How to make money with poker or online poker

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Can you make money by playing poker? That’s one questions that is frequently asked on the internet – and the answers are partly outrageous. Since our readers have asked us about this topic quite often, we’ve decided to give you an overview to answer your questions. If you just want a short answer and not read the whole article, our answer is: Yes, you can earn money by playing poker! But…

Can I make money by playing poker?

Let’s be serious: of course you can win money by playing poker. There are still people who claim that poker is based on luck only. However, this assumption is simply wrong. If they were right, how would you then explain those people, who earn their living with poker? Why do the same faces show up at the final tables of live events all the time? How would poker stars like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Vanessa Selbst or Phil Hellmuth manage to stay on top of the world-ranking list, if poker was exclusively based on luck? Obviously, the answer is: Poker’s not just luck, but rather a serious sport, where, in the long term, the better player will always be the winner.

Though the main point is: in the long term. This is due to the fact, that chance, and hence also luck, is a big part of the game. Even though you might make bad decisions while playing a hand, you might still be the winner in the end. However, if you constantly make bad decisions, you will lose when playing a duel against a professional. That’s because experienced and successful poker players always base their decisions on their hand’s probability to win. They are very good at maths, or have at least internalized the game to a degree that allows them to instinctively know whether their hand statistically allows them to call or even raise, or if they should better fold their cards.

Still, pure stochastic (the science of statistics) is not enough. Good poker players have many other winner qualities, which we’ve already explained in our article “What it takes to become a winning poker player”. For example you need a strong will to win, discipline, knowledge of human nature, realism and mental strength. Because as soon as you’re playing for higher winnings, it’s not that easy anymore to only concentrate on the odds – your chances to win. The fear of losing money is not a good counsellor when sitting at a poker table. This is why professionals advise newcomers to only play for stakes that don’t hurt the player.

The higher the stake, the more important is the way you handle your opponents. Professionals, people say, don’t play with their cards anymore, but with their opponents. They can read their opponent’s cards judging by their faces or playing behaviour and can then react accordingly. Of course, “reading” in this case doesn’t mean that they can actually precisely guess the other player’s cards. They rather try to rank their opponent’s hand in the sense of defining the range in the best possible way. A good player knows exactly that this is every professional opponent’s plan and therefore tries to behave as unpredictable as possible. As you can see, this doesn’t have anything to do with mere luck.

How do I know whether I’m a good poker player?

Good players, like the ones who were interviewed for this magazine article, make a four-digit profit next to their studies easily – per day. To become as successful as they are, next to talent you also need the will to learn. Simply playing poker is not enough in order to improve your skills. You need to make yourself familiar with strategies, read books and take part in forum discussions.

But how do I know whether I actually have what it takes to become a professional poker player? That having a lucky streak alone doesn’t make a successful player has already been mentioned before. But at what point do I realize that I’m capable of earning money by playing poker? Just because you might have made some good profit a couple of days in a row, doesn’t mean you’re talented and have the necessary self-control. A lucky streak can take up to several months, as Christian Hüttenberger explained in an interview: “It’s not uncommon, that you have a great run for two or three months and make thousands of dollars with only a small investment. Whether a player is actually good cannot be said before he has played several hundreds of thousands of hands.”

Live or online – where can I make money with poker?

Do I earn money by playing live tournaments or online poker? Of course, both is possible. At the latest since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker WSOP as an unknown online player in 2003, both worlds cannot be clearly separated from each other anymore. The really high prize pools are still found at live poker events. Only recently, the new world champion Joe McKeehen won 7.6 Million Dollars at the WSOP 2015 in Las Vegas. That shows that you can definitely make money with live poker. Nevertheless, if people want to actually make a living from playing poker, online poker is certainly the better choice for many of them. Here are some arguments for that:

Online poker takes less time

If you want to take part in a live poker tournament, you won’t really have any free time left. The games are more long-winded than they are online, where a timer makes sure that the players make quick decisions. Playing a round of online poker is always possible, because there are hundreds of real money tables waiting for you where you can just play some hands and then leave again when your lunch break is over.

Poker apps enable you to play poker everywhere

Of course, you no longer depend on your PC in order to play poker. An Android smartphone or iPhone is enough to take part in a real money poker game.

By using poker apps, you can play a hand at any time. May it be on your way to work or when sitting on your couch during a commercial break.

With multi-tabling you can play even more hands

When playing online poker it is common to play at several tables and the same time and to thereby speed up the game. Obviously, there is no chance of doing so at a live tournament. Many great poker apps, like the Titan Poker app, even allow you to do multi-tabling when you’re on the move.

More hands = more practice + less risk

In case you’re wondering what the advantage of multi-tabling and faster games is, the answer is easy: In order to become a good poker player, you first of all need to play a lot. The more hands you play within one hour, the greater the effect of your practice. Also, with every played hand the variance decreases, which means that the deflection gets balanced. The more hands you play, the closer you get to the theoretical probability. An example: when you throw the dices five times, there is a small chance to get a six five times. Though, if you throw the dices 100, 1000 or a million times, your results will counterbalance each other sooner or later.

Another factor is, that by playing faster games you can play with much lower stakes – and therefore you play at a lower risk level. Here’s an example: You have to earn 200 Euros a day in order to make a living from poker. When playing 500 hands per hour and making an average profit of 20 cents per hand, you have an hourly wage of 100 Euros and can stop playing after two hours. When playing the same stakes live on the other hand, you would only be able to play – let’s say – 20 hands per hour, which would give you an hourly wage of only four Euros. Even if you were playing 24 hours non-stop, you could only make 80 Euros a day. Hence, in order to make more money you’d have to play higher stakes.

The disadvantage: earning money by playing online poker got more difficult

You should keep in mind that over the years, online poker players got better and better. Although the number of players has decreased, there are many decent and also very good players which you don’t stand a chance against when you’re a beginner. This is why some recreational players quit online poker, which means that mainly strong players are waiting for you.

Luckily, many poker rooms have already noticed that trend and are now trying to get back the recreational players. They have passed several changes in rules that are meant to protect the beginners and occasional players. One example is the prohibition of so-called tracking softwares, which track the opponent’s playing habits and therefore give the user of that software an advantage. Or the anonymous poker tables, which were introduced to stop so-called sharks from analysing their opponent’s playing behaviour longer than for only one hand. This is also the direction that fast fold tables are heading at. We give detailed information about the criteria and about the best apps on our website poker for beginners. The list below is just an extract.

Poker apps for beginners

Site Bonus Review Visit
1 888 poker app 888 poker app $700 +88 free Review Visit »
2 Party Poker App Party Poker App €325 Review Visit »
3 RedKings RedKings €1500 Review Visit »
4 Unibet Poker App Unibet Poker App €200 Review Visit »
5 mFortune Texas Holdem Poker mFortune Texas Holdem Poker £100 +5 free Review Visit »

This information may now lead you to the assumption that all mentioned measures only make it harder to make money by playing online poker. And in the short term, this might be true. However, in the long term the result will be the exact opposite. Because only if the poker rooms are able to keep the occasional players interested, there will be players that allow you to make a living from online poker (because you have to take away somebodies money in the end). At first, you might belong to that group yourself, but if you show endurance you will still be able to earn money by playing poker in 2016.

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