Funny how Poker is.  I am reminded almost daily how much, or how little I know about this game.  Study is of the utmost importance for success at this game.  Read books, read players, read the table, read, read, read.  You can never know too much, and getting to know enough is a very difficult task, and even then you wont know enough as the game constantly evolves with every passing month.  With as many new players as their are in the game, it is no wonder,, myself included.

I have been playing online poker for now going on three years I think.  I cannot say I have been successful, as can be seen by my results, but I have learned quite a bit about that as well.  It is not unlike any other career you may wish to pursue, whether it be Law or Medicine, or even Sports.  It takes a lot of learning and practice to be good at anything, or at least to be competitive against your counterparts.

Sure, there are always the overnight wonders, the ones that seem to just win, even on bad plays, over and over and over.  Well good for them, the lucky few.  fore the rest of us, you have heard it said perhaps by some of the online Pros, they GRIND it out.  And yes, it is a grind.  Hours and hours of playing, multiple tables, up to as many as 30 or so at one time.  It really is a game of percentages, numbers, and volume.  If you are playing that many tables at one time, you have no time to evaluate your opponents, at least carefully.  That means that youa re playing the odds, and the odds only.  The percentages add up, with rakeback, it might actually allow you to break even if you are having a bad month of 6 to 8 hour daily sessions of 16 to 30 tables at a time.  Of course, as mentioned , there are the lucky few who seem to be able to do it on a few games, but the masses that are making anything in this online game seem to be simply playing it like a calculated slot machine that has more than a coin slot for input into the outccome.

I for one, with 3 kids, dont have the time for that, unfortunately.  Had Poker been such a big thing in the eighties, I might have had a leg up on the amount of time required to hone my skills.  But, here I am, with a mad wife, and three kids that need my attention, trying to make a little time to GRIND it out in my own way.

It is funny, the attitudes of some of the players.  You meet all kinds at the online tables, that is if they ever respond to your chat.  Usually it is just a comment on how much of a donk you are, or some slander against you and or you mother.  It is sad actually, but I guess that is part of the online game, where you can psych our your opponent into making a mistake.........after all, the one that makes the least mistakes has a better chance that one who makes many mistakes.  It only takes one mistake to lose a stack in the NL arena.  That hurts when, after an hour or so, and close to the bubble, you overplay those Kings when an opponent with a huge stack calls your 5x bet.  You think he is just trying to squeeze you out of a pot because he can, so on an indistinguishable flop you bet the pot, and call the reraise thinking for sure he is putting on the squeeze.  When he pops up trip nines to kill your kings............you are only left with a hatred so deep that you want to smash your computer.  All that work, and one mistake, 20 away from the money, and all out the door because some oversized stack called you KK bet, and kicked your ass with trips, and a trip to the puking station.

It makes me sick when this happens.  But it happens all too frequently these days.  There are players that play All-In on every hand until they are tossed out from being stupid and lose their stack.  These people are just adrenaline addicts looking to screw up someones day and have a laugh about it.  Perhaps they are wealthy, and don't need to won a tournament to make them feel good, and really dont give a damn about anything because they already have the world by the balls.  But the rest of us, those of us who are trying to be good at this game are hurt over and over again by this process of imprudent card gambling.  It is almost without saying best not to play any hands until half the field is gone, and then even tread lightly with AA or KK.  They get beat more and more often with some of the wild calls that are made by people that have a hunch about that 78s, or J9o.  They feel something coming, and they go for it, and sure as POKER STARS, they hit a flush or straight, or even a nice boat.........to the detriment of that one player who was patient, alert, and ready to give his best game, made all the right moves, played only a couple hands and made it pretty close to the bubble, got a premium hand, and decided to play it aggressive like they say to.  End of tournament.

This is all to frequently the story at online poker rooms.  The few that luck up their stack and manage to make it deep, can actually take out a considerable number of very good players.  In this manner, poker has become much more of a lUCK game than a skill game.  There is no reading a person that would call any bet with any hand, other than to note this being the fact, and to avoid playing that person at all cost.  Problem is, they accumulate chips by not playing against them.  You have to be ever so keenly aware of each players style at your table, and make moves that will be well though out, mucking many a premium hand along the way.

It is tough, it is a grind.  I am a losing player to date.  I have started to turn that around, or so I thought, then I got hit again by some very negative variance.  Every premium hand I got was taken out by someone that called my big bets with little more than 30% odds or less.  They got lucky, I got lucky, only the lucky I got was the flip side of their coin, the unlucky side.  I deride myself over and over again, what could I have done to make that outcome differently?  I suppose that everytime someone calls or bets out on my premium hands that are in the hole or hit the flop, I should just fold.  That would mean that I would just never have a chance to win any substantial amount of chips, since I would only be stealing blinds or folding.  Obvioulsy that will not do well either, so.........I grind it on.

It is probably tougher to play poker and be a long term winner than it is to play slot machines or Keno once a year.  Certainly it is possible to win, but over and over.........that is tough.  Taking a loss on a stack at a cash table can wipe out a whole days worth of effort, and throw you back a step.  That hurts.  Not only that, but do you ever really remember feeling like you want to punch a slot machine?  Not really.  There is very little effort to drop a quarter or dollar into a slot and pull a handle.  In contrast, there is a great deal of pre game effort, in game effort, and post game review that takes place with poker, and it is painful to have put in that effort to have it wiped on a fishy call by some donk that, even after reading all the material on how to play a successful game, play like some maniac from mars.

I dont know if I will ever be successful.  Perhaps part of it is in the genes, and I am missing those........or perhaps it is written in the stars as to who will versus who will not be a winner.   All I know is that I am going to furiously study and practice this game until I unlock the secret that makes 2% of online players take 98% of the other players money.  That is a lofty goal, but one worth attaining it one plans to stay in this game for any length of time, unless of course you are already wealthy and this is just a way to have fun and dont give a care the outcome of the game.

Good luck to all of you.  As for me, I am not going to rely as heavily on luck.  I am going to work hard at eliminating that element from my game 90%.  You may not think that possible, and perhaps it is just not possible, but I am going to try anyhow.