So you signed up to PSO and you want to learn about poker. Hey, this is the right place! There are plenty of videos, live training sessions, a ton of reading to do, and a pretty active community. 

Say you're playing poker and everything is going tickety boo, when you decide 'hey this place is pretty fun, I want to participate too'. At first it's easy, make a forum post here, blog something there. But if you want it to be satisfying for both you and your readers, you may encounter some frustrations. In this post I've collected some tips and tricks that may help. This is based on my experience and also some heavy trawling of the PSO Support Forum.

I've spent a lot of time figuring out the most efficient way to get around PSO and not everything as straight forward as you expect. I think they genuinely try to make it better, but I imagine there are tons of priorities that come first at all times.

Anyways, have a look below and see if there's anything you didn't know. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments!

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First up, the front page. This one is quite easy. It's a dashboard. It has latest promotion announcements, some coursework for you to look at, latest videos, blogs, and forum posts. On the right hand side is your profile and at the bottom of that column, right at the end are two important tools - Hand Replayer and Odds Calculator. I pretty much keep the Hand Replayer open in one of my Chrome tabs so it's always ready. You'll be encouraged to use this tool whenever you talk about hands in the forums and especially when you request hand evaluations. 

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Now, onto the Forum & Blogs link at the top. You'll have to click through a few sections before you get somewhere that contains actual forum threads. Once you select a forum to read, there are actually very important buttons at the top that aren't readily noticeable:

The Go To is very cool because it has your forum settings in it. It also has shortcuts to all other forums, even those not visible from the Forum & Blogs section.

If you like knowing when a forum post was made exactly, I recommend going into settings and changing your timezone to the one you are in. You can also set up other options here, but they're mostly default. 

You'll see that the forums look very much like a standard VBulletin board. I imagine they just customised it a bit. One of the customisations is that you can't edit your forum signature. I really like this as it increases the 'value' of signatures -- they are treated as 'prizes' or identifiers. For example, everyone who is currently pariticipating in the Time Vault promotion has one. Also it reduces the 'noise' of those crazy animated gif signature that take up half the page that you see on other forums out there.

You don't have to use your signature every time you post on the forums though, you can turn it off before you hit submit on a forum post. I especially prefer to turn it off for short posts where the signature ends up looking bigger than the post itself!

Another button I use all the time is Last Posts. This shows you all the forum posts that were made since you last logged in. 

A trick here is to click on the page icon (red box above) and it'll take you directly to the last post, rather than the first page of the thread. 

If you, however, browse forums normally, you need to click on the date field to go to the last post:

If you want to respond to a thread or make a new thread, you'll find that the forum post editor is full-featured and you can change colours, text size, and all those other fun things. You can even embed YouTube videos and post images (via links). 

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Let's now look at your Profile sidebar. By the way I don't know why there is a missing image next to my avatar picture or what it should have been. Do you have one like that too?

The light blue box is your league standing at the current time. Open Skill League is pretty volatile and if you miss even a day, your standing will drop. Don't get discouraged if the rank is dropping, it's just as easy to get back up in the ranks. Some people even manage to get in the money by registering and sitting out, but this is not considered good playing. Also, once you make it into top 1000, you'll lose points for the same tactics as your score will be higher. That's not a way to qualify for the Big Bang now, is it?  The league scoring system is explained in detail here.

The red box is where you create your blog. If you haven't got one yet, it'll say "Create Blog". If you have one, it'll say "My Blog" and will take you to all your blog posts. The Edit button (dark blue box) isn't self-evident, it actually allows you to change the tagline of your blog and the card colour. A "card" is awarded for the number of views all of your blogs have got in their lifetime. As time goes on, you're bound to get a card. The cards won't show at each of your posts, just randomly. You can change what colour it is in the Edit My Blog area.

The Edit Profile button (green box above) is also not as obvious as you'd think. This is where your subscriptions to others' blogs live (big star below).

Big yellow star: This is where all your subscribed blogs are. No one can see them but you. The system should email you whenever there is a new post in one of your subscribed blogs, but if you want to view any later comments (say, responses to your comment), you'll need to check back here and click through.

The small star: This is your blog and all the posts you made on the forums. This allows you to quickly see any comments on your blog posts and any responses to your forum posts. I usually click on these first thing each day. These links are visible on other users' profiles too, in case you want to read their blog or see what other posts they've made lately.

If you actually want to edit your profile, you need to click on Edit Info after you've clicked on Edit Profile (blue arrow below).

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And now onto writing Blog Posts. This feature causes me the most annoyance as there is no full-featured text editor. I see a lot of posts that are just walls of text and there's not much we can do. I had a look at the source page of the blog post and found they use a CKEditor, but for some reason the full edit text feature has not been enabled. So, for now, you can bold, italicise, and underline (normal keyboard shortcuts work too), and align. There are also some smileys and embedding for images, links, and YouTube clips. 

They do recommend that you don't hotlink pictures, so upload or link your picture to something like tinypic.com or imageshack.us and then insert it in your post. In the picture window you can adjust the size of the picture and also its alignment. In the link window, you can set it up so the new link opens in a new tab/window - you don't want people clicking on a link and then getting distracted and forgetting to go back to your post

Make sure "Published" is ticked and always use Preview to see what you've composed before hitting Submit. Usually blogs take a couple of hours to approve, so don't worry if your views count isn't going up!

You won't get notified when someone comments on your blog post, so make sure to keep checking up on them via My Blog button in your Profile sidebar.

There is also a Member Blogs forum, which allows people to make a forum post about a blog post they've just posted. This seems too inception-y for me though.

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Some general links of usefulness:

If all the poker speak has you befuddled, there is a glossary available here

"Welcome to PSO and frequently asked questions"

Live Training features

Who's Who at PSO

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Good luck out there, and I hope you enjoy all PSO has to offer as much as I have been.