Ever since I started playing poker, I’ve made it a habit to type Welcome to the money in the chat whenever we get rid of the bubble boy. I rarely get a response. I guess that means most people don’t bother reading their chatbox. I do.

There’s a few reasons for it. First off, every now and then someone will tell you what cards he was holding. Now granted, you should assume a number of times people are not telling you the truth, but still. It’s information, and information is valuable at a poker table.

It’s also our online version of table talk, and everyone loves table talk. Now at a live table you have a lot more time on your hands for table talking the pants off of others, but a few well placed remarks here and there in the chatbox can do it too. Plus, conversation is always nice.

If you’re lucky, you’ll run into someone willing to discuss a hand with you. As long as you both showed the cards, there’s times people will do that. That’s a moment you can learn. Not only about their play and their thought patterns, not only to gather information to be used against them, but also to learn about your own play. Although I must admit, these opportunities are rare. I wish online poker offered something along those lines.

Lastly, if you watch the chatbox every now and then you’ll see one of the players at your table throw a tantrum after yet another big suckout by the donkey that should never have been in the pot to begin with. And that’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The right remarks in response to his tantrum can really blow him off and put him on tilt. And that’s where we want him, because a player on tilt is a bad player. We’ve all seen Mike Matusow blowup from time to time, Phil Hellmuth steaming his way into oblivion. And that is where we want our opponents. Spewing chips. And if they feel you’re part of their tilt, they’ll be all the more inclined to donate their chips to you, stacking off whenever you’re in the pot with them. Stacking off when they never would have were it not for the tilt factor.

The table talk is a part of poker, and I think it’s a part of the online game as well. Now I just hope I’m not alone, because I hate talking to myself.