, and you won a ton of chips. If you lose, oh well that's poker, they'll say. If you get your chips in dominated, well, they say you need to get lucky to win MTTs and its actually right to get your money in bad, or rather, if you never get your money in bad, then you are in fact, PLAYING bad.
So what's the shark's trend? Play multi after multi in this type of reckless fashion and odds are he will snap off at least ONE if the poker run-good gods are on his side.
So what does all of this mean to the average player?
Realize that the trend is THERE. These players are obviously erring on the side of aggression online. They are GETTING IT IN. And they do not care. A lot of these online players look sick in the moves they make, but the fact is they are just taking advantage of the format. There is, in my opinion, way less REGARD for these actual moves than what you might expect. How can the shark really know where those pocket 4s stand when he gets 3-bet? The answer, more often than not, is he quite obviously can not.
Just know when you consider your next move, that he does not care.