In years gone by then making money in most poker environments was easy. All you had to do was study a few decent theory books and suddenly you were better than the rest of the competition by miles. This in itself was enough to gain a huge edge because there were so few poker books and even fewer good ones. So any poker player be it live or in online games during the early years that were prepared to put some work in was sure to get rewarded. However this is no longer the case because of how much tougher the online environment has become in which to make money.
It is not sufficient though too say that the online poker games have become tougher until we examine how they have become tougher and what we can do to combat that. The games have become tougher because of the fact that more of your opponents have studied poker and are well versed in theory. However players are now being placed under more pressure than in the past when it comes to keeping emotional discipline and the key importance of it.
Because your opponents are making fewer mistakes then there is a greater need for a player to remain cool, calm and collected at all times. The average online poker session is much shorter than a comparable live session and this means that many players go into an online poker session with considerably less patience than their live game counterparts. The worst part about playing online poker is that your results are almost random during the short term.Only after very large sample sizes do they revert to the normal mean based on your skill level compared to that of your opponents. So if you have an edge in a certain game that leads to you say making $10/hour then this hourly rate will only reveal itself to be accurate once you have played at least 100k hands of poker.
So if you only play say 200 hands per hour and 10 hours per week then it could take an entire year of playing online poker for your earn rate to actually become reasonably accurate. A player that plays say 100 hours per month and is expected to make $10/hour should make $1000/month. However the real problem as we have seen is that a player could make $0 for three months straight and then make $2000/month for the next three months.
This still averages out to $1000/month but it is a dangerous situation when a player has spent such a long time in the belief that they are not making money. Of course we can see that this is an illusion because only after 6 months did we see a real accurate picture of what exactly was happening.
It is clear that when results are as random as this and are almost chaotic in nature that a winning game plan and style can be changed in favour of other methods simply because they are perceived not to be working. This doesn’t just make online poker tough to succeed at but gambling in general. A player that has mastered this part of the game has to all intents and purposes mastered playing online poker. This is the true Holy Grail of online poker success in my opinion.