Coming from the online arena onto the felt of live poker, one of the most drastic changes that you notice is the level of talking between players. Rarely does any hand pass without at least one of the players talking about something.
I've heard everything from pocket deuces vs Ten-Jack suited, talk of the latest signings of the local soccer team, to rants about the idiot that cut them off on the drive here.
Casino's and poker rooms are never quiet. Each of the little worlds of the individual tables bleed into each other, and eventually the rabble and bustle eventually consumes the whole room.
Dealers announcing bets and calls and raises and all-ins, tournament organisers moving players around the room to balance tables, felted players yelling ‘chips!' so they can get back into the game, and the incessant sound of chips being riffled. Everything is loud and nothing is quick enough.
The chat boxes of their online counterparts, however, are often completely void of all chatter, and fun.
Usually the only ones making any kind of noise are the automated ramblings of your poker client of choice. Blasting out reminders of other tournaments and cash games you could join, or how long the break's going to last.
It's unsurprising, though, that ‘coffeehousing' didn't quite make the jump to the virtual felt, alongside the classic techniques of the 3-bet shove and the tank-tank-tank-tank-tank, check.
With the aim of most table talk to incite a physical reaction from your opponent, barring the compulsory use of webcams, the art of needling information from your opponent is a defunct tactic in the online poker world.
But while you can't look to see them flinch when you casually mention, ‘well, you could have hit your flush there...' there are other, more nefarious methods, of table talk that I've rarely seen used on the online circuit.
Most players usually only talk to others when they're trying to make a read from them. Their aim is to goad the opposing player into leaking information about themselves or the hand. Get your opponent to flinch, blink or say something that doesn't sound confident, and the idea is that you should be good and call.
But can you really trust that evidence?
Who says you can't feed your opponent a little misinformation every now again? There's nothing stopping you playing a little hardball, and acting nervous when start to ask about your hand.
Me? I don't want to say anything about my hand...What? Stop staring at me...
I've seen this tactic a few times being used in the casino I dealt at, often to great effect. As these players are mostly honourable gamblers, they never outright lie about their hand, but they do sometimes obscure the truth a little. They know when to make themselves look intentionally weak to induce calls, and when to scare them off. They know how to say it too.
All of these slightly below-the-belt tactics can be used in the online game, but for some reason never have been. By carefully maintaining and choosing the information that you give to your opponents, regardless of whether they're actually talking to you at all, you can influence their opinions of you.
Let them think that you're that guy that talks because he can't play. Talk for your cards, then let your cards do the talking.