Beginner's Guide to Making Money Playing Poker Online

Poker is a lot like sex: do it right, and it’s the best feeling ever. Do it wrong, and you’re howling in pain rather than screaming in ecstasy. Also like sex, you can either make a great deal of money doing it or spend a great deal of money doing it — and there are a many more people spending the money than making the money. So the key is, obviously, to be one of the minority who takes money from the fools who can’t help but lose it. This principle goes for online poker as well as traditional face-to-face games. But online play provides several benefits over the face to face game that will pad your wallet and leave you with that sloppy grin on your face. You just have to know what you’re doing.

How online poker is different
When you’re playing online you get significantly less information about the other person than you do when you’re sitting across from them. This works both ways of course, as your opponents can’t see you either. As a result, this lack of information really isn’t a handicap any more than you allow it be. It simply changes the way you would play online as compared to real life, if only a tiny little bit.
Another key difference is the rate of play: different types of online games can end up seeing hundreds of hands per hour as opposed to maybe 30 hands per hour at a home game. This means that for winning players, the hourly rate is going to be several times greater online at the same blind level. In fact, hourly rate of play is so much higher online that you can play much more cautiously and still make more money than you would at the Casino.
But this isn’t the only way online pays more.

Show me the (bonus) Money
Online poker is a huge business. We’re talking billions of dollars. And you know where this money comes from? All the guys who think they are hot stuff because they win at their home game. These guys  jump online and try to dominate and bully every table they sit down at, which is a recipe for brokeness and celibacy (women don’t generally like guys who spend their on other guys, rather than on them). But since these guys tend to blow their bank roles relatively quickly and then stop playing, poker sites need to actively recruit new victims. To do this they offer cash bonuses for depositing money to their sites. The size of bonuses vary greatly, but every site has one, and since there are hundreds of sites, this is a ton of money for you. The only requirement of keeping the cash is “playing through” the bonus amount: you earn the bonus money as you play. The rate that you earn it back also varies greatly between different sites but it is usually still possible to earn the whole bonus even at the low/micro limit tables. Every site will have some sort of first time deposit bonus, so look for it before depositing.

Relieving the Maniacs of Their Cash
As previously noted, poker sites need to attract new blood constantly because most people lose what they deposited and then give up. Your only goal is to not be one of those guys. Even if you don’t make any money at the table, you will still be cashing in on the bonuses, so all you have to do is not lose money. Easier said than done, right? Sure. But if you have even a shred of self-discipline and play “tight aggressive”, you will be able to make money.
“Tight aggressive” means you play only good hands in good position (somewhere around 15-20%), and play them aggressively. Be very careful, however, because the “aggressive” is what gets people in trouble. You still have to read the other players and determine if you have them beat. Being tight does not mean you push all-in every time you play a hand. It just means you are playing only good hands, and so are usually (but not always) able to bet with confidence.

Flop it or Fold it
This concept is pretty simple: if on the flop you don’t have anything, fold to any bet, unless you have a draw (only need one more card to complete a flush or straight). If everybody has checked around to you and you are the last person to act in the round, then feel free to put out a small bet. This does two things: it gives you a chance to win if everybody folds, which happens often, and it will give you a better idea of what the other players are thinking. But above all, avoid betting aggressively when you have nothing. Sure, this will win you quite a few pots, but it will also get you deep into trouble more often than you would think. So unless you like being broke and woman-less, remember: “flop it or fold it.”

Be Patient, Be Smart
Poker is a simple game. Or at least it seems simple when you first learn it. The truth is, it is vastly more complex than anybody can accurately capture, which is evidenced by the sheer number of books that are written on all different aspects of the game. If you have been playing online full-time (40+ hours a week) for a year, you are still a beginner. You may be a winner, but you are still a novice. It takes years of serious play to come any where close to mastering the game. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make money during your first month or year however. All you need to do is be strategic in the sense of playing only when you are earning bonuses and being patient. Play tight, be aware of your position relative to the blinds, and don’t bet unless you are in a position in which to bet. There are plenty of guys out there who are not cautious, and while they will steal many pots, they usually will lose their whole stack (and all those pots they stole) when some other guy traps them. Be that guy.
Do this, and you too can fulfill your life long dream of making a living while playing games and drinking beer. I guarantee it.

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