Hard to believe, but just in case a reader doesn´t know what Skype is, here’s a short explanation: Skype is a service/software that provides its users with chat and VOIP (voice over IP aka internet phone) for free.
Why Skype suits poker players so well
Many Poker players travel around the planet. Some travel to play various tournaments or simply because you like travelling and adventures as much as I do. But even if you´re spending most of your time at home, Skype is a very valuable poker tool. And, it’s free! Most of you are probably already using Skype, so feel free to skip this article.
One awesome feature of Skype is that you can not only chat, but also have a VoIP (Voice over IP, basically means making a phone call using your internet connection) conversation with your friends, family, or coach. Personally, I´m not a big fan of chatting. Sometimes there´s no other way, but think about how much time it takes to tell something via Chat and how fast it can be done over phone.
EXERCISE: Find out how much faster calling via Phone is compared to chatting
My ratio was 20 : 1. This means, 20 minutes in chat provides the same info as calling for one minute. Yes, sometimes short calls cause awkwardness. But that means it’s time to learn the social skill to have a polite short conversation, without making the other person feeling used or anything in that direction.
—-> Skype unifies chatting and talking on the phone into one program
—-> Most people use Skype, so if you prefer to only have one program (like myself), Skype is the way to go
Back to Skype. One awesome feature that they offer is the “Worldwide calling option”. With a few exceptions, you can call landlines (in USA also cell phones) in any country in the world. This is pretty awesome. Just think about you being in a foreign country and calling your girlfriend/family/buddies. Cellphone calls can make you go broke pretty fast!
With Skype you have a few options that I can recommend:
1) Put money on your account and pay per call. You can use a credit card and for non US-citizens, you can even use moneybookers to fund your account.
Skype has very reasonable rates.
2) You subscribe to a monthly flatrate, which means unlimited calls. You can choose between one country or the worldwide option.
3) You subscribe to the worldwide option and put 10$ emergency money. I have lived in Malta for a few months, and – Murphy´s Law – Malta is not included in the worldwide option.
For myself I have been using option 3) for over 3 years now, as I am moving around quite a bit.
Just find out what fits your needs the best. I don´t use normal phones anymore at all. Just a cell phone for social reasons (although I hate cell phones, but often it’s the only way to save numbers when going out and all that good stuff; oh well, modern days haha).
Headset with Microphone
Should be a no-brainer. Skype sells their own stuff, but I´d recommend you to go to the Electronics store of your choice and find something in your price range. I´m using the “Sennheiser PC 350″ and they have survived a lot of travelling and have excellent quality. It definitely improves the quality of conversation if the headphone has noise cancellation built-in. But unless you´re Bill Gates, you will have to make compromises in life.