Online Poker: A Losing Game

By Stephen Katz

Note: The "rake" or the house's take on each hand referred to by the author in this article also applies to live casino poker as it does in online poker. In poker the rake is the house's advantage. The house, or casino, always has an advantage in every game, from blackjack, roulette, slot machines, baccarat, craps, to VLTs. No casino has ever gone broke. There are two winners to every poker hand--the winning hand and the casino. And the casino is the only consistent winner. If you think about the casino's massive overhead: employees salaries, rent, utilities, building it donates to charity and still has a substantial profit. Where does it get all the money from? From those who enter its premises.

Online poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gambling games at gambling websites on the internet. The main reason for this popularity is the belief that it is a game of skill in which money could be won. This belief is a fallacy. Skillful play will never help gamblers to win money at online poker because winning money at online poker is impossible.

Online poker is a game of skill only to the extent that skillful play would allow gamblers to lose their money slower. Money could temporarily be won in the short-run. In the long-run though, the gambling "house" which operates the gambling website, will permanently win all the money from all of the players. With a fast played game such as poker, the short-run quickly becomes the long-run when playing enough hands. Each hand played whether winning or losing any particular hand, slowly disintegrates the bankroll of every gambler. There is not anything that gamblers can do to save their bankrolls except to never play online poker.

The top poker players in the world do not play poker at gambling websites. Some top poker players may say they do only because of getting paid for endorsements. These top poker players know they can beat the other players, but that they cannot beat the house. There is not anybody on the face of this earth who can make money playing online poker. Even the world's best poker player will never be good enough to overcome the "rake" which is the house cut from each pot.

"It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master" is a phrase used by some gambling website promoters to describe the poker game of Texas Holdem. This phrase is true when playing against other poker players if there is not any rake. But this phrase is false for online poker because of the rake involved. Gambling house promoters know this phrase is false for their poker. Yet they keep parroting this phrase to fool you into thinking that even though you keep losing money at their website, that one day you could "master" Texas Holdem and then start making money. This phrase for online Texas Holdem should be corrected to truthfully state, "It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to lose money."

Here is an example of how the gambling house will always win all the money from all of the players. Five players sit-in on an online poker game each with a $20 bankroll for a total at the website table of $100. Let's say the average pot is $10 and the rake is 5% or 50 cents per hand. Let's say 200 hands are played which does not take that long. After 200 hands, that 50 cents rake per hand totals $100 which is the entire amount that all of the players started with at the website table. Of course not all of the players go broke at the exact same time and fresh money can come into the game. But sooner or later each gambler will eventually lose their $20 bankroll every time without exception. If bringing in $20, that will also eventually be lost. Every amount brought in will eventually be lost through continued play. Those are the facts in a nutshell. Any honest mathematician, statistician, or numbers expert who understands the game of poker, would not dispute the example in this paragraph.

Now knowing that money cannot be won playing online poker, here are three more nails in the online poker coffin so that this complete waste of your money, time and life can be buried:

1. How do you know the other online poker players are real? You could be the only real player at the website table with the rest being software program players which would be programmed so that you could not possibly win even in the short-run.

2. How do you know the cards are a randomly dealt deck? You would eventually lose your money anyway even with a randomly dealt deck. However some gambling houses do not want to wait that long to fleece you out of your money. The cards would be rigged in any which way to assure that you will lose quicker. They can easily rig any hand. For instance you could have four kings on the flop but a software program player gets a fourth ace at the river to beat you.

3. How do you know a gambling website can be trusted with your bank account and credit card information? Without your knowledge, they can easily clean out your bank account and max out your credit card anytime they want. After they do this, even if locating them in their country of origin and getting them hauled into court, they could just falsify some computer records and claim that you gambled away the money. It is highly unlikely that a judge from their country is going to rule in your favor.

There are a good number of dishonest gambling websites out there just waiting to steal money from you. But even if you did happen to find the most honest, forthright, respectable gambling house that exists, it still is a money fleecing business which would be most happy to financially destroy you. Do not give them the pleasure no matter how nice their website appears to be. Do not give them the pleasure no matter how friendly their promoters seem to be. Do not give them the pleasure for any reason.

These gambling houses along with their slick marketing campaigns are very clever at trying to influence you into gambling. Do not believe any advertising or information from gambling websites or other sources which state or imply that money can be made plyaing online poker. Do not let them fool you but if they have, then permanently delete their money fleecing software from your computer.

You have a choice to follow the guidance of this article or play online poker. Playing online poker will cost you money and quite possibly a lot of money. You may get addicted to it even if believing that could not happen. It very well can happen. Unfortunately, getting addicted to online poker has happened to many people. But even if never technically getting addicted to online poker, isn't it foolish to play a game in which losing your money is a certainty? Losing money is not true for online poker, but for all other gambling games on the internet. There are not and never will be any exceptions. You are absolutely, positively guaranteed to lose your money. Those are the facts. Do not allow gambling promoters or anyone else to convince you otherwise.

Please make the right choice, the smart choice and the necessary choice to never play the money losing game of online poker or any other online gambling game [or any gambling game at all]. Keep your money in your bank account where it belongs. Your money does not belong in the bank account of a gambling house.

About the author

Stephen Katz is a graduate of Penn State University having majored in finance. Since graduation he has worked for over twenty-five years in the computer graphics printing business mostly dealing with engineering and design applications. He has been involved with gambling since being a teenager having gambled many thousands of times at casinos, horse racetracks, stock brokerage firms, sporting events, card games and more. He has experimented with hundreds of different gambling systems, strategies and techniques. He has discussed gambling with thousands of other gamblers. He has explored the world of gambling to the fullest. A lot of money was lost but there was always the hope that with a new system, better skill or just some good luck then today could be the start of making money. At some point it had to be acknowledged that making money at gambling was not going to happen. There was a need to quit gambling but the desire was still there. Everyday the thoughts were there that today could be a lucky day at gambling.

From a Casino Manager:

SOME forms of Poker are games of skill, AND a high % of LUCK! I always tell players that it is better to be a Lucky player, than to be a Good player.

.0000001 % of Poker players end up winning at Poker. 99.999999 % LOSE! The question is, "Are you good enough?" The answer is, "Very, very, very, very...(900 times) unlikely." You have more chance of winning the State lottery... twice in a row!

In ANY game where ANY kind of vig or % is taken, it is IMPOSSIBLE to win at Poker, no matter how good the player is.

In Casino Poker, it is IMPOSSIBLE to win period! No matter how good you are! or 'think' you are.



prokopton's picture

Online poker's impossibility

Stephen Katz has written a fine essay. He speaks clearly what I have intuited, along with much frustration, after playing poker online for some years now. Thank God I have not put my standard of living in jeopardy. I must conclude, in agreement with Mr. Katz, that no one at all can create wealth by playing poker, at least not online. The few "Moneymakers" (pun intended) who do indeed exist are merely freaks, themselves just random survivors of a parasitic process.


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Poker tells are small clues

Poker tells are small clues to pick up other players to help you know what is expected and if they are lying. Usually consist of a posture or gesture, in other words, body language. Obviously, when you're playing online casino against someone who can see. However, some people say that there are such things, even for Internet players.