2022 marks the 25th year of online poker, and what a journey it’s been. The very first hand was dealt on January 1, 1998 on a site called Planet Poker and straight away the niche started to grow.
Five years later Chris Moneymaker’s victory in the WSOP Main Event kick started a boom that nobody saw coming, creating a multi-billion dollar industry almost overnight. Information about the game could be found everywhere on sites such as this one, where players could read more about poker online and improve their skills.
Changing TimesToday, the online poker scene is unrecognisable from what we saw a decade ago. The games are much tougher and the bar to break even has been raised considerably.
There are some positive changes, however. The prevalence of strategy information on the internet means that anybody sufficiently motivated can turn themselves into a winning player at the smallest stakes fairly quickly. Then it’s up to the player to decide on their level of commitment.
This is no small detail. Ignoring the most talented who click with the game quickly and make incredible progress, the rest of us are reliant on hard work and long hours in the lab to reach a respectable level.
What to Play?New players deciding on what kind of poker they want to play must take care that any advice they rely upon is up-to-date. The poker industry is fluid and changes quickly, sometimes negatively towards a specific subset of players.
Tournaments or cash games is the classic conundrum. At least here the reasons to choose either have remained constant over the years.
A player who enjoys the thrill of chasing the big score will naturally gravitate towards tournaments, while another who prefers to play in chunks of time of their choosing will prefer cash games.
As far as which game in either format goes, the changing times have left us with NL Hold’em and PLO as the only real options for any player wishing to play regularly with options running around the clock.
Fundamentals Are Still KeyEven after 25 years of online poker, good fundamentals are still key to kick-starting a poker career. It is impossible to make progress without having the basics down pat.
Bankroll management is still the most ignored and abused fundamental skill today. Many players never show the discipline to play according to how much they can afford to lose. Consistency is crucial.
Another fundamental skill that many ignore is the mental game. The last decade has seen masses of effort directed towards understanding how to maximise performance every time the player sits down to play.
Jared Tendler’s excellent The Mental Game of Poker should be mandatory reading for any budding poker player.
GTO SolversThe biggest change that we see in 2022 is the use of GTO solvers. Thought of as unnecessary for newer players, their use throughout the mid-high stakes community makes it obvious how useful they are for understanding the deeper nuances of the game.
Beginners can always take a look at some of the free videos on solver use to get an idea of where their poker journey might take them, but there is no reason to panic when the true complexity of poker is revealed.
Online poker is still profitable in 2022, albeit just much tougher than before. Many of the same skills that helped in the past are still the same, it’s now just more of a question of hard work over talent than in the past. All the information a player needs to be successful is out there.
It’s not like in the past where even the best players were unsure of what is best in many situations. Work hard and the potential for success is still there.