Top 10 poker myths
16 Apr 2018
By Tadas Peckaitis
By Tadas Peckaitis
There are many myths about the game of poker, and players can make vital mistakes trusting these misconceptions. Therefore, today let's cover some of the most known poker myths and make sure you know why they aren't valid.
10. Poker is gambling
Many players compare poker to games of chance. I am not saying it is better or worse, but it is fundamentally different. Everyone who knows Texas Hold’em poker rules understands that you play this game against other players instead of the casino and simply pay a small fee, known as the rake.
Thus, it is an entirely different game compared to ones where you play against “the house.” Obviously, there is a lot of short-term luck involved, and that's what confuses most players. But in the end, the better player will walk away with the money most of the time, making poker a skill game, not a gamble.
9. Poker is game of luck
Many aspects of poker have something to do with short-term luck. It can influence what hands you get, what community cards you see and your table draw at tournaments. But all of this is temporary.
Eventually, everyone will be dealt the same amount of bad and good hands. Therefore, it's not the hands, but how you play that will determine whether you are a winner or left behind.
8. You should practice with play money
One of the worst pieces of advice you can get is to practice with play money. In reality, you can only learn the rules while participating in play money games and nothing more. When there is nothing on the line, people make ridiculous decisions.
Most players in these games are randomly clicking buttons without any thought or consideration, so you will not learn how to play sound strategy. Obviously, you should not start at high stakes, but investing a few bucks and getting involved with real-money games will make a huge difference, and you will learn much more.
7. It is OK to play higher stakes to learn
Following proper bankroll management strategy is one of the first things you should learn. If you start playing tournaments with only 10 buy-ins, you are almost guaranteed to bust no matter how good you are.
Therefore, you should only take shots at higher stakes games when you have sufficient money to outlast the swings. So, to prevent losing a big part of your bankroll, you should do all the learning at lower stakes in the beginning and then steadily move up.
6. You have to be a math genius
While you need to learn basic poker calculations to know your odds, understand bet amounts, and make correct decisions when calling or folding, the math part is quite simple.
Once you learn the basics and memorize a few numbers, you will not need to make any advanced calculations when playing, and you can rest assured that this is one of the easiest parts to learn.
5. Poker is all about big plays
It is not. The best way to win at poker is to use fundamentally strong strategy and avoid big mistakes. Yes, pulling off a huge bluff is exciting, and this is the main reason you see many hands like that on TV. But it's not reality.
The real grind is much different, and all the small things determine the winner. You can back it up by analyzing online stats with Hold'em Manager 2 or Poker Tracker 4 and see for yourself that most winners follow very consistent strategies and rarely go out of line with big plays.
4. Players bluff a lot
This myth comes from televised poker events. Obviously, it is way more interesting to show massive check-raises on the river than disciplined folds or continuation bets that happen every second hand.
This gives the impression that everyone is bluffing all the time, which is far from the truth. Obviously, you need to know how and when to bluff to build a winning strategy. However, big triple barrel bluffs or massive check-raises are quite rare compared to smaller bets and standard plays that you do not see when the TV cameras are turned off.
3. You get more bad beats online
This one is very easy to explain. The most significant difference comes from playing way more hands online. In a casino, you can play up to 40 hands per hour and online you can go as many as 400, or even more. Thus, naturally, you see way more bad beats just because you see more of every possible situation, and there is no conspiracy in this.
No matter if you choose one of the best online poker sites or a small one, it will always be the same. You play more hands and encounter players that are willing to risk more online, just because it is easier to click a button than announce all-in with nothing when playing a live game. As a consequence, you see more bad beats, nothing more than that.
2. Online poker is rigged
I often hear players say that at one online poker site another the worst hand always wins on the river, and that sites favor new players to keep them around. This is entirely bullshit.
No site would risk its business to make a few extra bucks, and even if they wanted to, they can’t. There are so many trackers that monitor all the hands and databases that it would be extremely difficult to actually pull off. Therefore, I can assure you that online poker is not rigged, and poker sites do not have any reason to cheat. They simply make a ton of money from the rake!
1. You have to be a pro to win
It is far from the true. If I had to guess, I would say that most winning players are not playing for a living, and I can back it up with insights from my students. Most of them study a lot to learn cash game poker strategy or MTT play, and even after winning a substantial amount of money, they do not quit their jobs to turn pro.
There are many available tools to learn, and in no way do you need to quit your job and commit yourself to playing full-time to reach success. Quite to the contrary, part-time players have an advantage because they do not feel the pressure of winning and do not need to withdraw money to pay everyday bills. Thus, they can concentrate on enjoying the game and making the right decisions, and that what’s matters in the end.