I’m a huge fan of online poker and, from the start of my journey, I’ve known that it can be possible to make good money playing online.
However, also from the start, I’ve heard loads of dissenting voices to this idea that online poker can be profitable. Many people believe that online poker just isn’t winnable for your average player, often giving one of the following reasons:
- It removes all human perception and “feel” and only math-based robots can win.
- You have to be tech savvy and able to use all the complicated solvers to win.
- You’ve got to be a kid with no commitments, living in your parent’s basement and spending 80 hours per week studying and playing to win.
- And so many more reasons why online poker isn’t beatable for most people.
I don’t fall in line with any of that. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and approach it smartly, and having a profitable online poker journey is one of those things. I believe in it so much that I’ve created an entire business based on the fact that I can teach you how to pursue a profitable journey through my podcast, YouTube videos and training site The Poker Forge.
Below, I’ll address the three most common objections to the idea that you can profit online. If you’re one of the naysayers who believes that online poker isn’t beatable, I implore you to read on with an open mind and you just might come around to my way of thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if you believed there was another avenue of profit for your poker skills beyond the LIVE realm? Sure, it would… read on.
Objection #1: I’m not a math person
You don’t have to be a math person to have a profitable online journey. There are ways of playing poker that give you advantages both with and without any math involved. They mostly revolve around making plays that exploit what you know about your opponent.
The easiest way to exploit your opponents while giving yourself a mathematical edge, even though you don’t know how to calculate that edge, is by simply playing fewer hands than they do.
Imagine your opponent plays every Ace, A2o through AKs. You only play AT+. If you both flop top pair on an Ace-high board, your kicker is more likely ahead of theirs. If you both hit two pair, again, you’re more likely ahead. You don’t need to run any calculations, but you’re still benefitting from the mathematical edge you have with a tighter range. Your stronger AX range will beat their weaker AX range in the long run.
Another thing you can do that exploits the math without you having to know it, is playing in position as frequently as possible.
I’ve seen hundreds of player databases that show that when you see the flop in position, you’re winning more on average than seeing the flop from out of position. I don’t even have to prove this to you. You already know the advantage of position. It doesn’t matter that you earn anywhere from 50% to 150% more money per hand on average when you have position.
If you play most of your hands from the cutoff and button positions and restrict the hands that you play in the blinds, you’re going to see the flop more often in position. With this positional advantage, you have more information to work with plus your opponent’s fear of being out of position on the next street. You can more successfully bluff players off hands, pot control with mediocre hands and get value from your best hands.
So, if we put these two ideas together, playing stronger ranges than they do and playing in position as much as possible, the math is on your side and you will be profiting in online poker.
Objection #2: I’m not tech savvy
There are loads of programs that can help you study your hands, find your leaks, give you more information on your opponents, teach you game theory optimal strategies and make hand reading easier. All of these programs are helpful, but the use of them is not necessary for a profitable online journey.
All you need is a computer or smart phone to allow you to access the games. People have been making a profit forever in live poker without any additional software, so you can take the same approach to the online realm.
How did Doyle Brunson or Amarillo Slim or Phil Ivey earn loads of money in poker for years before the internet boom?
They did simple, tried and true, non-techy things. They watched the action of every hand and analyzed showdowns to learn their opponent’s tendencies. They took useful poker notes then they exploited what they learned. They always considered their options and had a logical reason behind every play they made. They talked poker strategy with their friends and spent time off-the-felt developing their skills and knowledge.
Poker is still poker whether you’re online or not. If you’re not tech savvy, rely instead on these tried-and-true methods of improvement.
Objection #3: I can’t compete with the poker whiz kids
I’ve heard people complain that they can’t earn money online because they can’t beat all these 19-year-old whiz kids who study and play poker 80 hours a week and live in their parent’s basement. They don’t have commitments like a job, family, a house or even a car. “How can I compete with all these kids when I only have four hours a week to devote to poker?”
One of the things I love about poker is that you can choose your competition. When you sit down at a cash game table, you are choosing to play against those players. If the table is full of strong and aggressive winning players, your chance of profiting there is less than at a table full of weak, loose-passive players. You can and MUST actively search for “fishy” tables where you don’t have to compete against the best players.
You also have your choice of sites to play on. You don’t have to stick to just one. I have a student who plays on 20+ different sites and he’s always hunting for weak players to play against. He earns anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per month with this strategy.
Even if you’re into tournaments, you can avoid the strongest players. First, the lower the buy-in, the weaker the competition. Tourneys at $20 or below are jam-packed with recreational players who make loads of mistakes. Occasionally, you’ll come across a really strong player in these games. What should you do when you encounter them? Well, do the three things I’ve discussed so far and add a fourth:
- Play tighter ranges than your opponents.
- Play in position as much as possible.
- Target the weaker players.
- Avoid marginal situations.
It’s as simple as that. In a tournament, you can’t pick your table nor your seat, but you always have a choice in the hands you play. You might look down at JTs and think, “This is worth defending in the SB.” But, if it puts you out of position against the strongest player at the table or the BB is likely to 3-bet squeeze and force you to fold, you may be better off just folding and avoiding this tough, marginal spot.
I hope that my thoughts on these three common objections helps you see that it is possible to profit with online poker. Now get out there, try the strategies I discussed above, and enjoy your online journey.