I get asked this question a lot and it is important enough and surprisingly detailed, at least too detailed to be in a chat window during a game.
Number One: The key to what makes PSO tick is that the PSO dollars are LIMITED you only get $200.00 per day and once you lose them you can’t play anything but free roll events. The only way to get PSO dollars is to win them and they are hard to win. Most of the free play sites allow you to get $2000.00 in fake money and when you lose it you can go right back and get more so the play is affected, why play correctly when it is you can always refill and get action. The wild crazy play you see at those free sites or even our free site “The Blue Side” is much less pronounced in the poker school because your PSO dollars have value. It is also important to note that the only way to earn PSO dollars is to win them playing poker, PERIOD.
Number Two: Performance is tracked at the poker school in the form of your ranking, if you just carelessly play bad it will be recorded for all to see for all time. What you do when you are playing matters and your fellow PSO students will know who you are by how you play this information about you is available to all students at the school and vice versa. The best advice to follow here is what Mike Caro is famous for saying, “Play your best game at all times.”
Number Three: The most dangerous thing about playing for cash online in my opinion is that it is too easy for me to imagine a group of players getting together either with conferencing software, conference calling or just all in the same room together sharing their hole cards with each other to make it a wise thing to do. If you are practicing for the WSOP by playing cash online and the game is flawed do to the other players having more information than they should is your practice and knowledge going to be valid? For example the way you play pocket fives in late position will be different when the rest of the table knows everyone else’s hole cards, if you learn to make this play work in this flawed environment you may just have learned how to play incorrectly in a live tournament when it really matters. This is the beauty of PSO, NO CHEATING OR COLLUSION! Yes, the PSO dollars have value but no one is going to be investing themselves in a scam to cheat for them, they are doing that for real dollars somewhere else. You are getting the most fair and realistic game available on the internet at PSO in my opinion.
Number Four: The people! In my opinion there is no better way to improve your poker game than discussing it with other players. When they are interviewing the top name brand players at the final table the one similarity in all their stories is the friends they had coming up and how they helped each other develop their game. There is no substitute for this, you need a crew. PSO is rich in features to allow the sharing of information with your fellow players USE IT! Read the forums and blogs, write your own stuff and ask questions. There is not a poker situation you will encounter that someone hasn’t already been exposed to and formed a solution. You can agree or disagree but in order to improve you MUST discuss. PSO has all the tools for you to do this and more.
Number Five: PSO is a very convenient way to see the amount of hands that I need to see to be comfortable that I won’t be facing something new when I play in the WSOP or other large event. I use PSO to help me get comfortable with the math and common techniques needed to beat the game so that when I am playing live I can focus more of my energy on reading, tells and table image. I can do this because I have made some of the basics an automatic response due to the amount of time I have spent on PSO.
I know that I have left out many other good reasons to use PSO to improve your game but I hope that I have answered the question for some of the new people that want to know Nitrox why should I spend 15 bucks a month on PSO?
In closing I would like to say that I love playing poker and I love all the experiences and friendships that poker has given me. I have many friends in many poker rooms around the world and people that I consider true friends that I have never met in person that I play with all the time here at PSO. I am learning from all those experiences and you are helping me and for that I would like to say thank you.
I gauge what I have learned every year at the World Series of Poker, it is like my final exam every year. Here are my results from last year:
poker pages .com/players/profiles/78986/mark-hope.htm
I hope to improve on that this year; I know I have learned a lot since last year. I want to make a T.V. final table that is my next goal, after that will be my WSOP bracelet. I will be happy to keep learning and improving. Keep an eye on my progress because when I do reach my goal and you see me on television you can say “Hey, I Play with that guy on PSO!” and know that in no small way you had a part in me realizing my dream.
See you in the ring
NitroxBoss AKA: Mark Hope