Sep 01, 2015
7 Online Poker Myths that can Destroy Your Bankroll
By RTR Dennis
The online poker world is full of myths, from the idea that only young people play the game to the thought that internet poker is completely rigged. Luckily, you can quickly see through most of these by doing a little research. Nevertheless, there are certain online poker myths that new players keep falling for that are destroying their bankrolls. This being said, let's look at seven myths that can actually hurt your chances of winning.
Myth #1: I'm a Break-even Player
One oft-spoken phrase from bad poker players goes like this: "I usually break even." Online poker can create the illusion that you're breaking even when considering that you may win $50 one session, lose $75 the next, win $45 the following session, then drop another $55 (net: -$35). The fact is that the average player loses money in poker, but thinks they do better than this because they don't keep track of results. This is why it's important to track each session so you know how much you're truly winning/losing.
Myth #2: Online Poker Success is measured in Terms of Money
All too often you'll see beginning players either boast of their short-term winnings or whine about their losses. Going further, they think that wins/losses determine their skill and how they're doing. However, you can't measure your game based purely on short-term results. Instead it's important to keep learning strategy, analyzing your play and continually improving. Once you start correctly identifying players' ranges and developing a great feel for the game, you'll be a lot closer to success than any short-term winnings could ever indicate.
Myth #3: You can't beat Micro Stakes because Players don't respect Your Raises
There's truth to half of this myth because many bad micro stakes players don't care about your raises and will just shove all-in for fun. However, if you truly believe that this is a reason why you can't beat micro limits, then you're missing out on lots of easy money. When players are going all-in with marginal hands, it's your responsibility to adjust your playing style to the situation and take advantage. Sure you'll lose some of these races, but by watching opponents and identifying their hand ranges, you'll win far more than you lose.
Myth #4: You can't win without playing Aggressively
Poker TV shows and tournament highlights often show pro players pulling off very aggressive raises and bluffs. And somehow, these plays always seem to work out in the highlights. Unfortunately, this can lead amateurs to believe that they too should play this aggressively and 4-bet with mediocre hands. Things don't always work out like they do on TV, though, and you'll lose far more money playing aggressive as a beginner. A much better idea is to be tight, observe everything, then develop a feel for the game before getting riskier.
Myth #5: Internet Poker is Mostly Luck
There is most certainly luck involved with poker; but the mistake that some players make is attributing too much of results to luck. Although skilled players will have plenty of losing sessions, they'll make far more money over the long haul than the average player. The key is to not let a few bad beats push you off the fact that there's a fair amount of skill involved with poker.
Myth #6: Your Strategy should be Near Perfect before playing for Real Money
Some beginning players have this idea that they must digest as much poker information as possible before betting any real money. And while it's good to study strategy before playing, don't get caught up in thinking that you must be perfect before playing - you won't be! Becoming good at poker is a journey filled with ups and downs, and the best way to improve is through a mix of strategy and playing. Following a session, work through difficult hands that you had and try to see what you did right and wrong.
Myth #7: Online Poker Tells revolve around Simple Mind Games
Some of the older poker articles out there claim that tells are as simple as opponents trying to indicate the opposite of their hand strength. For example, if an opponent has a strong hand, they'll take extra time to make a decision because they want you to think they're weak. Contrarily, they'll quickly call your raise or re-raise when they're holding a marginal hand to indicate strength. In reality, you can't read into how quickly or slowly somebody bets because you never know if they're distracted. Instead, real tells can be seen through betting patterns and what you've observed from the same player before. So watch the games and come up with tells on individual players; don't rely on some stock advice from years ago.