Somebody has to pay for Pokerstars, it's great software and even better customer service but according to one site only 1/3rd of all people make a profit while 2/3rds lose. Every game charges a rake, whether it's cash or tournaments and it's this small fee that makes Pokerstars it's money. We can't really grumble, the fee's set are not extorionate and are a lot cheaper than any live game.

For any beginner, it can be frustrating depositing every so often and see your funds dwindle quicker than a Cypriot bank but there are things you can do that will help your game and minimise losses. I'm sure you've hear of Bankroll Management, if you haven't then you should. Bankroll management is critical and the stakes you play should reflect your Bankroll.

First tip, never risk what you can't afford to lose. I'll repeat this NEVER RISK WHAT YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE. Poker is not a "Get Rich Quick Scheme" (although it can be.) If you make a deposit then think of it as money for entertainment. I certainly wouldn't mind paying £10 in to watch 90 minutes of Football every week and most weeks I come out with a frown on my face and nothing to show for it. Is poker any different? If you deposit then be prepared to lose it.

Secondly we must understand that Poker is a short term game of luck and a long term game of skill. Good players win long term so the first way to win money is become a good player! But I'll change that a bit because we don't have to be an exceptionally good player, WE JUST HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN OUR OPPONENTS. That's easier said than done but if you find a player you can beat then chase after him. In a STT or MTT then avoid games with several good players.

If we don't know who the good players are then that's OK. We can watch a table and see who's good and who's bad. Even just by watching a lobby we can see who's multi tabling. Just because they multi table doesn't mean their good but multi tablers are usually +EV and win by the FPPs. Keep an eye on who has more than 10 tables open. It's hard playing your A game with many tables open and these types of players will become your bread and butter. If you can work out their game then you can combat it and even take money from them.

My third tip is to become a specialist in a certain game. No Limit Holdem is not a solved game but there are many good players at it. So why not become a specialist at a particular game that no-one else is? I'm not a particularly good limit player but I'm a semi decent STT player. I combined the 2 with a 14% ROI in 6,000 games on Pokerstars. I became the expert in this form of game. Think about Stud, Omaha, Corsheva etc.

Fourth tip is why risk any money at all? There are loads of freerolls on both here and Full Tilt. Play them and build something from nothing. It's totally possible and I was a freeroller myself. I've won everything from cash to ipods to books to a trip to the World Cup. I rarely play any freerolls but one thing I do is divide the prize pool by the number of entrants. This works out the actual buy in of the tournament. Obviously the higher the buy in, the more willing you should be to play. The mobile site had a $50k freeroll recently for earning 100 FPPs on your mobile device. The freeroll ended up with a $15 value buy in. Absolutely massive value.

My final tip (and there are others) is to play any added games. Any added money game will make your money go further. AFAIK there is a $50 and $100 added each night on Pokerstars and for the little guy this is great value. If you do deposit every so often then you should make a habit of playing these. Also look around for other added tournaments. There are many under the private tabs, look to see how to gain access to these. Like the PSO games, if you participate you will be rewarded.

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I haven't played much on Stars this week but I have been reading blogs and watching and learning. I'm crushing elsewhere for April and running really well. I'm gonna play the Storm tonight even though there's no overlay.

Good luck at the tables.

Mark.