You love to play online poker but the game doesn’t seem to love you. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to pull down a long-term profit. You might be able to put together the occasional profitable session but you’re struggling to turn a profit long-term.
The sad truth is that you’re a loser at online poker. That’s ok! The reality is that most players are long-term losers at the game, but that does not mean you can’t become a winner. Today we will take a look at seven reasons why your are losing at online poker in hopes that identifying these problems will help you turn your game around.
1. You’re Playing too Many Tables
Multi-tabling is the #1 reason that some players are able to make a living playing online poker. With that said, it is also one of the main reasons that players lose at online poker. Some players just don’t know their limitations when multi-tabling and play too many tables at one.
When multi-tabling, the objective is to play as many tables as you can comfortably and profitably play. Some players overlook the second part. They try to play as many as they can physically handle but don’t look at the long-term impact on their bankroll.
Related: How to Multi-Table in Online Poker
If you are a multi-tabler and losing at online poker, go back to basics and start back with just two tables and work from there. When you get to a point where your hourly rate starts taking a turn for the worse, back up one and stay at that level.
For example, if you are posting a solid hourly rate while playing up to four tables and then it starts going down dramatically once you add that fifth table, go back to just playing four tables. Maybe in the future you can go back to adding a fifth table, but the same rules still apply. Only play as many tables where you can play both comfortably and profitably.
2. You Don’t Study Enough
I know, you didn’t get into poker to have to study regularly. Unfortunately, study is a necessary part of improving your game in the modern era of poker. Those that fail to study the game are doomed to remain stuck at a certain level. As the game evolves, that same player’s skills will actually erode compared to the rest of the poker world.
A good rule of thumb is to put in at least one hour of study for each hour that you play at the tables. How you study is up to you but you should at least be regularly evaluating your game and looking for ways to improve. If you are finding difficulty in doing this, consider enlisting the help of a poker coach or signing up at a poker training site.
3. You’re Failing to Fix Leaks in Your Game
At some point, all of us are going to develop leaks in our game. Leaks are things we are doing in poker that is costing us money in the long term. Sometimes these leaks are missed opportunities and other times they are strategy deficiencies that lead to us losing more than we should.
In the last section, we mentioned studying to improve your game. One part of studying involves looking for leaks in your game and then working to improve them. Some players have trouble spotting or admitting that they have a leak in their game, so it is a good idea to enlist the help of another player or coach to evaluate your play.
Sometimes leaks are small and a few minor adjustments can make a major difference in your hourly rate. Other times, these leaks require you to overhaul your game in order to stay competitive. However, if you fail to address these leaks, you often will remain stuck at a certain level of development.
4. You Aren’t Putting in Enough Time at the Tables
Some younger pros are under the mistaken idea that they can just play online poker for a “few hours a week” and still be able to make enough money to support their lifestyle. In all honesty, that may have been possible at the beginning of the Poker Boom and some extremely talented players may be able to do that but for the majority of us, we need to put in time at the tables in order to improve our game.
How are you going to learn how to build a house unless you physically put one together? You can study all you want but until you put that study into practice, you just have knowledge. In general, if you aren’t putting in as much time playing poker each week as you are studying, you’re game will not improve.
5. You’re Playing Distracted
Just because you are able to play online poker from home in your underwear doesn’t mean that you don’t need to focus on the game. Some players try to do too many things while playing online poker. Your entire focus should be on playing online poker, not divided.
You may think that you can play online poker, watch TV, work on a crossword puzzle and play Trouble with your 6-year-old, but you are asking for a losing session. There is a reason that these things are called distractions. They take away focus from the primary objective you’re supposed to be focusing on. Reduce the distractions and you may see your results improve.
6. You’re Playing the Wrong Game
There are times where a poker player may prefer a particular variant of poker but their abilities lie elsewhere. For example, my personal favorite game is Stud 8 or Better but I have posted consistently better results in Limit Hold’em.
You may be in the same situation. There are some NL Hold’em players that struggle in a full ring game environment but thrive short-handed. Others are heads-up specialists. Perhaps you are able to post consistent win in Limit Hold’em but NL you struggle to find consistency.
Sometimes you have to play a game you may not enjoy as well in order to make the hourly rate you desire, at least until you are able to post better results in the game you enjoy more.
7. You’re Not Practicing Bankroll Management
Quit rolling your eyes. Bankroll management principles apply to online poker just the same as they do for live poker. In fact, one can ague that bankroll management is more important online than in live due to the pace of the game.
First, you have to have a bankroll sufficient to support the stakes that you’re playing. Do you have the required number of buy-ins to survive variance for that level? This applies to all levels of online poker, including micro-stakes, Sit N Go’s and tournaments.
Next, when you find that you are struggling at a particular level, are you moving down in stakes or are you just trying to continue at that level while you bleed off money. There’s no shame in moving down in limits in order to start winning again. I’d rather be a winning player at .50-$1 than a donator at $1-$2.
Finally, are you actually growing your bankroll or are you just replenishing your funds. By this, are you experiencing the ups and downs of a typical poker bankroll or are you just making fresh deposits when you run out of money. If you are finding that you’re having to make deposits on a regular basis in order to keep playing, then you need to reconsider you bankroll management strategy.