One of the biggest differences between playing Poker online and in a real Poker room is the inability to see and hear other players. Reading opponents is more difficult when emotional reactions, facial expressions, and other tells can’t be observed. On the other hand, this means a player’s own tells are masked from opponents, so the disadvantage can be viewed as an advantage by those who have difficulty hiding their feelings.
Table talk is also part of the “mind game” of Poker. In virtual Poker rooms, the audible banter of players is replaced by a chat function—typed messages in place of vocal conversations. This allows some degree of interaction between players, and it should not be overlooked as an aspect of the online version of the game.
The Chat Box
Messaging in online Poker is accomplished through the “chat box,” a window that appears near the game controls within the Poker Room browser. Players can use it to exchange pleasantries and make small talk, but it also serves an important function as the voice of the dealer.
For example, players in ring games (cash games) are typically allotted 25~35 seconds to act on their hands. A warning message will be displayed in the chat box when there are 15 seconds left to act. The chat box also displays reminders to ante or place the blinds, announcements of what hand won the pot, how much was won, and when players join or leave the table, much like a real dealer would do.
Toggles on the chat box allow players to set the level of chat received. The box can be completely turned off by those who find it distracting. Settings are usually available for “dealer only” chat, which will block comments from players, but leave the running commentary from the dealer intact.
The default mode for most chat boxes is to “display all.” That means every message from every player can be seen. Some rooms have a “private conversation” function, which allows two players to chat without others at the table seeing their comments. Others have a “block” toggle, which allows a player to selectively stop the display of comments from certain opponents. Quite often, this capability is enabled by right-clicking on the icon displayed on the opponent’s seat.
Online Poker rooms rely on players to be their eyes and ears at the table. Should any problems occur during chat, a Chat Moderator can be paged to intervene. This function can usually be accessed by clicking on the Dealer Chip Tray or “Options” button at the top of the table.
The Language of Poker Chat
Certain rules apply to the use of the chat box during Poker play. Offensive language, such as profanity, vulgarity, racist remarks or insults can be cause for a chat warning or suspension of chat privileges. Begging, solicitation, panhandling for chips, and offering chips for sale are also not permitted.
Most rooms forbid “flooding,” the practice sending multiple or frequent messages to the chat window in order to drown out legitimate chat. Some Poker sites insist on using only English for chat, but others allow free application of other languages. It is important to check the guidelines of the individual site for specifics.
One aspect of Poker chat that new players need to learn quickly is its specialized vocabulary. A kind of shorthand is employed to save time while typing. Some of the most common abbreviations used are as follows:
BB = Big Blind (or Bad Beat)
BRB = Be Right Back
CU = See You
GG = Good Game
GH = Good Hand
GL = Good Luck
LOL = Laugh Out Loud
NB = Nice Bet (or Nice Bluff)
NC = Nice Call
NH = Nice Hand
NP = No Problem (or Nice Play)
PP = Pocket Pair
ROLF = Rolling On Floor Laughing
SB = Small Blind
TX = Thanks
TY = Thank You
TYVM = Thank You Very Much
VNH = Very Nice Hand
WD = Well Done
WP = Well Played
WTF = What The “F”