Playing online poker can be profitable — to become convinced in this statement, just check the official income top poker players take away with them from the high-level tournaments. However, cash games bring a lot of money, too, if you are aware of the game theory and have the strong mental agility to apply them at the right moment.
General tips for making money playing poker
The first thing you have to note before you start your career as a professional poker player is that poker is a game with a rather high barrier of entry. It means that it is not really possible to take a place among the best players in the short term so you have to arm yourself with patience to learn. The main trick of poker is that the rules are really simple and it seems that you are skilled enough to participate in high stakes cash games after learning a bunch of strong hands and winning combinations, however, the game is much deeper which makes it a demanding way to make much money or turn it into the primary source of income.
Start with theoretical knowledge
Many players decide on skipping this important part preferring to learn from their own mistakes. However, no practice can make you a winning poker player if you drop the same clangers over and over again. To start with, it will be useful to look into the most popular and typical strategies and learn examples of standard hands that should be played or, on the contrary, folded.
Don't try to read and bear in mind tons of information you are certainly going to find in different online poker studying resources and guides. Start with some basic knowledge and go deeper as soon as you realize you have caught on to the simplest techniques and tactics.
Don't make haste
It might be a temptation that will be hard to resist to register in different poker sites and start playing on real money with good players. It might give you an experience, however, this is also the best way to get disappointed by having discouraging results and lost of significant money amounts.
Fortunately, most popular online casinos, poker sites, and mobile applications welcome novices by offering them demo games against bots and free poker where you play with the other recreational players on virtual money.
After you become well-versed in casual gaming you can start participating in freerolls. They are not the places where you can earn a lot, but here you will face more competitive opponents, gain a lot of practice and will have a chance to gain your first money prize. Let's set it off as a separate checkbox.
Take the most of freerolls
What are freerolls? It is a type of tournament popular on poker sites that do not require any rake fees. You enter a freeroll with a certain number of chips and compete against the others for a money prize or some valuable prizes like smartphones, game consoles, tablets. Sometimes freerolls are organized as satellite poker tournaments which means that winning in such a freeroll will give you the right to participate in the bigger events, Such events are created as promotional offers to attract more customers to poker sites, that is why participation is free. You can check the schedules of different freerolls or search for passwords that will give you access to close freerolls: they have fewer participants and thus the money prize is bigger.
Keep control of your bankroll
Bankroll management is the key moment for people who want to make money on the game of poker. Every time you join a poker table, determine the amount you can afford to spend; after your limit is over, immediately leave a poker room. No good players who made poker their source of income spend their money mindlessly; making money on poker has nothing to do with emotional instability and uncontrollable thrill of the game.
Analyze the dispersion
You have probably heard many times before that poker is a game of very high dispersion. What does it mean? Dispersion is the difference between your expected payoff based on mathematical analysis and the real final result in the long run distance. In simple words, when we say that poker is a dispersive game, we mean that there is a big chance that your elaborated strategy will not work for some reason and partly it will be a matter of luck.
If gaining much money when you play poker is essential for you, you have to learn how to calculate your dispersion; this will allow you to predict your possible winnings and gambling losses. There are special calculators that can help you and some extra tips to control your bankroll and not to let it be all devoured by dispersion. They include opting for cash games and Sit and Go tournaments which are considered as less dispersive or gathering into pools with the other players on certain tournament types. Dispersion gives a special vibe to the poker game and it doesn't only spoil your performance and steal your profit: due to it, many people who have never been into a game much, managed to win major tournaments, too.
The main advice you have to know to make money playing poker is that the dispersion can be brought down to a minimum by playing as many hands as possible. The more games you pass, the less dispersive will be your total experience.
Be careful with the game selection
There are many poker types with different rules; you have to choose one that you will confident about and be sure that you are good enough to compete with the best players of your chosen discipline. Simultaneously with your money gaming, you can dedicate your spare time to learning how to play different games on a poker site that offers free poker games that do not require any deposits.
How much can I make on playing poker?
The earnings of poker pro players vary in quite a wide range: from the amounts comparable with an average monthly salary to millions of dollars.
However, if you want to turn your poker winnings into a regular income, you have to take into account the critical fact that you have to invest large amounts to participate in high-stakes games, so your final net profit will be formed after deduction of all buy-ins you have to pay for tournaments or rake rates of the cash game poker rooms.
For instance, professional poker players of such a level as Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey (top players of the world for the moment) have capital of about 25-30 million USD made on poker winnings only. However, sometimes they entered tournaments with buy-ins reaching a million USD, so their spendings are as formidable as their earnings.
Most players who play regularly but have not managed to get to such heights settle for the much more modest amounts: from 1 000 USD to 10 000 USD as a monthly emolument.
Remember to check the gambling taxation policies of your country; in most cases, you will have to pay tax from your poker money in case the winnings exceed certain amounts.
How to earn on tournaments and cash games
Your form of making money from playing poker can be different: you can opt for freerolls and cash games, or be focused on tournaments as many high rollers do. Your strategies will not be the same, of course, so below are the methods of how to make more in different options of a poker game.
Winning money in a tournament requires certain skills, including strategies that combine aggressive and tight game style. As your aim as a tournament poker player to reach the latest stages and stay in the number of participants for as long time as possible, it is essential to behave more carefully in the early stage and become more aggressive when it comes to final actions. A typical catchphrase says that a good tournament is an aggressive tournament, and if you watch some of the games of the top players in the world and notice their poker strategy, you will realize that there is much truth in these words.
What to choose: offline tournaments or online ones?
It may seem that there is no significant difference between these alternatives except your physical presence at the poker table, however, you should know that they are not the same at all.
If you are determined to earn a good amount of money on poker, but your budget is limited and you are not a very experienced poker player yet, it is better to start with online events. Playing online poker in the tournament mode will be more profitable for the following reasons:
- Your investment will consist of buy-ins; no transfers, accommodation, and other expenses will be required like they would be at the major tournaments unless they take place in your city;
- You will be able to make more money in a certain period of time that the tournament will last: offline tournaments will not allow you physically to play on different poker tables to get a lot more profit. Performing multi-table gaming is much easier when the event is taking place on the Internet.
Many good poker specialists claim that you should avoid tournaments when you just make your first steps. This is reasonable because if you check the win rate of the best poker tournament participants and compare it to the other members, you will find out that you will have to invest much more time and effort to make money if you compete in tournaments with normal buy-ins.
Another distinctive feature of a tournament is that you have to dedicate several hours in a row to poker in order to achieve any decent results; this is time-consuming and might be too overwhelming for novices. Moreover, most likely you want to make your online poker earnings your side income for at least the first little while, so cash games will be more appropriate to coordinate with another business activity. Thus, it is time to touch upon cash games and the options to make money on them, too.
Cash games are more appropriate for making money on them: here are some advantages of cash games over the tournaments:
- You do not have to enter the cash game according to any schedule and have an opportunity to join the table at whatever time you want; the end of the game also depends on your choice;
- You get an instant winning in cash so you are able to have money in the short term;
- You get an opportunity of monitoring the players you are going to play against. You have more chances to win if you can tell bad players from the better ones and get involved in the game with admittedly weaker opponents.
In addition, there are more bad players with low experience in cash games; if you play at least several games, you will find out that the vast majority of members are novices and only 5-10 percent of the whole community play on a more or less professional level. This will of course help you to win more in the long run terms; it can be also useful to compare different poker sites and their audience to check which of them has the most unprofessional but payable audience who is willing to invest much in the game just for the sake of fun. Being focused on earning money, you will easily begin to win over such recreational players.
If you are a beginner, you can start with micro stakes table in order not to lose much; however, if you see that there are high stakes tables with a lot of 'fishes', it makes sense to collect their pots and pay off the investments really soon.
There is also a difference between the full ring and six-max games. Full ring tables are better to play poker if you make your first steps: such a traditional approach will help you to polish up your skills and immerse deeper into the game. When you are trained enough, you can choose tables with fewer opponents, which is the more modern way of playing.
Below are the useful strategies that can help you to tap into a cash game with various stakes as a good player with a regular stable income.
High stakes poker strategy
This is a strategy typically used by the most experienced gamblers; they are focused on playing with only high stakes table and gain the most possible profit in the end. If you play poker for less than at least half of a year, it will be too risky to make large stakes, as the possibility to lose all your bankroll and push yourself into the red is very strong.
Generally, when you play high stakes games, you have to possess an amount equals to a hundred big blinds. The main actions and all key moments are going to happen on the post-flop rounds, e.g. turn and river. The most important will be the skill of being aggressive when it is necessary, be able of bluffing perfectly, reading your opponents, and predict their next actions. For a successful game, it is important to go all-in at the right moment when your hand is good enough, so this is not the easiest game type to make money in case you are not trained enough to make instant correct decisions and think several moves ahead.
Micro stakes games
Short stakes poker is more appropriate for beginners: you can join the table with only twenty big blinds. The main tips to make the game profitable are to play with only the strongest card combinations and fold whenever your hand has only weak pairs or connectors. Your moves should consist of either fold when your cards are not strong enough, or all in.
This strategy will be helpful for the new players who are not capable yet of making complicated decisions based on long strategic analysis. Even with the lack of practice and knowledge of the comprehensive game theory this technique will work. However, you should note that most online poker rooms do not allow having short stakes games so you can try your luck in a live game in some brick-and-mortar poker club.
This is the most popular option you can find on every poker site and is appropriate for many people from first-timers and experienced amateurs to professionals. Here you will have to make your key decisions on the pre-flop and flop rounds.
The basic game tips are the following: you should raise a bet if you can raise up to three minimal blinds. If your opponent raises, your best solution will be going all-in — always if you have top cards on your hand or folding in case your hand has a mediocre value.
Besides the well-thought-out poker strategy, you can also pay attention to the useful perks that many poker sites and poker pro players offer to those who strive for winning a lot of money or at least raise their income.
You should be careful about the rake rates poker room offer; the more it is, the less will be your winnings in the end. It is important to compare what different casinos and poker rooms offer in terms of Rakeback or free poker games.
There are also methods that are regarded as cheats, so you should think twice before getting involved in such actions as data mining to collect statistical information of the players; bot using to embrace more games in an automatic mode, or ghosting when you use someone's help playing in a room yourself. Such methods are usually found out by online poker rooms easily, so it is not a good choice to rely on them much; otherwise, there is a chance your winnings are expropriated and your account is banned.