Why Can't I Win Money From Online Poker?
Why can’t I win money at online poker? Where am I going wrong? What do I need to do to improve my poker game?
I don’t know. Those are some pretty vague questions right there. Maybe if you sent me some stats, graphs and a few hand histories then I might be able to do something. Then again, this isn’t really much of a dialogue, so that’s not going to work either.
However, what I can do is give you a bunch of reasons as to why you can’t win money from online poker and ideas for what you could do to improve. How does, say, a nice, round 26 reasons sound?
Reasons why you lose money playing online poker.
- You’ve played 1,000 hands. Ever heard of variance? Don’t draw any conclusions until you hit at least 10,000 hands, and even then you can’t really rely on the results from that sample size. Just play lots of hands before you resign yourself to the losers’ corner.
- You don’t use bankroll management. If you don’t use BR management, you’re never going to be able to consistently win money from poker. And no, I’m not just saying that to scare you.
- You play too many hands. Sure, all hands in poker have a chance of winning, but then I also have a chance of having a threesome. Just because an event can happen it doesn’t mean that you should put your money behind it. The odds aren’t always going to be in your favour.
- You undervalue position. How many articles and tips is it going to take before you start to understand that position is actually way more important than you think it is? Have you not noticed how much easier it is to play from the button than it is UTG?
- You make minraises before and after the flop. Why? Raise 3BB + 1BB for each limper preflop and bet at least 2/3rds of the pot postflop and you’ll do much better for yourself. See bet sizing for more details.
- You multi-table too many tables. Yeah sure, all the cool kids are multi-tabling but that doesn’t mean you have to too. Take you time and play within your comfort zone. I’m sure that if I had a Ferrari as my first car I would have crashed it. Thank God that I was broke and had to settle for a washing machine with wheels.
- You chase draws too much. Blindly chasing after any and every flush and straight draw isn’t going to pay off. Pot odds will sort you out.
- You make crying calls. It’s nice to be able to see your opponent’s hand at the end, but if it’s costing you money then it’s not really all that nice at all. Learn to be content with your decision and fold if you think you’re behind.
- You blame the poker room and not yourself. PokerStars is rigged!!11!! - of course. It couldn’t possibly that you have leaks in your game could it. Winning players look inward not outward when they are losing.
- You haven’t read any poker books. Even in this high-tech world of training videos, interactive seminars and snowboarding, there is still room for the good old-fashioned poker books. The better ones are still incredibly helpful, so don't overlook them.
- You chase after stats. You are 28/16/2 and apparently you need to play 22/18/3 to be a winning poker player at 6max NLHE, so you force yourself to play less hands and raise more. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Focus on playing good poker and the stats will take care of themselves.
- You play whilst on tilt. Yes, that’s right. Shoving all-in with 63 offsuit UTG is by far the most effective way to get your money back after that bad beat.
- You make fancy plays against micro stakes players. Floating the flop and check raising the turn isn’t going to go down too well if the guy on the other side of the screen is dribbling, scratching his balls and randomly clicking buttons. Keep it simple. Bet your good hands and check/fold your bad hands.
- You don’t value bet big enough. Seriously, crank your value bets up and your winrate will skyrocket. Why bet $20 in to a $100 pot when you can get called by a $100 bet? Bigger value bets = bigger wins.
- You don’t value bet at all. Even worse! If you have a good hand, get some money for it. Don’t be afraid to lose 1 time out of 10 or whatever. Not value betting is like never crossing the road because you’re always afraid of getting run over.
- You call raises with weak hands and then fold to further action. If you don’t have a plan for later on in the hand you’re no better than a monkey clicking buttons. You should always have a plan of action for later streets. Fold on that turn if you don’t know what you’re going to do on the river.
- You don’t continuation bet. Continuation bets can pick up loads o’ little pots. Adding the cbet to your game is an instant winrate booster.
- You continuation bet too much. Easy now tiger, cbets are good and all but not necessarily 100% of the time. On some flops you’re much better off checking. See this video on continuation betting for a quick quite on when and when not to cbet.
- You don’t double barrel. This is often because you just cbet too much. If you’re not prepared to double barrel then hold back on those cbets.
- You double barrel too much. Just because your continuation bet got called it doesn’t mean you need to go ahead and throw the kitchen sink at your opponent to get them off the hand. Pick your spots.
- You triple barrel too much. I think this is going to be the biggest bankroll rapist. Poor triple barrels are going to ravage your bankroll until it’s a quivering mess.
- You don’t 3bet enough. If you’re not 3betting your AKs and AQs against loose raises you are missing out on easy money. Put money in the middle with strong hands.
- You call too many 3bets. If you raise and get 3bet by a tight player, what sort of hands do you think your AJo is beating?
- You don’t get rakeback. This isn’t going to fix the root of the problem, but if you’re a break even or marginal losing player then rakeback can turn you in to a winning player overnight.
- You play when you’re tired or drunk. As a rule of thumb, if it's not legal for you to drive, then you shouldn’t play poker either. As sad as it is to say this, think of poker as a sport. You need to be in good condition, otherwise your results will suffer.
- You have a “lucky” hand. No, J3o isn’t lucky and it’s not going to win you any money.
Any of those help you out?
Oh, and for what it's worth, you definitely can win money from poker. Have a look at how much money you can win playing online poker.
Go back to the interesting Texas Hold'em articles.
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