Poker Myths & Why They’re Wrong

poker myths

I’ve been meaning to write an article on poker myths for some time. There are numerous untruths circulating the globe about poker. Some have been around decades and are still around today. That’s why I’m going to target the most common poker myths and explain why they’re false. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be able to correct friends, family and acquaintances when they utter one of these poker myths.

Online games are rigged

One of the oldest myths for online poker is the “rigged” debate. People love to have a scapegoat and blaming the site for their results and claiming it’s rigged is an easy way to achieve this. People are questioning by nature and couple that with variance and even a semi experienced player can begin to think online games are rigged. However, this is usually just an emotional response.

Truthfully, online poker sites have no reason to rig games. They make loads of money in rake and would be foolish to rig games too. Poker sites invest heavily in random number generators to ensure things are random.

Poker is a game of luck

This myth is usually espoused by people who know little about poker.  They equate poker to other forms of gambling like online slots. Anyone who has played a decent amount understands that poker is largely skill based. Whilst there is undoubtedly some luck in the short term, it evens out across players and over a significant period of time, skill always wins. That’s why the strong poker players always record profitable years. They may have a losing day or week but never lose over a long period of time. This is because luck is temporary but class is permanent.

Learn through freerolls and play money

Another poker myth is that beginners should learn poker through freerolls and play money. This may seem like sensible advice at first, but consider the opposition and gameplay. How much can one really learn when people are randomly clicking buttons and moving all in with any two cards? All anyone can learn from play money is the very basics of Texas Hold’em. That’s why its better to at least play the NL$2 or $1 games to gain a proper appreciation for how poker is played. People play differently when its for real money.

Online poker has more bad beats

One of the first things I noticed in live games was the perception that bad beats always happen online. I was always hearing other players moan about how unlucky they’ve been online and remarking how they are always getting bad beats. In reality, they’re not addressing the volume of hands played.

In a live poker game, you might get 35 hands an hour. That’s only 210 hands over a 6-hour session. In comparison, someone playing 4 tables online can play almost 1,500 hands in the same time frame. That’s 700% more hands over the session. Therefore, it should not surprise you to find more coolers, bad beats and weird spots come up when you play online. It’s simple maths and common sense to anyone familiar with numbers.

Players bluff loads

The most watched poker videos online are the biggest bluffs by your favourite celebrities. Its far more entertaining watching triple barrel bluffs that work than seeing a nicely timed value bet. The problem with the TV poker and popular videos online is that it gives a false impression of poker. People believe bluffing is far more frequent than it really is.

Obviously, people are bluffing every session but not nearly to the extent people are giving credit. That’s why low stakes games can be so profitable, people are loathe to fold and pay off too lightly, expecting opponents to be bluffing more than they truly are.

When calculating pot odds, even part-time poker professionals are overestimating how frequently their opponent’s bluff. This poker myth will take some time to dispel and its something I am often reminding students when they come to us for poker coaching.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few myths around poker. Don’t feel bad if you’ve believed any of them in the past. The important thing is that you know them now and won’t be ignorant in the future. Hopefully now you’re more enlightened you are on the next step to winning regularly.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com

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