Online poker has been around since 2001, it changed the poker market greatly and exploded across the globe in popularity. Today, the market is now very much mature and saturated with operators.
So, what about new players wanting to take up online poker? Is it still a good option? Is there still
money to be made?
The answer is yes you can, however, it is now far more difficult than before. Let us now look into this in more detail.
If you are starting as a new online poker player now, compared to say 2005, the skill level and knowledge of online players is far greater now. The resources and training materials available are vast, and have been readily available to players for over 10 years.
This has also led to games being much tougher to play, including cash games, tournaments and spin style formats. The general skill levels and playing standard of the average poker player is just much higher.
Many players use HUDs (Head-up display) and other software to give them an unfair advantage at the table
Liquidity in the online poker community has reduced over the years, let’s look at some of the reasons why liquidity has reduced.
- Many gamblers and poker players used credit cards to gamble, some government licensing bodies have banned the use of credit cards, like the UKGC in April 2020.
- player pools are no longer global and have been compromised due to state and government legislation, including the banning of online poker in some territories.
- New taxes, like the 5.3% taxes introduced by the German government in July 2021 as a further rake to remove money from the poker economy will also reduce the liquidity.
- Rakeback has been reduced by operators and poker rake increased on many sites.
A key component of healthy poker site is having many recreational players playing at the site. Nowadays, there are far less recreational players, a lot of the recreational are turning their backs to online poker due to fields becoming tougher, recreational players winning less often and the promotions and incentives on these sites being reduced.
Online bettors and poker players have a much wider variety of gambling options online, like; online bingo, sports betting, slots and newer betting markets like fantasy sports betting like DraftKings. Many of these options have caught poker players attention and are a much faster and more exciting option that giving up 8 hours of your time to play against nits in an online poker tournament!
High stakes = Low fields
One positive is that if you move up to the highest stakes, say $10,000 to $25,000 to enter a poker tournament, the fields are usually fairly small, less than 200 players. You would think that because the skill level is higher, it would be harder to cash, but it’s not, and that is because the field size is much smaller. The skill level does not override the difficulty of beating a larger field!
For example, if you enter a $10,000 buy in tournament with 100 players, the likelihood of cashing in this event is far higher than cashing in a tournament of 1000 players with a $50 buy in. Although normally the skill level is higher in the high buy in tournaments, the simple mathematics of having to beat so many players in the smaller buy in stake tournament means it is far easier to cash in the high buy in tournaments.
A warning on fake news and social media
Many times, on social media, you will see a tournament winner post their success with full details and screenshots of their success for that tournament. But always remember when they do this, that on average 85-90% of players in the tournament lost out financially, and many of the tournament players who did cash, just got a minimum cash just above their original buy-in. Although they may not readily admit it, they probably relied on a lot of good luck to win the tournament also!
How can I be Successful then?
If you wanted to become a poker professional now or have it as a part time job/side hussle, compared to 10 or 15 years ago the facts are it is much more difficult, competition is fierce and skill levels are higher than ever! There were far more recreational players years ago, many mixing alcohol while playing and blowing there money away, nowadays, this just doesn’t happen as much.
Studying poker, being disciplined and employing good bankroll management are essential to increase your proficiency in your chosen game format. Moving up stakes and achieving good results may take longer, but is still is very much possible.