How tough is a “good” player

Question mark man

There are a number of players that I have been talking to that have the opinion that online poker games are so tough these days that it is no longer possible to make money. This isn’t exactly true but what is true is that the goalposts have moved an awful lot so to speak. Years ago then you could make decent money by just being better than the very worst players that were around at that time. In fact, I know some players that made a lot of money on the back of some weak but enthusiastic regulars who pumped a lot of liquidity into those games.

These days and especially in online poker, the games are really screwed down with most players playing solidly. So you cannot go into a poker game anymore online expecting to see really weak spots like you could in the old days. There are a very large number of decent and solid online poker players now and these players form the crux of your opposition. So you now need to ask yourself the question as to how good these players actually are?

In full ring games then it is my opinion that your opponents are decent poker players but not great poker players. This certainly applies in the lower stakes levels where the majority of net plus players are unimaginative. Sure they understand position and relative hand values, implied odds, pot odds and board textures. However they drift into conventional ABC play too frequently and this is not only their undoing but it also drags down their hourly rate tremendously.

These days I make it my goal as a poker player to play in a contrarian way. I like it when I read poker books and they all advise players to do the same thing. When I read this then my eyes light up because I know that my opponents will be reading these books and following what the book says verbatim. It simply cannot be possible for book theory to blindly make you money if too many people are following the same theory. Book theory can only work if your opponents are so many in number that many of them are oblivious to it.

In deep stack play then you don’t need all that many producers on the table to make a very good earn rate. If a bad player gets lucky then they may be sitting on several hundred big blinds. All it then takes is for them to make one bad play in a pot against you and if you have them covered then you can win an entire night’s wages in one hand of poker.

Just because a player is doing an awful lot of folding doesn’t automatically make them a strong poker player. It helps to keep this in mind at all times that what really makes a strong poker player isn’t what you do but in what you do in comparison to what other players on your table are doing. In short, how your style interacts with theirs.