These days your opponents will all be aware of how to play “conventional” poker. Everybody understands position, hand values or what they perceive hand values to be. They understand differing ranges from position, basic bluffing techniques, how board textures affect bluffing, equity and all of the other conventional pieces of poker knowledge. So then you may think that with everybody being able to talk a good game that they would be able to play a good game as well. However this isn’t always the case because if too many players are adopting the same style then the edge is minimal.
I play a lot of full ring games and it is often very difficult to extract money in the conventional way. In full ring then most solid players will be folding a high percentage of their range. So full ring games mean that you often end up withdrawing with the primary goal being one of patience. So to get ahead in full ring games means starting off with the objective of not losing money! The true mastery of full ring games stems from being at one with patient play.
To make money from your opponents involves two key areas working in unison. The first is to have an edge and the second is to have a good money management system in place. When this happens then your chances of making money will go through the roof. To get an edge over your opponents then you need to not only be a good poker player but to also know what your opponents know. If you try and play too much like your average competition then the chances to get and then maintain an edge will be very difficult. So herein lays the problem in how to make money playing online poker or to succeed in any form of gambling for that matter.
Whether you are trading, sports betting or playing poker……you absolutely need to be playing in a way that the masses don’t. So just what do the masses know and how much work do they put in? Well I believe that the vast majority of poker players do not approach poker in the right way (I know because I didn’t once upon a time) and they also only have a finite level of time to dedicate to learning the game.
In terms of the actual theoretical side of the game then I would say that the best theorists are also struggling to make money and so this begs the question of how useful is poker theory? I know many players that understand the game extremely deeply who have struggled to beat or can no longer beat middle limits. The problem with moving up in stake levels is that the player pools shrink dramatically. However the players that operate at these new levels are players that are probably taking the game a lot more seriously. Sometimes you need to “reverse engineer” poker theory to get an edge over “accomplished” players.
Remember that an “edge” in poker is derived from several factors. The first is your skill advantage but skill can be got from several different things. The second is your position and the third is your card strength. However all of these are floating variables. A “skill” advantage is often difficult to estimate and a card advantage is often the same.
Your opponents also are aware of position and so having position isn’t as powerful as it used to be some years ago. For example position is very important in poker and I for one am not going to argue otherwise. However it is often overused and not fully understood by the vast majority of players that try to execute that particular advantage.
Carl Sampson is a professional online poker player that plays at www.888poker.com