It is a very familiar story and I have heard it thousands of times and it goes something like this.
Bought into a poker site for a thousand dollars a while back. I started playing some single table sit and go’s and limit hold’em. I was ahead by $700 after a couple of weeks and decided to cash it out. I played on with my initial grand. The games on $10-$20 limit hold’em looked really soft and players were calling with anything so I sat in on the game.
I had an unbelievable bad run and lost the thousand bucks that I had in the site and had to buy back in. I could not believe the miracle out draws that went against me, it just don’t seem natural.
The guy’s on this site don’t seem any tougher than the people I have around at my place every week but yet I am losing. Bought back in for the $700 that I cashed out and got it up to $1200 but then I went on a run of three consecutive losing sessions and now I am down by a $1000. I called with K-2 and the flop came K-K-2, and lost to some guy with K-10 who hit a ten on the turn. I mean just what are the odds of that happening?
I read on a forum about how certain online sites rate players and the good ones get handicapped after they start to win and especially after they cash out. I know that I am a very good player but I just cannot seem to win on this site+.
I just cannot understand it, I use sophisticated software and have just started using Poker Crusher and Hold +em Genius but yet I still can’t win+
Failing to see the reality of the situation
These three paragraphs are fictitious but the content within them is not as I have observed it many times and so will most of the readers in jakartapoker. There is so much naivety and ignorance contained within that statement that to any professional player, it is as plain as day that this player is a novice. He is the classic example of the player who can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.
He goes around suffering from delusions of grandeur because he knows numerous bits of poker terminology and has read a few books. He has his mates round once a week and does very well therefore in his mind he can really play the game and is nobody’s fool.
Because he is such a +good+ player, he cannot possibly conceive how he could have lost his money. He eventually figures that the reason for the loss must be that either the site was crooked or the game was.
This player is suffering from chronic delusion regarding his own poker ability and will repeat the whole process again and again because he flatly refuses to look at the real cause of the loss……himself! I always figured that the main reason for my success in poker was that once upon a time, I was able to take a good long hard look at myself and deduce that I wasn’t good enough. Nobody is born being good at poker, it comes through experience and learning…..an awful lot of learning!
Poker is a very difficult game to master as there are no landmarks or milestones by which you can measure your progress. When you attempt to learn the game by reading books and watching televised poker then what you are actually doing is trusting to luck that you are in fact interpreting everything that you are seeing and reading correctly. The chances of this are very slim and is why people in poker especially, vastly overestimate their own skill.
Starting out in handcuffs
Let us start by breaking down our +hero’s+ statement. Firstly he bought in for $1000 which can either be a very substantial sum of money or pitifully short depending on what levels you are playing. If you are playing at $1-$2 limit hold’em then a thousand bucks is a very considerable sum of money.
But not when you are playing $10-$20 it isn’t. That is just 50 big bets and I and any limit pro know from personal experience that 50 big bets at that form of the game can go in a very short space of time. Most limit pro’s have experienced sessions with 100 big bet losses and playing in the super fast arena of online play will speed up this occurrence even more.
So our guy is woefully under capitalised for the game that he is in irrespective of how good or bad that he happens to be. His bankroll cannot withstand even the slightest adverse bad run and he basically needs everything to run perfectly from start to finish.
Many people rant on about the supposed +cash out curse+ but in this example, the guy should not have cashed out at all if he had aspirations about playing $10-$20 limit. Millions of new online players who initially get in front cash out because they +want to experience winning+. But what they are experiencing is what mathematicians call +standard deviation+ or in plain language…..they initially got lucky!
Novice poker players grossly underestimate just how much luck that there is in poker. They buy into a site and get a few hundred in front and they perceive this to be skill and then cannot understand when not only their winnings have evaporated but their buy in as well.
His statement about the games on $10-$20 being soft is very vague. We need to know just what he has observed to make him think this. Very good players will make some +strange+ calls sometimes simply because they have read the situation.
While $10-$20 is a level that is hardly populated by tough pro’s, we still do not know what he is basing this statement on or what expertise he has to back it. Just like in any subject, if you lack knowledge and experience then whatever opinions you form are likely to be seriously flawed.
Just how bad can bad get
The statement about having an +unbelievable bad run+ is one that I have heard numerous times. Firstly this player has not played poker for long enough to experience a really bad run and wouldn’t even know a bad one if it dropped onto his head.
There is a tremendous amount of mathematics inherent in poker, it is not just about pot odds and implied odds and probabilities. Knowing the standard deviation and the variance that is active within your game would be a major step forward in understanding what is normal fluctuation from abnormal.
Nearly all limit pro’s have dipped 300 big bets in their bankroll at some stage of their career. If your regular game was $30-$60 then this is a whopping $18,000. Imagine if a deluded novice were to dip this same amount of money. They would be shouting from the highest roof top just how crooked the site was and how they had been cheated.
Our hero dipped $1700 at $10-$20 (85 big bets) which is well in the range of a top pro let alone a novice.
The guy thinks that he is running bad because he has had three consecutive losing sessions. In the cruel world of professional poker, he could run bad for weeks and months. In fact tournament pro’s have run bad for years and is why many of them have either ended up broke or have had to depend on other sources of income.
Paying to play…life just got a whole lot tougher!
This is a message to all you home game players out there who think that you are the bee’s knees when it comes to playing poker. There is a world of difference between playing poker for +free+ and having to pay to play.
The rake that online and B&M casinos take for hosting and running the game is an expense that many players simply cannot overcome. It is the silent killer, the relentless draining of money from the table that never ever gets to be put back.
This effect is nearly always overlooked by novice players and even though they know that it is happening, they just cannot comprehend the effect of it. In games like low limit hold’em, the effect of the rake is at it’s highest and even the best player on the table could be a long term loser in many games.
So not only has our hero been playing poker without expense, he has also by the sounds of it been playing against players at home who were even worse than him. A bad poker player could be a winning poker player simply because their opposition were absolutely diabolical. But many people simply do not view it this way +I am winning money so therefore I must be good+.
Technical flaws will show themselves much faster online!
On top of the rake issue there is also the obvious fact that online poker is substantially faster than it’s B&M counter part. You might say +so what, I already knew that+ but the truth behind this fact is that the sheer accelerated pace of play online will very quickly reveal even the slightest technical flaw in your game simply because it is speeding the entire process up several times over.
I mean what is this guy doing calling with a K-2 anyway, the only two instances that this play could be correct is if you limped in if it was suited in a big multi-way pot or it only cost you a fraction of a bet to call from the small blind. Our hero also has no grasp of the mathematics within the game and especially when computing odds.
He infers that an opponent with a K-10 is a massive underdog to overtake his flopped full house. The guy with the K-10 has a roughly 12% chance of hitting that ten and overtaking him with two cards to come not to mention the probability of a running pair to split the pot.
Listening to the losers
To cap it all, they have also been on some forum listening to how other deluded poker deadbeats have also been losing their money and all of a sudden there is a mass cumulative opinion that online poker is full of cheats and that the sites are crooked.
Part of this mistrust stems from the fact that people cannot actually see what is happening behind the scenes and when something bad happens to them and they cannot figure out why, they incorrectly reason that there is chicanery going on.
So for all you people who have lost money playing poker online and moaned about how crooked and unfair it is, I am sorry to have to tell you that the reason for the failure is a lot closer to home. Before all you conspiracy theorists start thinking that this article is a plant by someone who +obviously+ works for online casinos in some description, better think again.
In fact you can add being wrong about this to your list. I used to play professional poker online and that is my only connection with online card rooms. So have a good heart to heart +chat+ with the real person that is responsible for your online losses. But please be warned, they probably will not listen because people like them never do. Why should they, they are a great poker player after all!