Is Online Poker a Scam? Rigged or Not?

can you really make money playing online poker

I’ve been playing online poker since 2011 and have been a consistent winner over a million hands in full ring and 6 max cash games up to the 50NL level for about 3bb/100, as well as having played over 30,000 Hyper Turbo Heads Up “Sit n Go” tournaments with a 3% ROI. I say this not to brag, I’m fully aware that I’m only beating the micro stakes and the money I’ve made is not anywhere near high enough to brag about. But I say this to show I have played over a million hands and have a few years of experience beating the games, so I am not just a newbie who started yesterday and blogging about it out of my rear end.

I have read lots of things on poker forums and other places where poker players go to vent their frustrations after busting at the tables, and in these vent posts these people spew all kinds of drivel blaming their losing to “poker gods” or “curses” or that the online poker is “rigged.” Is online poker a scam? Definitely no, and I’ll explain why.

Why Online Poker Sites Aren’t Rigged

First of all, it wouldn’t make sense for a poker site to cheat their customers by rigging the cards a certain way. Online poker is a multi-billion dollar industry, and despite it not being as popular as it was in 2006, it’s still very profitable to those who run poker sites. Why would they jeopardize their reputation and business by rigging the cards? They’re making a killing just dealing the cards in a random and honest way, they simply would have no incentive to rig the cards in anyone’s favor.

Secondly, why would they allow certain players like myself to grind out a consistent profit over time? There are many other consistent winning regs who post their graphs over many hundreds of thousands of hands, if online poker is rigged this simply cannot happen.

The only ones who complain about online poker is rigged are those who can’t beat the games and lose.

I’m guessing that a good portion of the people venting in forums about poker being rigged don’t actually believe it’s rigged, they’re just saying that out of frustration. Believe me, having played over a million hands at online poker I have seen some crazy things, and sometimes it can really seem rigged when your Aces get cracked again for the fourth time on the river to a runner runner straight or a flush. 

Why Online Poker SEEMS Rigged

One of the biggest differences between playing poker at a real B&M casino and playing online, is that online allows you to see hands dealt at a much faster rate. You see maybe 30 hands per hour at a B&M casino playing only 1 table, but online you can play multiple tables at one time, I used to be 16-tabling the 25nl 6 max tables myself, and I was seeing about 700 hands an HOUR, that’s over 20 times faster than live! My point is, with this many hands you’re bound to run into some situations that are just unbelievable.

When you’re seeing 30 hands an hour playing live, your good hands may seem to hold up more frequently because everything happens more slowly. You’re getting the same amount of good runs and bad runs both live and online, but with online you’ll see a lot more swings within a shorter period of time. Coupled with the fact that players tend to remember the tough beats way more than the pots they have won.

Dealing with Horrible Down Swings

In my 6.5 years and over a million hands of online poker, I have experienced many huge swings in both directions, I know how much of a roller coaster it can be. Earlier in my poker career there have been moments where I have completely lost it. I remember plenty of times where I banged my fists on the table while yelling and screaming curse words at the top of my lungs, one time I lost it so badly I even threw my laptop out my bedroom and smashed the wall! Good thing it was an old laptop that I was already planning on replacing anyway.

For a good laugh check out this funny online poker player by the name of “Tuff Fish.” This is an old video of him recording his own play, he is basically a really bad poker player who loses a lot and gets super angry and crazy over it. This is how you shouldn’t deal with running bad. For the best part, skip to 1:40

Certain situations can simple mess with your head and put players on tilt, an emotional state where your judgement is clouded and you continue to make bad plays. Over time I have learned to control my emotions a lot better, I haven’t destroyed a laptop or screamed in many years lol. But I still run bad inevitably, and I still go on monkey tilt occasionally. But the reason why I rarely even go on monkey tilt to begin with, is that I have learned to recognize the signs of when I’m started to go mad, and I simple turn off my screen and go take a break. I extinguish the flame of tilt before it have a chance to possess me. 

What to Do if You’re on Tilt

  • Quit your tables and turn off your computer. The game will always be there when you come back, and so will your poker bankroll. Continuing to play while you’re tilting badly is sort of like driving while you’re drunk, you simply cannot make the best decisions and continuing to play poker while you’re tilting usually end in disaster of you losing your bankroll. 
  • Play a different game. If you play cash games, try playing a tournament. If you play Texas Hold’em, try Omaha. I find that this really helps you see the game from a different perspective and helps calm you down.
  • Go get some fresh air, go outside for a long walk or a job. Exercise creates dopamine in the brain, these feel-good chemicals help you relax and get you into a healthier mental state of being.
  • Eat something healthy like a fruit salad or drink a big fruit smoothie.

The Bottom Line…

Online poker is not rigged, it is absolutely possible to beat the games and earn a consistent profit if you keep making the correct decisions at the tables. When you’re playing online and seeing so many more hands an hour, inevitably you will run into really long down swings that seem unreal, and this leads you to believe something is “cursed” or “rigged.” But rest assured that it isn’t a matter of it being rigged, you simply need to keep playing good poker and making good decisions and the math will work itself out in the long run.

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