When is the Time Right to Become a Professional Poker Player?

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I’m often asked by people interested in playing poker where they should play – online or offline? It’s an interesting question. I can make a good case for both. I got my start playing poker in a casino back in 2003. The reason I did was because, at that time, I wasn’t aware of how popular online poker sites had become. I didn’t know much about poker in general. Looking back on things, I wish I had gotten my start online. Why? There are many reasons, including:

You can take your beatings on the cheap

Unless you’re a natural, poker isn’t going to come easy to you right off the bat. You’re going to have to work hard and gain experience before you become a solid poker player. That’s part of the reason you should start out online. Most online poker sites offer freerolls where you can learn how to play without risking any money, and still win a few bucks.

Every poker site offers micro stakes games. I don’t recommend exclusively playing freerolls. But you don’t have to make a massive deposit or have a massive bankroll to get started playing superten. In brick-and-mortar poker rooms, you will need far more money to buy into games than online. That’s fine if you’re rich. If not, online poker will be much more affordable while you’re starting out.

Play more hands per hour

Like I said, you need to gain some experience before you should expect to start making money. Not only is it going to be cheaper to play online as a beginner, you’ll see more hands per hour. In fact, online poker players are dealt about 5 times as many hands per hour, per game played. Once you start multi-tabling, you’ll see even more hands per hour. You can’t control how fast a live dealer deals the cards. I’ve played in casinos where the dealers were super slow and it was quite frustrating. Slow dealers hurt your hourly wage if you’re a winning player. That won’t happen online because the cards are automatically shuffled and dealt.

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Hide that lousy poker face behind a computer

Have you ever felt that you shouldn’t play poker because you don’t have a good poker face? If you are lousy at hiding your emotions, playing poker in a casino just isn’t a smart idea. However, no one can see your poker face online. So when you river the nut flush, you can feel free to do a happy dance in your living room. Your opponent won’t know. Most people new to poker don’t know how to perfect a poker face. Play online for a while to gain some experience while perfecting your poker face. Then, once you have it down pat, you can start playing offline.

Most players online are bad… really bad

The best poker players play online nowadays. Ask any great poker player and, if they’re being honest, they’ll tell you that the best poker players in the world got their start online. Players such as Tom Dwan, Scott Seiver, and Daniel Cates have made millions online. However, as good as those players are, the majority of online poker players are bad. Since you’re a beginner, you should seek out games where bad players play. You’ll find a much higher percentage of weak players online than offline. Don’t worry, Tom Dwan won’t be hanging out at the $1/$2 tables!

Online poker teaches you how to handle bad beats

This may not sound enticing, but you will be dealt a heck of a lot of bad beats online. It’s going to seem, at times, like the poker sites are rigged. They aren’t. They’re 100% legit and the cards are dealt by using a random number generator. The reason it’s going to seem like you get more bad beats online than offline is because you are dealt more hands per hour online. Online poker will teach you how to handle bad beats because you’re going to get bad beat quite often. It builds character!