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People generally know that contrary to casino gambling (which is a negative expected value setup) online poker features positive EV. Does that mean that all you have to do is play long enough for the EV to kick in to walk away a winner? Not by a long-shot. The truth is, poker can be turned into a positive EV game through skill, perseverance, dedication and by paying keen attention to details. Casino gambling will remain a negative EV undertaking, no matter what the player does.


As for online poker, think about it like this: even though it can be made into a positive EV game (I’ll let you in on a few pointers on how that can be achieved immediately), for every single person who is able to successfully "milk" this positive EV, there is one who plays negative EV and loses. It has to be like that. Regardless of the general impression that many poker sites give you, namely that most online poker players are winners, the reality is quite different. There are fewer winners out there than losers. I suppose there’s not much point in asking you which category you would rather belong to.


Losers are of several types. There are the rookies who – taken by the apparent simplicity of the game – are completely unaware of the strategic intricacies hiding under the surface. In that respect, poker is like an iceberg. Only a tiny tip protrudes from the water, the majority of it stays hidden. Needless to say, these guys will not make any long term money. They’ll ride the variance (if they play Holdem) for a while which may even end up making them believe they’re good, but it won’t last.


Then, there are the guys who think they know, but they – as the saying goes – have in fact no idea. These losers are the worse kind. They will find it particularly difficult to improve and many of them will never become winners.


For the rest of the bunch, poker strategy training and online poker schools are the answer. It takes a long time to become adept at reading opponents online and putting the reads obtained to good use. Without receiving the right kind of information and proper tips, it may take years for a player who desperately seeking improvement, to succeed. Be careful, poker guides presented on different online poker sites where you play, are usually software guides. They tell you how to use the software and thus make it easier for players to take command of the interface. Poker schools presented on-site at the same poker rooms (most of them have such features these days) usually consist of a collection of articles, dragging rookies through the basics.


Really useful knowledge is not that easy to come by. There are dedicated online poker schools (sites which hire trainers for individual players and answer all their strategy-related questions in detail) which try to cover every aspect of poker training. These guys will let you in on things the vast majority of your future opponents won’t know. Such details concern the juice in the sign-up bonuses and especially rakeback deals offered by some sites. Poker propping is also such an option. They’ll teach you about table selection and most of all, about the fundamental nature of Nairobi Holdem, Stud etc.


There is indeed a certain element of luck in poker, but over the long-run it is not impossible to dwarf this luck-element to the extent that it won’t matter anymore. The importance of the EV+ is also something that can only truly be learnt in a poker school.


How, why and through what ways can one influence the odds in his/her own favor is another subtlety that theory alone can’t teach.


Even if the school requires you to pay some sort of tuition, look at it this way: you will have to pay your tuition one way or another anyway, and the one that real money tables squeeze out of you, will be much heftier.