OK, now you have to share some of those stories (please!)
Seriously? You can take that down from “high level professional poker” to 200NL online for the top players, at the very highest. No one is making a profit at these pretty low stakes with giant holes in their games. 99.9% of people here could not break even at 25NL without major retooling’s of their games. The top 2 players here were special in that they had excellent knowledge of both theoretically optimal play and optimally exploitative play. There are a few people who could come close to these 2 with some time and work but they were the rare exceptions. If you can reach the top 10 here with a game that isn’t even solid ABC, that is a good indication of the skill pool you are dealing with.
Its just silly to keep trying to compare this place to any sort of cash poker other than the goofy micro-stakes games online or live home games and some softer 1/2 casino games. If you are super-lucky, maybe you can find a 2/5 live game where half the players are unskilled. Nowhere in the real world where there is any minorly significant amount of money at stake will you find games anything close to what is played here. Whatever howls of protest come from that statement does not alter the truthfulness of it. That’s the great thing about objective reality - it doesn’t rely on whether people feel good about it or not. It just is.
ADDED: There is nothing wrong with playing poker here and learning how to beat the people you regularly face. IMO, the player pool reinforces each others bad habits and the longer people play only here, the less applicable their games become to cash-play. I’ve mentioned this before but a top level cash game player wanted to write an article about how to beat low stakes games. To do his research, he went back to play those games, and was crushed for over 3500 hands. Its not that the player base was better than the one he was used to facing (obviously). Its that the game is totally different at different levels. I wish people would stop being so concerned about their rank and how that reflects their skill and all the rest. This is a free poker site, period. Anyone who wants to go out and play cash poker can do so, almost without exceptions. The endless comparisons are just old at this point though, It would be like the company softball team wondering which of them could be drafted for the next MLB season.
Most of the people who play here do it for fun. How many players here do you think spend any time at all studying the game off the table? 0.01% at the highest would be my estimate. That makes sense because its a freaking free poker site. LOL - deal with it and enjoy it or use it to learn what you can but please stop trying to make it into something it was never intended to be.
you would be surprised how many players here play live cash in casinos whether it be low or medium tables, and many do very well and are here just for fun or practice cause its convenient at home and are unable to play for cash online. just because its a free site doesnt mean people here dont have money and dont play and do well in live cash, i know many that do and are on here too.
You make a lot of good points (at least it seems like it to me). I am extremely new, green, and unknowledgeable to it all, though. I certainly assumed (but am not knowledgeable to know for certain) high stakes amateurs and the professionals would crush any competition from here and the majority from anywhere else. But the thing is is that I didn’t know who was here. I didn’t know if there were a few top players who may have or still do play here who actually do possess the skill level required. I figured it was very unlikely, because of the nature of this site. I realize it’s a free chip social poker site, but just didn’t know if there were a few really good players who included this site as a part of their repertoire as a means to practice and broaden things. But I think you’re right that this style site could have some potential to diminish the sharpness of a good/decent player’s game; I get what you’re (in a sense) saying there. I just wouldn’t have any way of knowing because I have no proper way of knowing how to determine a player’s skill level because I don’t have any clue when it comes to this game. Anyone knows who’s good at poker, but not everyone really knows, if you know what I mean.
I think you need to break that down a bit and define what you mean as “really good”. Is that a solid 1/2 reg at a casino or is that someone profitable at 25/50 online? From the perspective of someone who has never played a hand of poker in their lives, someone who can beat a 1/2 live game looks really good. To Phil Ivey, that person looks like a minnow, not even worth the time it would take to get his chips.
So, lets assume by “really good” we’re talking about anyone who could make a living doing this or who wants to make a living doing this. Because we don’t know exactly who is here, we can only use our powers of reasoning to decide if it would be likely or not. In order to have meaningful practice, the ability to analyze your session is important. Otherwise all you are getting is small-sample anecdotal evidence and that’s not great if your livelihood depends on it, right?
Well, even assuming the player pool here was a good one to play against for your purposes, you can’t collect any of the data from the hands you’ve played unless you are transcribing them all by hand. Seems inefficient when there are other places you can go and have your hands exported for analysis directly. You could also go to any number of training sites and play against varying levels of AI without risking any money. These sites also allow for analysis of your play and let you aggregate your data for review.
Given these facts, if you were serious about the game and wanted to get “really good”, would you choose to spend your limited time here or one of those other places? I think the answer is obvious that your time would be better spent elsewhere.
This does not suggest that people shouldn’t play here to practice and get better. People can and do and should. I am trying to point out the difference between people who take this game recreationally and people who rely on it as their source of income. For learning the game and becoming proficient enough to do well against other recreational players, this site is fantastic. I’d like some analytics but for the person who isn’t thinking about poker for the money, I love this site. If you play here and do some studying off the tables, there’s no reason why you can’t become good enough to do this for fun without going broke for cash.
@floridajetski - I did not claim that there are no people here who cannot do well at low stakes live games. In fact, I explicitly said those types of games kind of fit in with the better players here. Whether you like it or not though, this is not the same game as is being played at even low stakes online anymore. As soon as people from all around the world could play this game for money significant enough for them to do full-time, the recreational players were crushed. If someone can make his living at 100NL by multi-tabling 8 hours a day, how seriously do you think he takes it?
The simple truth is that there are people online who are playing this game who spend all day every day thinking about how to take other people’s money. The guy who plays an occasional 1/2 casino game the same way he’s been playing it for 10 years cannot compete with this new breed of players. The recreational player may read Super System or watch a video or maybe catch the WSOP Main on TV. The guy grinding online is doing real off table work. He is studying theory and analyzing his play. You play poker because you like to. He plays poker because he needs to eat. Tens of thousands of these people are waiting for the recreational players to log on so they can bleed them dry. That’s reality.
Again, this is not to demean anyone, We are all someone’s fish. I learned the hard way exactly where I stood in the poker world when I went online at what I thought were reasonable stakes compared to what I played live. I was put up on blocks, stripped and sold for parts until I got the heck out of that game and down a bunch of levels. The advent of online poker changed everything and it does no one any good to deny that reality. There are tens of thousands of players who play 25NL and could come through here like locust, devouring everything in their path. Its good for the players here that there’s no money in it for that reason.
FYI - I thought this was true as well but it isn’t. When I pretty much stopped playing here, this was the reason - I joined online cash sites and have played there ever since. Anyone in the US can play online for money without risk of being prosecuted. US law made operating a site within the US illegal. There is nothing in Federal law prohibiting a person from playing on an offshore site. Some states are a little finicky but there has not been a single case brought against anyone for playing online cash so far. The only time any jeopardy attaches is if people try to avoid paying taxes on significant winnings. Pay your taxes and you have nothing to worry about. There are several very reputable sites that accept US players. If you are in Florida, I suggest Ignition and Betonline. GL if you try.
well u cant say good live cash players would devour everyone here if they never played online before. the thought process of each bet,check,raise,fold, and all the other variables of poker is 10 times faster here as far as decision making so the great or really good players here know how to read and process information and everything much faster the longer you have played online. u notice when u play more on here than live that live is in sloooow motion with so much more time to analyse each decision u make. so thats the biggest difference.and the person that needs to eat because of poker shouldnt even be playing. some of the better live cash players are recreational players cause there is no stress or emotion involved which u know will throw your game out of wack fast.
Personally, I find this one of the better posts I’ve read here in a while. Everything is indeed relative. You’re right in looking at it more objectively than subjectively - that’s for sure.
The pace of the game and thought process is an interesting point. I don’t possess the prerequisite knowledge or skill to even offer an opinion, but would like to hear others’.
I phrased it that way to avoid controversy, but I can see that it hasn’t worked lol. I find it interesting to compare levels of skill at various things, but because of differences in how the game plays, it is pretty pointless to compare replay to any other form of poker. I do wonder about idiotplayer and unranked though because they were so far above everyone.
As for everyone else, I agree that most are miles away from even beating 25NL and that you don’t need to even play ABC to crack the top 10, just play a lot and bet for value. Having played the micros up to 10NL, I believe I’d be fine at 25NL and that ~25 other top players here could do well, but it’s a completely different game even at 5NL than it is here. There’s 3betting! And 25NL is top of the micros so it’s still miles away from professional poker.
it deff has a huge impact that many people over look here and here compared to live, the speed of which we play has a direct correlation to our decisions we make every few seconds while in a hand. in my opinion the player that can process all the info faster will make a much more informed decision on their betting strategies and play style and has a major advantage over the player that cant process all of the info that fast.
Thank you for the reply. I am neither agreeing or disagreeing (not trying to sound sarcastic - I don’t really have the “skill/knowledge authority” to appropriately do so)…just thinking. What about the idea that they can make the proper decisions as quickly, but are utilizing the time to effectively evaluate how they made that decision more efficiently with the additional time because the higher level competition/stakes require them to do so and the live environment likely has more variables (tells, pressure, observation, etc.) to consider? Strictly a friendly thought - not intended to sound defensive or anything. Sincerely curious for opinions.
Added: I’m sure “good” online players can make good decisions quickly - no doubt. But maybe they could have made a better decision (a nice fold, extracted more value) utilizing time? Maybe if they’re extremely skilled it may not matter quite as much as one might think because they actually consider some of these aspects in their quick decisions and account for it…and just have enough experience to do it effectively. Just thoughts…not sure.
Its been interesting to watch the crossover between online and live players as the two groups mingle more and more. The online game is a monumental adjustment from live and some simply can’t make the switch. Purely feel players don’t have access to the reads they rely on and don’t have the technical skills to perform very well. On the other hand, online players look like total goofballs when they go to play live until they get used to it. Wearing hoodies and scarves and glasses to try and hide their reactions. Putting 1 arm across their chest to reduce involuntary movement and conceal their breathing patterns. They never had to learn to mask their physical reactions because no one can see you online. They have great technical skills for the most part but better live players can pick up on their physical tells.
As to decision making times, its not as different as you might think between online and live. The decision making process is shortened here specifically but its plenty long enough with real money sites. You have choices in tables for length of the clock and you get time banks. Live poker is moving more towards this concept and implementing shot clocks in many places. It seems that most pros agree that too much time is being spent on each hand live when 90% of it is unnecessary. They did some interviews about this and most of the top pros said that there are very few decisions that take them longer than 30-60 seconds to make. The only hard decisions are when you are put in a really difficult spot at a critical time. Honestly, how often do people find themselves being put in spots like that here?
Seriously? This is wishful thinking and not grounded in reality. Most people in the world don’t get to pick and choose how they make a living. They do whatever they are good enough at to survive and maybe move up and on if they are lucky. Online poker opened a door for many of these people to earn a living that didn’t require physical dangers. But lets just look here in the States at boxers for an example of recreational “advantages” over people who need to win to survive.
The hypothetical fight card is this: In this corner we have Bob, a 45 year old human resources administrator who is married with 2 kids. He graduated from U Penn with a BA in Sociology and participates in cardio-kickboxing classes 2 days a week at his local gym. Once a week he hits the heavy bag for 5 minutes. He’s 5’9" tall and weighs in at 190lbs. In the other corner we have John “bonecrusher” Smith. He’s 25 years old from South Boston. He ran away from his foster home at age 14 and has been on his own ever since. He spends every waking minute focused on boxing - 2x sessions in the gym plus cardio plus sparring every day. Every single piece of food he eats is measured to maximize muscle development and stamina. His professional record is 19-0 with 15 KO’s. He’s 6’1" and weighs in at 187lbs.
One guy is all relaxed because he doesn’t need to worry about winning the fight or not. The other guy needs to keep winning or he becomes homeless. Who would you put your money on? Poker is no different. Neither is any other sport. The gap between recreational and professional is nearly uncrossable for people who aren’t willing to devote their lives to it. Poker, like everything else in life, rewards you for putting in the effort. Anyone who isn’t actively working on their game is getting passed daily by those who are. No shame in just playing and enjoying it but please keep things in perspective.
I don’t think Replay is all fish, and whomever said it “everybody’s a fish to someone” couldn’t be MORE TRUE…I learned to play tournament poker online before I ever was playing live other than growing up and playing for pennies with friends. People say you cannot learn anything from online poker, especially free online poker… I dissagree.
Online you still have “tells” they are just different than live “tells” and I tested this live ( in bars for free chips )… All you get to know is the same as online… what they bet, how fast they bet, and in what situations they bet. I have won Bar MTTs just focusing on those 3 things and IGNORING any live tells.
After playing online for a few years, when I turned 21, I took 2 trips to LasVegas 2 succesive years… I budgeted 1000$ for everything… 500 for Airfare/Hotel/Food and 500 to play poker with… I spent 1 week each time… Both times I came home with just about my 1000 dollars... no real profit, but the trip was basically free..... I mainly played MTTs, but did dabble on a few 1/2 NL tables, and I can say..... using my Online skills, I sat with 200 on that 1/2 table, and 45 minutes later after winning 2 big hands and 2 small hands, I was up 600$ … My specialty is MTTs/SnGs not ring, so one of my goals is to get better @ ring games so maybee I could start making actuall $$$$ at poker…
Same thing occurs here when a player “floats” with a 1m buyin against players with 20m+ in thier bankroll, or basically are NOT floating … (Floating = sitting @ a table with 100% of thier Bankroll )… 1 player is effectively playing scared, and the table devours them… Any stakes level, floating is a bad idea ( to me ).
Good point. i also would pick the relaxed guy who is also probably a smart guy and great poker player too over the guy that has to win or hes homeless. Those are desperation players and actually do end up homeless more times than not. Just because the guy isnt playing to eat or keep his home doesnt make him a bad relaxed player. Its quite the opposite, that type of player has a fat wallet and is probably a smart successful person that plays poker better than a stressed out pay check to pay check poker wanna be that never will be and makes irrational poker decisions because of his stress level of losing whatever he has. We have all seen those types and played those types, if u have played live. The relaxed smart guy that has $$$ has the buying power and chip leverage and most often devours those other players sending them home with nothing. Then they go back the next day with less buying power and less chip leverage and even more stress and play more desperation style. Sorry but thats not the guy im picking.
You also made good points and differing points of view is a great thing. I wouldn’t pick the desperate guy who has never succeeded either. I do like the odds of the person who works hardest and treats it like a job rather than the casual player though and I can tell you from experience that this is how the food chain operates in poker. Almost all of my live play is in private games. We have regular private card rooms and some floating games up and down the East Coast, but mostly in the Acela corridor.
The mix of players ranges from successful businesspeople with large bankrolls to semi-pros and a few pros. One of the most important jobs for the hosts is to attract enough recreational types to feed the others. These people have decent to very strong games but are still the product being sold, not the real customers. They will win often enough to come back but almost none win long term. The people who make their living or part of their living playing cards end up with most of the money in the end.
Back to relaxed vs not relaxed. Someone desperate is not relaxed. Someone who has put in the work and knows his craft is far more relaxed than a person who is in a spot for the 1st time or is rarely in that spot. A guy who has prepared for making decisions on whether to stack off is not nervous when at the table. The recreational guy has less experience there and is likely more unsure about what to do. If I bring it back to boxing, both guys may get hit in the face in the 1st round. the boxer has been there and done that and isn’t phased. The accountant is going to need some time to process the event ans figure out what to do next.
ya i get what ur saying now, when u said a guy thats trying to eat or might lose their home, thats what threw me off because those are the ones that usually dont eat and do lose their home. but ur talking more established players that are doing good making a living, i agree somewhat with that however their bad streaks hit them hard if they dont have good bankroll management on the tables and at home. many end up spending way more then they make on material things and end up broke too and then its hard for them to start over again with no cash flow or bank. many do succeed but more fail as u know, and im not talking about the people we know but more so generally speaking. also there are many smart businessmen that just play once a month or so because they are too busy making more $$ elsewhere but still have the smarts and know the game well enough to do well but are doing it for the competition and not the money. high ranked players here are doing it for the competition the same way and not for money, obviously. Im still picking the accountant over the boxer on the tables if the accountant can finish analyzing hands and probabilities fast enough to not get thrown off a table. I would also pick the boxer in the ring tho but would love and pay to see that fight with the accountant, would be an ugly one to say the least
This is a good article on learning to be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses from a fantastic poker coach, Alex Fitzgerald. Just came out today and I’d recommend looking at his materials to anyone who wants to improve their game.
Thats a good article but like most everything in life, especially in business and any sport this deff holds true the same way.