Can You Make Money Playing Online Poker?
When you ask someone the question, “Can you make money playing online poker?”, you’ll get different answers depending on who you’ve asked. Some people will tell you that the house always wins – that there’s only one way to beat the house. Others will tell you about all sorts of tricks and tips they’ve learned along the way to help them win big.
But, what’s the truth? Is it possible to get rich playing poker online? We explore these questions below.
Is Poker a Game of Chance or a Game of Skill?
If poker is a game of chance, then there’s no way that you’ll be able to make money in the long term. The house builds an edge into most of its games so that it always wins.
You can never come out on top with games of chance…unless you’re lucky, win early, and then quit whilst you’re ahead. The only exceptions here are the loss leaders, but these are carefully calculated to ensure that, overall, the house comes out on top.
The online casinos usually use a Random Number Generator (RNG) in games of chance, and therefore, the odds are fixed before you play. There’s no way around it, over time you’ll lose.
But games of skill are a different matter. They can give the player an edge over the house. Although, when this is the case, the casinos set the games up slightly differently, e.g. by having players play against each other, instead of playing against the house. Here, the house takes a cut of the jackpot or charges an entry fee.
The house always makes money, no matter the set up (i.e. whether games of skill or chance). The difference is whether a player always wins too; in games of chance, the player never win long term, but in games of skill, at least one player will win per game/tournament. A highly skilled player can win consistently.
Poker is an unusual game because it has elements of both chance and skill. You can’t guarantee a win, but you can stack the odds in your favour.
So, Can You Make Money from Playing Poker Online?
It is possible to win money playing online poker and to win it consistently. But you need to make good choices from the start.
Learn How to Play
The first thing that you need to do is to learn how to play the game properly. You have a couple of options here.
First, you can buy poker software, e.g., PokerTracker 4. They allow you to track and analyse your play – you’ll be able to track your strengths and weaknesses and practise different skills.
Secondly, you can pay for poker lessons either privately or as part of an online course, e.g., Upswing Poker Lab.
Finally, you can sign up with one of the online casinos, e.g., Pokerstars and play poker for real money.
If you opt to play for money, be careful and play for small amounts until you become a decent player. Many people play online poker looking for “fish” to exploit. Only play with money that you can afford to lose.
Learn Good Game Selection
Closely related to the last point, when it comes to winning online poker, you need to choose the right game. Live player games are generally the only way to make money. Playing the single-player games (against the casino) is not lucrative.
Live players are where the money is at, and there are a few reasons for that. For instance, people make mistakes – machines usually don’t – this makes it easier for you to spot those mistakes and exploit them. Also, bad players don’t necessarily realise they’re bad. If you can find tables of bad players, then you can make bank.
It takes time to learn where to play. You need to keep your ear to the ground to see where people play. Visit the online gambling forums and see what people are saying. Often, when there’s a lot of buzz about a new casino or new tournament, you’ll see people flock there, and within those hordes, plenty of fish.
Take Your Ego Out of the Game
The fastest way to lose money at poker is to think you’re the world’s best player. Egos are rife within the poker community, and they’re usually misplaced. If you get too big for your boots, you stand to lose A LOT OF MONEY.
Try to be realistic about your skill level, and, if you want to make money, stick to tables that match your skill level, or fall just below it.
You can make money playing online poker, but only if you take the advice outlined above. More often than not, people develop egos around their skill level and that can lead to disaster. So practice, find the right games and don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose.