Your poker journey starts here
Getting into poker, until you get to learn which hand wins the pot, you should first learn the basic rules and then try to play for practice (play money and fake chips).
Try to play one table at the time, focus on the ongoing action and try to see which opponents are playing more hands. Also, try to notice which players are playing aggressively and which are playing a tighter game with fewer hands. Additionally, you should also practice playing a strict amount of hands, because in Texas Hold’em, the best hand wins most of the time and this also matters pre-flop.
Always re-buy in full.
There’s a notion of auto top-up that means you always buy-in for the maximum amount that the table offers and if you drop below that level, most poker sites offer an option to automatically re-buy to that set amount. This helps a lot because if you have a big hand and only 50 big blinds compared to your opponents 100 big blinds, you cannot win his full stack. If you also have 100, you are in a position to make more money. Pros always buy in full amounts.
Figure out the weaker players at the table
The weaker players at the table will be the ones you’ll be able to exploit (capitalize on their weaknesses) to make the most money in this game. Being at a table with weaker players will be beneficial to your win rate and net you more money in the long run. This is called table selection. A lot of poker sites offer you color coding, so you can assign a certain color to weaker players. This way, when you’re in the poker lobby, you can find out whether a weak player that you’ve encountered before is at the tables or not.
Start opening more tables
Most, if not all online playing professionals play more than one table. They also use multiple screens to do so.
Your job now, as a beginner, is to focus on one single table and extract as much information as possible from your opponents. See who goes to a showdown with very weak holdings like a second pair or who tries to bluff with busted draws. Most players have their set tendencies and will do the same things over and over again. If a player misses his flush draw but then bets as a bluff on the river, then most of the times he will do that repeatedly. When a flush misses again, call weaker hands on the river vs. that opponent.
What you should also be looking for is which players tend to play very weak hands in weird spots, like calling 3-bets with T9 off-suit or re-raising themselves preflop with a wide variety of hands. Against these players, you’re only supposed to play your best-starting hands.
After you get comfortable with one-tabling and get pretty bored, start opening two and repeat the same process. Remember that, in poker, you are just an observer of your opponents, and upon noticing other players’ weaknesses, your cards are the tools to make a profit. Holding down two tables will be difficult at first, but after a few days you will get used to them and after a while, it will also get boring. This is the time to open more tables.
Ideally, in online poker, you should play as many tables at the same time without affecting your win rate. This means that you should open until you find out that your decisions have been flawed because of the lack of attention. After four tables you’ll see that your screen gets a bit crowded and your tables get a bit smaller. At this point, I recommend making a small investment and getting a 2nd hand 24 inch Full HD screen off eBay or your local market site. It doesn’t need to be an exceptional screen, just mind the size and the resolution. HD monitors most of the time will not be enough, Full HD is the way to go. Most poker sites are designed to fit 6 tables on a Full HD monitor. Two of these monitors will be more than you’ll ever need. Most computers support dual monitors, but I’d check first with the manufacturer of your graphical card or your laptop to see if a dual monitor solution is viable.
After playing for a while, you’ll start figuring out if you can open more tables, and it’s time to test this theory out. If you’re playing 8 regularly, try 12. This would be a way to boost your money total per hour. For example, if you’re playing 8 tables with a win rate of 8bb/100 hands and then you start playing 12 tables, this will increase your volume of hands per hour by 50%. 8 tables will average 600 hands per hour in 6-max cash games, which means that you’ll be making 8*6=48bb/hour.
12 tables will net you 900 hands per hour but let’s say your win rate now drops to 6bb/100 because you can’t focus that well. This means that you’re now making 6*9=54bb/hour. This is more profitable, but playing 12 tables can be more resource consuming and you will be able to play shorter sessions. It’s your call to decide.
Exceptional players can grind even up to 24+ tables but their focus span is amazing and I’m afraid that you need to have some innate abilities to do that. For us human beings, 6+ tables is still a very good option.
Find a noob-friendly site
Most players will gravitate to the poker sites that have the most commercial value (appear on TV commercials, ads on the Internet and more). What you must understand is that every poker site has an investment budget. This money is dispersed in different areas of investment, and most of the sites heavily invest either in marketing or in the player rewards program and affiliate deals.
Let’s talk a bit about rake first. You have to understand that, in order to survive, a poker site has to charge something for their services. This is called rake. Just like a normal casino, online poker rooms charge a small part of the pot before shipping it to the winning player, although online rooms charge much smaller rates than brick and mortar casinos.
This is where selecting a poker site goes into play.
All poker sites have a form of reimbursement for playing in their poker rooms. Usually, this take the form of points. You can spend these points on rewards like clothing items, electronics, or even cash. Points you earn by playing will give you a set percentage of the rake paid back to you.
This differs on most sites. Because of their large player pools and investments in marketing, the mainstream sites will give you little to no reward for playing on their site. This is where you have to be smart.
Playing on a solid poker room with good software where they actually invest in good player rewards will net you a lot more profit and fewer headaches than playing on a site where their main focus are advertisements.
Now, imagine you’re not only benefiting from a better VIP system, but also from rakeback. Let me explain to you what rakeback is. If you sign up through an affiliate of the poker site, that affiliate is able to give you back another part of your rake. This means that, after playing poker, you will be given back even more.
The best I can explain this effect is this - when you’re winning, you win more, and when you’re losing, you lose less! Now tell me there’s a reason to still play on mainstream sites. PokerEternal recommends a few of these sites and if you go to our Deals section, you’ll find a lot of sites with great software, awesome player pools, lots of weak players, and a lot more fun to play on. Who doesn’t want to win?
Have some good default ranges
There are a lot of good resources out there for figuring out your opening, calling and 3-betting ranges, but I’d say that it’s very important to understand that a lot of people will have a lot of different opinions, so I’d suggest just playing tight for now. Open the hands that you feel comfortable opening with, bet post-flop with the cards you feel can get called. At the end of the day, remember that money in poker is made either by folding better hands (bluffing) or getting called by worse hands. Keep that in mind while playing.
Read and Watch
There are numerous poker resources out there on the Internet, but some of them are better than others, but not necessarily more expensive.
First of all, I’d recommend a few very good reads for the aspiring poker player, which are:
- Matthew Janda - Applications of No-Limit Hold’em
- Tudor ‘Scrimitzu’ Stefan - The Book of Preflop
- Tri Nguyen & Aaron Davis - The Poker Blueprint
- The Grinder’s Manual - Peter Clarke
- Annie Duke - Decide to Play Great Poker
- Barry Greenstein - Ace on the River
- Annie Duke - How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker
- Michael Craig - The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time
Alternatively, the fastest way you’re going to improve will be signing up to video sites and watching pros play online. This is very important because it will get you to feel what grinding really is. It will also teach you new moves, new lines, and some creative aspects of the game. All of this from guys who are really successful and make their living by playing poker online. The monthly subscription is often cheap, and you get a lot for what you’re paying.
Check out these sites and choose whichever of them seems good to you and has a fair price:
- RunItOnce - Essential plan is only 10$ per month!
- UpSwing Poker
A more expensive but sure-fire way to boost your skills in the poker world is to get a good coach and put in some hours. Imagine this - you have a grinder who has a whole powerhouse of knowledge ready and is at your disposal to answer every single question that you’ve got. Pay for a coach and you’ll get a massive boost! There are a lot of options out there regarding coaches but do try and find a reasonably priced one that can teach you how to beat micro stakes for now.
Getting into the real money
I generally recommend extensive study of the game and having all the above sorted out before you move into the real money games, and also let me teach you something very important that is:
Starting out playing poker online for real money can be confusing, to say the least. What limits do I play? Where do I begin? How much money do I need?
The lowest limit that you’re going to play and love is .01/.02 blinds. The nomenclature of these limits is based on the money that you max buy in for. Basically, 0.02$ blinds x 100 blinds is 2$. That’s the maximum buy-in that the table allows, thus it will be called NL2. Time to get the pro lingo out there.
In general, I recommend 30 full buy-ins for every limit at least, if not 40, so this means that you’ll need 80$ to start at NL2 and grind upwards. The way this works is you play the lowest limit for a lot of hands, see if you’re beating it and then go upwards. Although I recommend, for a total beginner like yourself, to put in 100 buy-ins which will be around 200$. You don’t necessarily have to put it in all at once, try 20$ now, 20$ later if you lose the first batch. Just be prepared to lose at the start because no one was born knowledgeable. You’re not experienced yet and that plays a big part in learning.
Trying other formats
Make sure that you don’t only try cash games. Go for 1$ Sit and Gos, some 1$ MTTs, try a few hands of NL2 Pot-Limit Omaha, Full Ring Texas Hold’em and some Hyper-Turbo tournaments. See what fits best and what you like most and stick to that format.
6-max cash games and MTT’s seem to have the most traffic nowadays, but if you like another format more, you don’t need to stick to mainstream. You can make money anywhere if you just get good.
Let me, first of all, explain what affiliation is.
There are many poker sites who want more traffic, and thus they have created affiliation programs, where, if people bring in new sign-ups, they will get either a fixed sum of money or a % of the individual’s rake over time.
The good part is that you, as an affiliate, can offer all your players rakeback! Yeah, it’s a win-win situation! Players will actually earn more from signing up through you instead of just going directly to the site.
How does it work?
First of all, you need to make affiliation contracts with poker, casino and sports betting sites, and get your affiliation link. After you get this link, you give this link to your friends so they can sign up through it. This way, they get rakeback and you get a % of the rake they make.
To get the links you have to get in touch with the affiliate manager of every poker site that offers affiliation and negotiate the deals that you’ll be offering to players as well as your cut. Some of them are often busy, some others are hard to reach or just won’t take in new affiliates.
Your way out of this is going to a poker affiliation site. These guys have all the stuff sorted out in advance; you can get a lot of deals (including casinos and sports betting) with no hassle at all.
Our friends at PokerAffiliateWare collaborate closely with the best brands in the market to bring you only the best deals available out there, and everything is super automated. You sign up your account and can request immediately which sites you want to collaborate with, everything is transparent and your reward rates are shown to you everywhere and there’s also a lot of useful information about the sites that you’re going to promote.
The best part is you have a dashboard where you are updated exactly on the progress of your fellow poker players that are signed up through you.
You get detailed reports on the number of clicks and signups through your affiliate links, the amount of rake that your players generated and the amount of money that you’ve made from your sign ups.
Also, remember that I said you can either get a fixed amount of money instead? This is called a CPA - Cost Per Action. Every poker site that offers a CPA has a requirement of your signup depositing and reaching a certain amount of rake in $. It’s your choice if you sign up the player for CPA or rake-based return. My advice is that if you’re signing up a player who is not a heavy grinder but more of a casual, recreational player, you will make more money using the CPA. If you’re signing up a grinder, a workhorse that is going for the long run, use the rake based return.
The more players you sign, the more you’re looking at passive income for the next few years. The players will keep grinding for the long run and will keep making you a lump sum of money monthly.
Also, you might have friends who like sports betting or casinos. PokerAffiliateWare also provides you affiliate links for this. It’s like a compendium of ways to make money!
Now, if you don’t have any friends who like to gamble online, it’s your job to promote your links on the Internet. If you are wondering how to do this, keep reading below.
It’s not hard to see that we’re now in the era of video and social media. There are a few big platforms that have been flourishing, a few of them surpassing a number of a billion unique user accounts. That’s a lot of people! Imagine being able to reach such an audience and bring them over to the poker world, through your signups. Imagine massive revenue from people that you signed up, who play on poker sites and make you money, while you sit and look at your monitor and see the numbers grow.
First of all, what you want to do is think about how you’re going to promote these poker sites. The easiest way to do it is to make videos of you playing on these poker sites and showing people what are the benefits of moving to your site. The platforms you can promote yourself on are:
Let’s start here. You probably have a Facebook account by now, and some friends, but promotion here is not limited to that. There are many poker groups on Facebook that you can find, just search for “Poker” and you will find loads of groups that include exactly your target audience! Why not join all these groups, make a video of you explaining why you think your poker site is more advantageous, maybe record yourself playing on it and enjoying the game. This will lead more people in, opposed to just text and your signup link.
Now, you can post the video on Facebook videos, but ideally, you also want a YouTube Channel…
YouTube is a very powerful promotion tool that will net you a lot of views if you make your videos right. Invest in a good webcam, microphone and get a green screen. There’s a lot of free video editing software out there, or you could just rent Adobe Creative Cloud for 50 bucks a month. If you do your job right, you will get a lot more than that in return!
There’s really no limit to the people you sign up and the revenue that you can generate for yourself. Having known now that sky’s the limit, don’t you just want to start right away?
It’s a lengthy process, but the work you put in will be greatly rewarded!
First of all, try watching how some other people in the business do it, and try to imitate that, never forgetting to add your personal flavor to the mix! Use Fiverr.com to get a cheap logo you can use for advertising your channel. Find a powerful brand name that you’re going to stick to. Alternatively, this brand can even by yourself/your poker nickname.
Being good at poker also helps, so invest time into flourishing your poker skills. From my personal experience, the higher you play, the more credibility you get, but don’t play a limit that you don’t feel comfortable with. You might lose a lot of money, this is not a smart investment. Get good first, climb up in limits and then do videos at high stakes.
The addition of Live Streaming as an option for YouTube is a very good thing for you as a promoter because you get to reach an audience that has never been accessible before. If you are LIVE, your stream will be heavily promoted in favor of other static videos. Combining regular video posting with Live Streams will net you a much faster growth in subscriber numbers and overall viewership. If you have more subscribers, you get promoted more often.
This is where it’s at. Twitch.tv started as a gaming stream platform, but it has recently extended onwards to Creativity, IRL, Travelling and Poker/Casino. This is your cut. Get on Twitch, go to the poker section and watch other people exactly like you have a good time at the tables and make a large viewership by playing, being unique, funny and different. Like I said before, emulate what other successful streamers are doing, but add your own unique flavor of things.
It’s also very common for Twitch streamers to receive donations through PayPal, so make sure you have an account there and can receive transfers, and to promote your affiliation links right below your channel. Play on the sites that you promote, have fun with it and the people will come. Do this regularly, even on a daily basis for a few hours, few days a week, and you’ll rise up the ranks.
Keeping a schedule of your daily streams is very important so that the people who watch you will know when you’re on, and also make sure to post it somewhere for the people to see.
How to stream
First of all, download a free software called OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software) and sign up an account on Twitch.tv. After that, look at this tutorial on YouTube on how to find your Stream Key (this is the code that tells Twitch that you are streaming on your channel and not someone else’s).
After that, check out this comprehensive guide on how to stream to Twitch:
There are loads of tutorials on YouTube on how to do different stuff in OBS, but first of all just share your desktop, include your webcam and start playing! If you look at big streamers, they also have some overlays and some functions built in like Follower/Donation/Host Alerts. You can get these included in your stream at StreamLabs.com. The Overlay part will be generally done by an artist, but you can find loads of free overlays on the Internet and just pick one from them.
All this technical stuff is not that important, though. The most important part of streaming and growing a large audience is YOU. Transform your personality to be magnetic, charming and witty. If you can’t transform yourself, just imagine that you’re playing a character. Do it and the numbers will rise.
Twitter goes hand in hand and is perfect for streamers, because how otherwise will your viewers and followers know when you’re online? While you’re streaming, tell your viewers to follow you on Twitter, so that every time you’re doing a live show, they know and can tune in. You will slowly grow your viewer base this way because on Twitch or YouTube, whoever has more viewers gets promoted more so you grow and grow and more people follow your Twitter and YouTube Channel. This is called cross-promoting. Promote each of your other social media accounts and channels on the other platforms. Getting more viewers from each platform onto the other is crucial to your overall audience. Getting on more platforms is key, but you can’t only advertise and be done with it. You need content that’s exclusive to every platform, otherwise your pages will turn into huge ads. And no one likes ads.
Sharing your YouTube videos over Facebook will be enough most of the time, but making exclusive Facebook videos will also net you more followers overall.
Twitter exclusive content is hard to produce, but most of your Twitter followers will come from similar interests and your other platforms. Use this account to notify people of upcoming streams and changes.
This is where the people are nowadays. Having an active Instagram account will get you a lot of followers and convert into a big follower base for your other social accounts.
You have no excuses here - you need to provide original content, because the rewards are high in numbers. As you get better in your poker career, you might decide that you also want to give live a try. Snap a photo of your chips and let the people know you’re playing. Maybe your hair is weird this morning. Maybe you’re ready for a wedding. Snap a photo of your elegant self.
At this point, attending poker tournaments and snapping photos of yourself, casinos, famous people in the poker world and gorgeous cocktail waitresses will net you a lot of likes and followers. Do that as often as possible without bothering the people you’re taking snaps of.
Facebook is a great platform for paid advertising because it has the biggest user base and low prices for advertisements and you can target your audience by what their common interests are and where they are located. For example, you can promote your channel or your rakeback deals directly to people who are from your target countries and have common interests like “Poker”, “Gambling’, “Casinos” and more. You get the point. Targeting your audience is very important because you pay per person (for example 1$ will get approximately 80 people to see your commercial) and the more into poker they are, the more likely they are to click on your link. You get more revenue per dollar invested. Choose wisely.
How it went for me
I was already earning a steady income from poker for a long time when I decided to start streaming. I felt like I needed to reach out to the world and help some other people that were struggling. I also started giving coaching lessons and a lot of people were happy about it. I managed to build a good community of active players who watched me regularly, gave me input on my videos and ultimately this benefited me a lot.
First of all, I was able to offer my players better deals than the sites were offering and that was a a big plus. I became friends with most of my affiliate players. They were making money and I was making money – it was and still is - a win-win scenario.
Second, by having a lot of these people invested in deals, they would also promote me to their friends, share me across social media, so my channels and community grew.
This benefitted me a lot because, while the amount of work I put into it was not very different than the time when I just played, I was earning twice or even three times more than before.
I do have some advice though, if you’re just starting out, aside from the points that I have touched on upwards:
- Be unique. Doing something unique and entertaining will bring and keep viewers on your channels;
- Don’t mind the trolls and haters. Some people think that it’s cool to act tough on the Internet and nothing is good enough for them. That includes your channel. No amount of words will calm these people down or make them change their minds. Best is to ignore the trolls and do what you do best;
- Find a few friendly faces in the crowd and communicate with them often;
- Don’t look at viewership numbers. Remember that you’re doing this for yourself and aiming for a higher goal. You will look at viewership numbers after you have 10.000 followers or 50.000 subscribers on YT. Until then, focus exclusively on your content!
This sounds like a lot of work but remember that this will be your full-time job. Don’t expect massive revenue in your first few months, but remember that you are building a player base that will play every month and net you a part of their rake. This means that even if you decide to quit for a month - your work is still out there, your videos are still generating revenue and you’ll still get your paycheck at the end of the month.
In the long run, if you think about it, it’s like every business, you put in the work at first and then less and less every month until it’s a self-sustainable business. After that, all you have to do is choose your vacation destination, or which EPT/WSOP tournaments you want to play.
There have been many overly successful affiliates in the business, and it’s now up to you to become one of them.