Some years ago I played in middle stakes games and higher in an attempt to be a “player”. It is only now looking back that I realise that this was a huge mistake. If it were possible to beat these levels easily then more players would be playing at and beating mid-stakes poker at say www.888poker.com . The player pools are so tiny and the skill levels are so high that your margins are wafer thin and in fact are so thin that it then becomes very difficult to even know that you have an edge at all because of the shockingly high variance.
So if you want to be a pro or even semi-pro then you need to get real and to keep it real. Forget pie in the sky ideas and get down to basics and the type of strategies that will beat lower stakes games and beat them well. At the end of the day then you need to be clever in how you approach online poker these days. Gone are the days when huge volumes of fish could be found simply throwing their money away.
Sitting tight and nut peddling may get you a few dollars per hour but you can earn as much working in some dead end job that pays you a minimum wage. If you want to earn more than minimum wage then you need to learn how to beat the modern online game at levels that offer you opponents that are solid but considerably below a top class level.
Laying the ground work
I will be basically laying the ground work inside this month’s article for what will be to come in the coming months. No limit hold’em is a tough nut to crack for many players because in deep stack situations then you only have to make one tiny error and hours of hard work can be wiped out within the blink of an eye. In my opinion the vast majority of players who can play good decent solid poker and who are struggling with their results or who are stagnating are doing so for one simple reason…….this is because they are endeavouring to use a style that is too widely replicated by too many of their opponents.
To find an edge in any form of gambling involves utilising strategies that the rest of the population don’t use. If a strategy or a way of playing is popular then your opponents are not only playing in the same way but they are also aware of what your strategy is.
Thinking on different levels
In terms of game strategy then we need to be able to operate on several different levels. Let us start with the most basic of novices. This is someone who doesn’t really know ABC or how to play solid poker and who may even be quite experienced but has still not advanced their game to a winning level. We can call this a level 1 player. A level 2 player is where many online regs are at this time and is someone who has worked very hard on their game to take them to a level where they can exploit lesser players.
They have a decent grasp of ABC play and play a good tight and solid aggressive style. This level 2 player is the next step of the poker evolutionary ladder. However this is where many players stay for a number of reasons. This could be to do with a lack of time to seek out the extra coaching that is required to successfully move their game to the next level or it could be because they think that they already “know the game” and don’t need to bother anymore. At a basic level then a level 1 player can really only make money over the long term from level 0 players or in other words……very weak opponents on 888poker
Finding your level
So what I am really saying here is that if you know or suspect that you know a good solid ABC style and nothing else then you may beat up on the micro and low stakes levels for decent earn rates but you will never progress any higher than that and maintain good earn rates over big sample sizes. Your game needs something extra and it is that “extra” that we will discuss in the coming months. Unfortunately (and this is the hard part) making money at online poker is more than just replicating what you read in a magazine or see on some coaching video.
There is a tremendous amount of hands on experience needed both by you and your poker coach if you want to reach the Holy Grail of playing professional level poker. Do not get me wrong, I play full time but I seek out weaker opponents than most other pro’s and I multi-table against them. This is the safest way to succeed without too many obstacles and even though you will never get recognition from the poker fraternity playing levels like NL25 through NL100, what your friends and family and other poker players will recognise is your extra spending money that you have every month as well as being your own boss and not having to answer to anyone and your “living the dream” type live style.
My coaching style
My students often ask me what my style of coaching is. Many people want “sweat sessions” but I think that is a poor way to learn. Some others want “videos” as they try to advance their game by the use of visual imagery. This is a better way but it often lacks the interaction from the student and any coaching method in my opinion needs interaction.
My method involves a co-operation between student and coach in examining hand histories. This is where each hand can be broken down on an individual basis without time being a factor or with anything being missed. I expect a lot of work from my students because there are no short cuts in poker. If you want a second income or even a full time alternative to your current job then you are going to have to get tough with your education.
I am a cash game player and always have been. I don’t play tournaments and never will because I don’t crave attention or fame. However I know through vast experience how to do well playing online poker in no limit cash games and this is something that I want to convey to others.
No need to be technical
I often get people asking me if they need to improve their maths skills or to use tracking software to do well in online poker. Well I would say that my maths ability is mediocre compared to an awful lot of players and I don’t use tracking software. Firstly tracking software is mis-used by a large percentage of the people that use them. There are large volumes of players that are either recycling money or losing money who use poker tracking software. While they are useful, the ability to be able to play more tables and encounter more weak opponents is even more vital in online poker.
So the bottom line is that you don’t need to be a maths wizard or some computer geek to do well playing online poker. However you do need the flexibility of thought to be able to look at deep stack no limit Texas hold’em in a slightly different way to how the masses are currently viewing it. Remember if your game is too similar to the games of people that either lose a little, break even or win a little then this is all that you will get from online poker in terms of your results. Just like in warfare…….the price of victory is never cheap! See you next month where we can start to break down what is important in no limit Texas hold’em.
Contact Carl at email@example.com for advanced poker coaching and staking deals up to $2000 per player. Simply state your experience and poker history and why you think you should be considered.