Online Poker Pros Read This Before Playing a Single Hand

Man Reading a Book on Left and a Laptop Showing a Online Poker Game on Right

Online poker has never been more accessible to the masses. While the legalization efforts haven’t been successful everywhere, they have spurred attention to the fact that it’s not entirely criminal either.

Poker players in the United States are almost assured not to face prosecution for such a heinous crime as online poker. The fact is we’ve got more significant problems on our hands as a nation.

I spent the majority of my early years as a poker player making the rounds in cash games. But for the past decade, a majority of my poker sessions have been online.

Many of you may be struggling with a similar decision on whether to take your poker skills online. The leap from live games to online has several obstacles that you must overcome to be successful.

Prospective online poker pros (and total rookies) need to read this before playing a single hand.

You Should Always Stick to Games You Know

Texas Hold’Em has become synonymous with poker for U.S.-based players. However, various Omaha, stud, and draw games are popular with players worldwide.

Most online poker sites will offer a healthy selection of games for players. It’s crucial that you look for a site that offers the games you prefer to play at the stakes you can enjoy.

It would be best if you avoided any games to which you’re unfamiliar. One of the perks of playing online is the ability to play the games for free while you learn.

I encourage each of you to dedicate as much time to learning the new games as you can. However, it would help if you didn’t immediately leap into the deep end of the pool.

For example, if you’re playing $1/$2 Texas Hold’Em and take up a new game, I encourage you to start at the lowest stakes available for that game. The same thing goes if you’re playing Hold’Em at a $5/$10 level, you need to start at the ground floor.

Furthermore, you need to understand the game entirely before making a single wager for real money. Many prospective poker pros have severely stunted their growth by spreading themselves thin.

Pick a Poker Site That Won’t Leave You Hanging

Poker players who are new to online card rooms face a challenge in picking the best site for their needs. Many of the prominent sites exclude players with U.S.-based IP addresses.

So, your options become limited immediately, along with your potential opportunities. Yet, some players sidestep this and are able to play nearly anywhere with impunity.

I’m not advocating the practice of using a VPN but pointing out their existence. These VPNs mask your IP address allowing U.S.-based players to play anywhere.

Typing on Laptop Keyboard, Online Poker

That’s a personal choice, but not using a VPN will make your life as a professional poker player much more challenging.

Regardless of your take on the use of VPNs, it’s critical that you find a reputable poker site. The internet is full of malicious sites that will gladly take your money and lock you out or sell your information to the highest bidder.

Take steps to vet any potential site before making a deposit. I’ve always found that other poker players are a fantastic resource in weeding out undesirable sites.

Maximize Your Bonus

If you’re unfamiliar with the world of online poker, you probably don’t know much about the fantastic deposit bonuses.

Online casinos and poker sites are in a mad dash competing for new customers. The war on attrition begins and ends with deposit bonuses.

The way poker bonuses work is that the online sites will offer to match your deposit up to a limit. The online casinos do this without any consequences because you lose 100% of the money back to the house.

However, poker is a different animal entirely. If the casino merely gave players $250 in free money, they’d take a bath.

So, your bonus is paid out as you achieve milestones. These milestones come in the form of points earned through paying into raked pots.

The rate at which you earn points will be determined by how much you play and at what stakes. Most players can expect to earn one point for every pot in the $1/$2 games.

You’ll get incremental bonuses along the way but won’t see the total $250 unless you complete the terms of the bet, which require thousands of points.

Most players will lose before they get to their full bonus potential. But the good players will see a nice bonus after they complete the offer’s terms and conditions.

Use these bonuses to your advantage, but don’t move from site to site before earning the entire bonus.

Play for Free as a Warmup

I spent over a decade playing poker in live games before playing my first poker hand online. I was overwhelmed, and it cost me money.

I don’t mean in the sense that I wasn’t good at poker and got beat. I was making mistakes related to the user interface and failing to act promptly.

All of that money would have been added to my bankroll and resulted in profit if I had been wiser. I never took the time to pause and consider what I was facing.

Person on Laptop Playing Online Poker Game

Instead, I took the plunge headfirst and only began to assess things in the heat of battle. Take the opportunity to play for free before staking your bankroll.

Even the money you lose early on at the lowest $0.01/$0.02 games will be eating away at your eventual profits. You’re starting over in many ways by taking your skills digital; don’t lose sight of that.

There’s a Learning Curve

One thing that many players hear about is how the game plays differently online. That might be an understatement.

I based my entire poker career on putting my opponent on a hand and using that information to play my cards. That seemed nearly impossible to me when I began playing online poker.

There was so much inconsistency and lack of traditional betting progressions that I began doubting myself. However, I started making my opponents back up their hands with more and more regularity.

That almost instantaneously made me profitable at the extremely low-stakes games. Still, a fish is a fish online or in-person, and I soon found my way to the bigger games.

I don’t think most prospective pros will have any trouble making a profit playing suitable online games. Yet, those games may not be the games you prefer to be playing.

Understand the learning curve and take the necessary steps to wade into online poker lightly.

Multi-Tables Is a Staple for Successful Players

If you’re only experience playing poker is in poker rooms and cash games, you’re probably not familiar with playing multiple tables. Multi-tabling is standard practice for advantage gamblers, and it needs to be something you become proficient with sooner than later.

The logic behind playing multiple tables is sound. Advantage players in poker win because they have more skill than other players.

When you play several tables at once, you increase your profit potential. The key is to find several tables where you’re comfortably one of the best three players.

Man Sitting at a Casino Table While Playing Online Poker

Then you can take turns feeding on the weaker players. You may even catch one of the good players slipping and cash in big.

It’s essential that you keep a few things in mind when playing multiple tables. First, you should be playing the same stakes for all games. It’s easy to get caught off guard by a wager when you’ve got different stakes happening simultaneously.

Another key is to keep your distractions to a minimum. That goes for any time you’re playing online poker, but it is more crucial when you’ve got more to pay attention to and more money in play.

Create a space where you can focus and do your best work. Playing multiple tables can be one of the most lucrative aspects of online poker.

Winning at Online Poker Is Possible

You can win money playing online poker, but it’s not the easiest way to make a living. Professional poker players require discipline, dedication, intelligence, and poker skills.

Take those characteristics, add an immense amount of hard work and focus, and you’ve got a sustainable poker career. You’ll have people telling you that it’s impossible to make a living at online poker.

But what they mean is that they can’t make a living playing online poker. Anybody with enough drive and capacity to learn can become a successful poker player.

The excellent part about playing online is that you don’t even need a poker face.

Our Final Thoughts

The game of poker is played differently online. Prospective online pros need to read this before playing a single hand.

It won’t guarantee immediate success in the online games, but you’ll be getting out of the gate well ahead of where I started.