The Top 9 Myths About Online Poker
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2015-05-17, by JTringerWhile there is a lot of good information out there about online poker, there are also many misconceptions.
I want to tackle the most common myths that you'll come across, and show you exactly why they are not true.
1. Poker Involves a Lot of Math
Thank Hollywood for this one. Most movies with poker or any gambling in them involve some whiz-kid mathematician that uses advanced calculus and algorithms to crush his opponents.
The truth: Most of the top poker players don't use anything beyond basic algebra (high school math). In addition, you can use shortcuts or hand review software to either make calculations easier, or to do them for you. You can be a winning poker player without having any interest in math.
2. You Will Have More "Bad Beats" Online
Many players who only play live poker suddenly start to feel like they are experiencing more bad beats when they start playing online.
The truth: In reality, you play many more hands online than you can during live poker. You typically play around 30 hands per hour live, while even playing a few hundred per hour is on the low side for online poker.
When you play more hands, you'll see more bad beats in a short time period, especially because they stand out from the rest of the hands. However, when you look at the bad beats as a percentage of the overall hands played, it is no different than live poker. You are not cursed, you're just playing more hands.
3. The Best Players Always Win
In T.V. and movies, our hero always wins. But in the real world, even top players like Phil Ivey have massive losing sessions, and on a fairly regular basis.
The truth: No matter how good you are, there's a limit to how much of an edge you can have on players. The better the player you are playing against, the more variance you will experience. The best players will always win in the long run, and likely the largest amount, but the long run can be years or decades in some cases.
4. Poker Professionals Are Rich and Live Like Rockstars
Poker professionals are typically young, and throw around thousands of dollars at the tables on a regular basis. There are many stories of poker players throwing crazy parties and living it up in Vegas. But really, this is a small minority of poker professionals.
The truth: Most poker professionals don't win millions every year. The majority make a good living, but it is a grind. They consistently outperform other players at the table, which is how they make a living. The professionals who do make a ton? Not all of them want to party all the time. Most just play the game that they love and have some fun once in a while.
5. You Have to Play Tight To Win Online
If you study the top players at the micro stakes, you will see that most of them play very tight. This is because there are enough wild players where this is a good idea. But once you move up the stakes, playing too tight is a recipe for losing.
The truth: Just because you can play more hands online and wait for premium ones, doesn't mean you should. The best players will take advantage of this and steal blinds and pot while you are waiting for good hands. When you finally get excited, they'll just fold.
6. There is a "Cash-out Curse"
The "cash-out curse" says that after you take money off a poker site, you'll have bad luck. This is supposedly a punishment by the poker site for taking money away from the tables.
The truth: People like to see patterns where they don't exist. Many players have had a run of bad luck after cashing out, but many players have also had good luck. This myth is a result of selective bias. There is no reason for a poker site to want you to lose money. While you might re-deposit, you may also just move to another site or quit. Besides the massive ethical breach, there's no other reason for a poker site to curse players.
7. Good Players Can Read Your Mind
Again, let's blame the media. How many times has the hero of a story read an opponent's soul in an impossible situation and called out their hand just by looking at them? If you thought online poker was like this, I'm sorry to disappoint you.
The truth: In online poker, players can't even see you. The only possible tell would be your click speed, but I'll tell you a secret. Most professionals are playing at least 4 tables, making it impossible to keep track of anyone's click speed and what it actually means.
8. You Need Poker Talent To Succeed
Most top poker professionals today seemed to come out of nowhere. They are almost exclusively young - younger than 30, often in their early 20's. While some assume that they just have a ton of raw poker talent, this just simply isn't true.
The truth: While some people have a bit more of an aptitude for the game because they are used to analyzing people and situations, no one starts off as a winner. All of these top players have played millions of hands to rise to the top, they are far from overnight success stories. Online poker gives you the potential to learn a ton in a small amount of time, one of it's best features.
9. Online Poker is Rigged
This is a myth that was created by losers. After trying online poker for a bit and losing money, they decided it must be rigged, especially since they are able to beat their buddies and local casino games.
The truth: Everything in online poker is completely randomized, better than in live poke. While there have been a few scandals on sketchy sites where there have been cheaters, 99.99+% of games are completely fair. The reason why the players who say this win at live and lose at online is that online poker is much tougher. Even micro-stakes online poker is often tougher than most poker games at casinos.
If you were on the fence about online poker before, I hope you feel a lot better about it now. Check out our free poker strategy section to improve your game and win more at the tables.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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