I was having a conversation with a player from my home game the other day. We were talking about online poker, and after saying how he struggles to win online, he said “I think Poker Stars is rigged”. He’s been playing poker long enough to know it’s unlikely that Poker Stars is rigged. I was too polite to suggest it might be that he sucks at poker (actually he’s not a bad player, but online poker is a different ball game).
The whole conversation reminded me of post match interviews with football team coaches. If they won, the interview is usually about how well they played, how they took their chances, and so on. If they lose, they blame external factors, usually the referee, the rotten luck, and so on.
I believe many poker players think they are better than they truly are. They win at their local casino, so why can’t they win online? It doesn’t make sense to them. Their local game might be soft, and while there are plenty of bad players playing online poker – there’s a huge number of skilled poker players, even in the micro stakes. So rather than blame it on ‘online poker is rigged’ and jump on that bandwagon, some introspection should take place. I’m sure if I were to observe their play or analyze some hand histories, it would become clear why they are an online loser.
Some players just don’t want to know the truth – that they might not be as good as poker as they think. I know someone who regularly tells me about his bad beats, how he’s on the worst run ever, how he can’t even win with Aces in the hole, and a million other complaints. Everytime I see him he’s got a bad beat story. I suggest he puts some tracking software on his computer so we can review some of his hands – but he refuses. “I don’t need tracking software to tell me how unlucky I am” he says.
The truth is, some players just bury their heads in the sand. Maybe the truth hurts too much.