Well for those of you who know me, I have recently taken up online poker. I started by getting sucked in, I have to be honest and fess up to that one! I was football trading on Betfair and got a bit bored while waiting for goals. Because I was involved in quite a few trades that evening, I didn’t want to leave my office and go and sit with my lovely wife, so I found another temptation instead – Betfair Poker!
I saw an ad like that so I dived in. Free money to play with is not something I am likely to turn a blind eye to! I had played online poker a bit before but never heard of poker bonuses, and believe it or not, after years of trading football on Betfair I had never noticed that Betfair poker bonuses were even available! So I began playing, collecting my tasty deposit bonus on the way!
I played for a few hours and did ok. I did very well to begin with but then lady luck came along and saw lots of drunk idiots fishing out a nasty winner card on the river (5th community card in Texas Holdem poker) which dwindled my pot a bit. But I was up, and this was the first time I ever wondered if you could actually make a full time living from playing Betfair poker (while trading, even better!)
So, after a few days I had another go, and again I doubled my bank or more in the first hour, just following some basic rules I read about online, and then came a big hit. Some guy called my ALL IN bet and the river card killed me, giving him a ridiculously lucky win. I saw his card, as is always the case when players go all in on a poker table, and there is no way anyone sensible would have called my All In bet with the hand he had. I let rip a bit in the online chat, telling him he was a lucky moron etc! (And they say no emotion should be involved, ha ha, I was a newbie, I had a license to be emotional!) Anyway, the bloke replied really nicely and surprised me, he said:
“I am very sorry. I hit call by accident, that was sick, I am really sorry”.
I was pretty taken aback, most of the people in these poker rooms come across as total idiots, and they rarely have the humility to apologise for a crazy bit of luck like that. This was clearly a decent person, and obviously a regular player going by his tight play, folding almost every hand except that one he accidentally called against me. So I chatted with him for a few minutes and he explained that he was drinking a cup of coffee and spilled some on his mouse, which he quickly wiped over causing him to accidentally call my All In bet. He wiped me out, not just his mouse!
Anyway, his next comment was even more interesting:
“Drop me your email and I will give you a few free lessons to show I mean my apology”
I was a bit confused at first, after all, what the hell are poker lessons? This poker thing isn’t a skill game, this is a game of luck, its pure gambling, right? Wrong, as I was soon to learn.
After a few days I heard from him by email, and he introduced himself very intelligently. This was no young chump as I thought online poker rooms were full of. This man was a well-qualified engineer, and his salary in his last job was £120,000 per year. So why was he out of work? Because he gave it all up to “work” full time at Betfair Poker! Yes, he was earning MORE than his previous salary, playing poker for 30-40 hours a week online.
Well to say I was shocked is the understatement of the year. I gratefully accepted his kind offer to give me a few lessons. Within a few weeks, I was banking money regularly playing online poker at Betfair. I learned how late nights are the best times to catch all the drunks after they come home from the pub and throw their money all over a poker table in excitement over seeing an Ace in their hand. I learned about poker odds, the maths behind it all, the meaning of “pot odds” (a very clever and important concept), and loads more to do with how to play tight aggressive, profitable texas hold’em poker.
Better still, I learned of a great way to increase your progress at an alarming rate, which is to play “multi-table”. This is where online poker beats the hell out of offline poker, where you obviously can’t do this. At all online Poker rooms you can play 2, 4, even 12 tables ALL AT ONCE! It is scary, believe me! But It does do one very important thing, it enables you to fold ALL but the very very best hands, whilst still getting regular hands you can play and win with.
So, after a few weeks of practice, I was beginning to see just how some people sit in their spare bedroom all day playing poker, and are not gamblers, but more mathematicians. They play the odds, they learn the chances of cards coming up, and they fold, call or raise based on those odds, not based on anything else and certainly not based on emotion. It can be boring, but when I am forced to be at my computer for a few hours with little else to do, I really have to admit I enjoy this and it sharpens the mind and tunes you into probabilities and their importance over emotion and luck.
Poker won’t ever replace my Betfair trading, far from it. It’s more a release from it or at least it was to begin with, but then I learned how the very same levels of discipline are needed in poker as on Betfair markets.
Betfair Poker Bonus – If you have an idea of following me and investigating this game for yourself, GREAT, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but whatever you do, make sure you grab the superb poker bonuses on offer at Betfair, as they are never better than when you first sign up.
I am considering doing some poker playing strategy posts on the site, but one thing is for absolute certain in my mind now, it truly IS possible to make a full time living from playing poker online, and I now know several people who do exactly that!
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P.P.S. – Just an update to this post many moons after it was written – I still love Poker but I learned there is a limit to the profit you can make, assuming you are only playing online and not on the TV! I pushed it hard and reached my peak, then realised it was fun while it lasted, but is actually more demanding on my time by far, compared to Betfair trading anyway. I play poker often, but it’s back to being more of a release or fun hobby. A release which I like to keep profitable of course, but a release and not something I intend to financially rely on any time. I know some Betfair traders who play video games on their downtime, sometimes during trading. I have never been one for video games so I suppose this is my alternative.