He’s one of the rising young pros of the game and has enjoyed many successes both online and off. Gary Jones kindly gave POP an interview about his experience of the online game and his thoughts on online strategy.
Q/What site/s do you play on and under what username? It's always nice to know if that player with username devilfish is the real one or not.
A/I have been playing on Pokerstars under the alias p10ker for a while now. The cash games I have been playing are the 5-10 Pot-Limit Omaha games. I also play on PartyPoker for tournaments rather than cash games under the alias MyimaTsarong.
Q/What is your favourite game online and at what stakes? Does this differ from your preferred live game? - For the same reasons as the above. People are interested in what the pros are playing.
A/I do like the 5-10 PLO games on Pokerstars. PLO is still my best game and what I do like to do is occasionally sit in a smaller limit game in a game I don't know as well, such as Stud Hi-Lo just to improve my knowledge of them. My live preferences are for bigger games, but when you are playing 4 screens of 5-10 (if its available) you are actually playing the equivalent of a much bigger game in real life, due to the faster dealing and multiple games, but without the swings the bigger real games entail.
Q/How long have you been playing online, and how often do you play?
A/I started playing just over a year ago, had a 27K payout at the WCOOP last year and although I stopped playing for a while, I now play about 20-30 hrs a week.
Q/What would you say are the major differences between live and online games?
A/1/Speed of the hands
2/The ability to play several tables at once
3/(Worst one for me) Allowing yourself to get distracted by things around you, for me its the TV and surfing the net
Q/What piece of advice would you give to the online player? - Just aiming for a short piece of strategy advice really.
A/If you lose a big pot, quit, if you are winning well and feel like you are playing well, stay. It is also too easy to play online, it is there 24hrs a day and you can sometimes allow it to take over your life, ensure that you regulate your hours, and have the discipline to stick to it.
Q/Online poker is full of stories about bad beats. What is the worse bad beat that you can remember taking online? - We all have our bad beat stories and it will be refreshing to a lot of people to know that it happens to the pros.
A/The bad beat that will stick in my mind is not mathematically the worst beat I suffered, but it is the one that probably cost the most. Last 2 tables of the WCOOP PLO tournament this year I was chip leader and dominating the table, when a pot developed where I re-raised pre-flop with AATT and got called from the original raiser, after a flop of K74 the last of the chips went in, his hand was KQT9 there was no flush draw, and he rivered the Queen. The pot was massive at the time, and although it didn't knock me out, if I'd of won it I would of had about 35% of the chips and been in a commanding position with about 17 players left. I still managed to come 5th, and the guy that beat me ended up winning it.
Q/Are there any improvements/changes you would like to see made to online poker in general? - Things like bigger tournaments, greater variety of games, better site regulation etc.
A/For the most part I think the poker sites are heading in the right direction. The tournaments are getting bigger, as are the cash games. My one and only gripe would be the 5% rake, it being in my opinion too high.
Q/Do you think the strategy/skills needed to win online differ significantly from live games or not? If so how have you adapted your play to the online world?
A/The major problem I had adapting to online play was the depth of money. In an English cash game, people will quite often sit down with over 100 times the big blind and will play for 8hrs straight. This allows for a lot more play on the later rounds of betting. This is something I had to learn when I went to the US for the first time, and I have had to learn it again when I started playing online. Hand selection becomes much more important online than it does in the english game, as there are less opportunities for you to out play your opponent when quite often all the money goes in on the flop.
Q/Do you think the large influx of new online players has significantly impacted upon the live game / that online is a good training ground for the major brick and mortar champions of tomorrow? After all, at events like WSOP we are seeing many online players make a great showing.
A/I think the influx of new players from both online and those attracted by the TV coverage are making a big difference to the tournament circuit in the US. But I haven't seen much difference in the cash action. This is possibly due to the size I tend to play when I travel as new players aren't likely to jump in at the deep end. I can only see it being great for the game in general all these new players and I think the new online players that I have seen play, are fearless and very strong, and the pros have had to adopt their tournament strategy to cope with them.
Q/Have you ever had any bad experiences with online poker? - We are always hearing, usually 2nd or 3rd hand, horror stories about sites making mistakes with cage accounts, administering tourneys badly etc.
Q/What skills do you think it is most important for the online player to develop in order to become a winning player?.
A/You can sum up a winning player, whether it be online or live in one simple word, discipline.
Q/What is the most common tactical mistake you see players making online? .
A/In omaha the biggest mistake I see are people overplaying hands post flop, especially aces or nut flushes.
Thanks for that Gary, and thank you from our readers for taking the time to answer our questions. We, and I am sure all of our readers, would like to wish you all of the best for the future and good luck at the tables.