How to Beat Online Poker in 2020 - Step by Step Guide

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020
People often ask me how to beat online poker in 2020. And believe me I get it. Online poker isn’t quite as easy to beat anymore.

These days in order to succeed at online poker you have to be dedicated to putting in the work both at the tables and away from them.

This means consistently working on your game, improving your table selection, bankroll management and your preparation for each session.

You also need to know the right strategy to consistently win at online poker in 2020.

Don’t worry though because I am going to cover it all in this article. This is the definitive guide to beating online poker in 2020.


How to Beat Online Poker in 2020 - It All Starts With the Right Strategy


If you aren’t using the right poker strategy then there is no way that you are going to consistently beat online poker these days.

The best strategy for beating online poker at the lower stakes in particular is still TAG. This stands for tight and aggressive.

What this means is that you are very selective about what hands you decide to play before the flop and you are also always aware of your position at the table.

So in terms of actual numbers, you want to be playing roughly:
  • The top 15% of all hands dealt to you in a 9 person poker game
  • The top 20% of all hands dealt to you in a 6 person poker game

If you don’t know what hands these are, I actually include charts in my popular free poker cheat sheet which shows you exactly what hands these are.

Furthermore, you also want to be playing the large majority of your hands when you are in position.

This means that you are going to be playing very tight from early position and the blinds. And you will be playing loose from the cutoff and the button.

Once again, if you don’t know what any of these positions mean, I explain them all to you step by step in my free poker cheat sheet.

Lastly, as a TAG poker player you want to be very aggressive when you choose to play a hand both before the flop and on the flop, turn and river.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

So what this means in plain English is that you are raising or re-raising the vast majority of the time when you enter the pot preflop.

And then on the flop you are following up the aggression with a continuation bet most of the time.

Depending on the opponents, the board texture and your hand, you will then sometimes continue to apply pressure on the turn and the river as well.

A tight and aggressive player like this is very hard to play against because you know that they are only playing good hands and they are not going to let you see a cheap showdown either.

This is why TAG is the #1 poker strategy to beat online poker in 2020.


Game Selection for Online Poker in 2020


Alright, game selection or table selection, whatever you want to call it, is arguably your most important “skill” at the poker tables in 2020.

I have been preaching this idea here on my blog, in my books and my YouTube poker videos for so many years now, it is ridiculous at this point.

In fact, I feel like people must be just totally sick of hearing it by now!

But despite all this, it is pretty obvious to me that most people still choose to ignore this fundamentally crucial part of winning at poker.

Yes even still in 2020. And yet they wonder why they continue to lose?

Sigh.

Alright, so what exactly is game selection or table selection in online poker? It's really quite simple.

It is playing in poker games that have at least one (although preferably multiple) really bad recreational amateur poker players. They are also often simply called fish.

You see, poker is a game that is played between people.

Therefore:

Your results in poker will always be directly correlated to the games you choose to play in. If you choose to play in tough poker games, expect poor results. If you choose to play in easy poker games, expect good results.

It really is that simple.

So many people over-complicate this game beyond belief. All you have to do is play against bad players consistently and you will win!

The reason why this is so important is because you are going to make the vast majority of your profit in poker off of the players like this.

As a 10+ year poker pro myself let me tell you that this is something that every single poker pro already knows these days.

Winning poker is:
  • Game selection
  • Game selection 
  • Game selection

Here is an example hand played against a maniac fish, who is doing his best to give away all his money.


These are the players who make large fundamental mistakes in all areas of the game and lose their money at a frantic pace over the long run.

If you are using a poker HUD, which I recommend to beat online poker in 2020, then you want to look for the players with a VPIP of 40+.

They will often also have a very low PFR, which indicates a lot of limping, and a very high WTSD%, which indicates going to showdown way too often with bad hands.

These are all classic signs of bad recreational poker players (fish), and if you are serious about beating online poker in 2020, then you absolutely must make sure that you have one of these players at your table at all times.

As I always say, you don't even need to take my word for it. If you have a big enough sample size, you can just log in to your PokerTracker database and see the cold hard facts for yourself.

Players with these kind of stats will almost always have a loss-rate of -20bb/100 (and sometimes much, much more), over the long run.

No other players lose their money at a pace anywhere close to this. When you know who your best customers are, and choose to start playing against them consistently, poker becomes an easy game.

Do things the easy way in poker in 2020. Play against bad players.


Crush Low Stakes Poker Games in 2020 With My Free Poker Cheat Sheet


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Poker Bankroll Management for 2020


Using correct bankroll management is also going to be crucial to you beating online poker in 2020.

Your poker bankroll by the way is the total amount of money that you have allocated to be used for poker only.

And the reason why bankroll management is so important is because if you are constantly on a shoestring bankroll and at risk of going broke, you just aren’t very likely to succeed.

This is because there is no way that you are going to be able to handle even the most routine variance (ups and downs) in online poker.

This will also affect your mental game a lot as well (as I will dive into further below), because you are always going to be worrying about every little downswing.

This is all completely silly.

There are many things in poker that you do not have control over such as your short term luck, what cards you are dealt and so on. But your poker bankroll is something that you absolutely do have control over at all times.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

I recommend using at least 30 buy-ins for any cash games in 2020 and at least 100 buy-ins for any tournaments you decide to play.

A “buy-in” at a cash game table is 100 big blinds which is usually the maximum amount you are allowed to bring to the table in online cash games.

And a buy-in in a tournament is the entrance fee that you paid to get into the tournament.

The reason why you need to have this many buy-ins in your bankroll is because the variance in online poker is a lot more severe than most people realize.

It is not uncommon for top winning players to go on 10 or 20 buy-in downswings in cash games. And they might lose for weeks or months on end in tournaments!

This is why I am hesitant to even recommend such low bankroll numbers as this. I personally use far more than 30 buy-ins when playing cash games and 100 buy-ins when playing tournaments.

The bottom line is that if you are serious about beating online poker in 2020 then it is time to get serious about your bankroll management.

For much more, check out my ultimate guide to poker bankroll management in 2020.


Preparing for Your Poker Session Like a Pro


Something else that I talk about all the time here on my poker blog, in my books and videos, is preparing properly for each poker session.

If you want to win at online poker in 2020 then you need to start taking this game as seriously as a professional poker player does.

So for me, this involves everything that I do away from the tables. For example, I am in the gym almost every morning first thing.

This allows me to get my mind “right” as soon as I wake up, gives me increased energy and mental clarity throughout the day.

Regular exercise also helps me sleep better at night which helps tremendously with tilt control.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

And of course you just look better and feel better overall. This is an absolute no brainer thing to start doing in 2020 for so many reasons (playing better poker is just one of them).

Next on my list of preparing properly for each session is nutrition. If you eat garbage foods, then you are going to feel like garbage and play poorly.

So for me personally, eating a well balanced diet full of natural whole foods is extremely important.

Once again, this is an absolute no brainer strategy for living a better life overall. Playing better poker is just one small benefit of this.

There really isn’t even any excuse anymore in 2020 because you can simply just order healthy food right to your door with any app like FoodPanda here in SE Asia or GrubHub, Uber Eats etc. over in the US/Canada.

I personally have all my meals delivered so I don’t need to waste any time cooking or preparing meals.

And everything that I eat is designed to keep me physically and mentally at peak performance levels at the poker tables.

So this means whole grains, lean meats and tons of vegetables and fruits. Very little sugar or processed foods and my god, absolutely no soda ever! I don't care if it says "diet" on the label lol.

Lastly, sleep is absolutely crucial to your ability to beat online poker in 2020. You are going to face endless bad beats and downswings at the poker tables.

One of the biggest reasons why I deal with them so much better than the average person does is because I focus heavily on optimizing my sleep.

This means that I am in shut down mode by 9pm every night and the lights are off by 10pm. I wake up each morning around 6:30am naturally.

If you want to beat online poker in 2020, and improve all areas of your life, make sure you are focused on the big three:
  • Regular exercise 
  • Good nutrition
  • Optimal sleep

Because I can promise you that the professional poker players like me that you will face at the poker tables in 2020 are not neglecting this.

In a game like poker that involves long periods of intense mental focus and wild swings that require excellent emotional control, I am getting ahead of my competition by preparing better than they do away from the tables.


How to Improve Your Poker Game in 2020


Another extremely important part of beating online poker in 2020 that all pros are also focusing on is consistently improving your game.

Now luckily there are more resources than ever available these days to help you keep upgrading your knowledge and technical poker ability.

At the very top of this list is The Upswing Poker Lab.

This is my #1 recommended advanced poker training program for beating online poker in 2020.

Taught by some of the world’s best poker players including 3-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk, this poker training program is the most comprehensive and effect way to improve your game that exists today.

With dozens of hours of highly in depth poker training videos teaching you the top strategies to win in today’s games, this is a no brainer for struggling low and mid stakes poker players.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

The Upswing Poker Lab also includes over 250 preflop charts showing you exactly what hands to play in every situation possible and access to a private Facebook group where you can ask top poker pros your questions directly.

For any struggling small or mid stakes poker players, this training program is the #1 way to quickly improve your poker game in 2020. You can find my full review of The Upswing Poker Lab right here.

If you are a bit newer to the game and you want something that focuses more on the basic strategy and the fundamentals that you need to beat online poker in 2020, then I would recommend the Daniel Negreanu Masterclass.

Daniel teaches you how to play a solid tight and aggressive game in both live and online poker, how to read your opponents and use simple math to figure out what they have.

There is also a ton of world class material in here on how to use table talk and read your opponents in live poker games. Daniel Negreanu is one of the best of all-time at this.


You can enroll in Daniel Negreanu's Masterclass right here.

Not to be outdone though, another legend of the game, Phil Ivey, also has a brand new Masterclass which I also recommend for small stakes poker players.

Not only does Ivey teach you the fundamentals of winning poker strategy for 2020, but he gives you insights into his world class ability to read people at the poker table.

This includes how he has made some of the absolute sickest calls and bluffs of all time and always, always seems to get it right. Learn from the master himself.

You can enroll in Phil Ivey's Masterclass right here.

The bottom line is that if you are serious about beating online poker in 2020, then it is absolutely crucial that you focus on consistently improving your technical knowledge and learning the cutting edge strategies to stay on top in today's games.


The Mental Game - The Biggest Key to Winning at Online Poker on 2020


Alright, so I have already touched on it, but the mental game is going to be the #1 reason why you either crush online poker in 2020 or continue to be a break even or losing player like most people.

What do I mean by the “mental game?”

What I mean by this is your ability to deal with the natural ups and downs of the game of poker. The technical term that we use for this is called "variance."

Variance is absolutely crazy in poker. Most people are simply not prepared for the amount of bad beats, coolers and suckouts they will receive especially in online poker where the pace of action is insanely fast.

And so most people end up cracking under the pressure of short term bad luck. They start getting frustrated and they end up going on tilt and basically throwing away all of their profits with poor emotionally charged decisions.

This in a nutshell is why most people will not win at online poker in 2020. They are simply not able to control their emotions.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

And this is why it is absolutely necessary that you learn to react better to adversity at the poker tables in 2020.

Now there are many techniques that pros use these days to improve their mental game such as meditation and visualization strategies.

But the easiest way to start improving your mental game, which doesn’t even require much effort at all, is to simply physically stop yourself from playing poker when variance turns on you.

So I usually suggest using a stop loss of 3 buy-ins for new and relatively unexperienced poker players. More experienced players can use a stop loss of 5 buy-ins.

And what this means is that if you lose this many buy-ins in a session, then you close all of your poker tables immediately and stop playing poker for the day.

This is the #1 way to start improving your results at the online poker tables in 2020 because you prevent yourself from even playing when you are on tilt and making extremely poor decisions like most other people.

In other words, you get to play against them when they are at their worst, but they don’t get to play against you when you are at your worst.

Look, getting a professional level mental game in poker requires years and years of hard work.

I have even hired mental game experts before (almost like a poker “shrink”) to help me me deal with the variance in this game.

And as I explained before, everything that I do away from the tables, such as my exercise schedule, nutrition and sleep and is all meant to help me deal with variance better when I sit down to play poker as well.

But the bottom line is that we are all human. And sometimes the bad beats and the coolers are going to happen at a pace that doesn’t even seem real in online poker.

If you can physically prevent yourself from even being at the poker tables when you start to get emotional and frustrated about it (unlike 95% of other people), you immediately gain a HUGE edge over them.

There is no better way to start drastically improving your poker results in 2020 than to start implementing a rock solid stop loss strategy.

This will prevent the devastating tilt that is the destroyer of so many bankrolls and dreams in this game for most people.


How Much Money Will the Average Person Make in Online Poker?


Alright so something that people ask me all the time is how much money can the average person expect to make in online poker.

Now unfortunately there is no clear-cut answer to this question because it totally depends on the individual.

More specifically, it depends on how disciplined they are in applying the poker strategies and the mental approach that I already discussed above.

Most people approach poker like an amateur, they just play for fun. And that is why they get subpar results.

The handful of people who are ready to take this game extremely seriously like a professional would, are the ones who are going to get great results.

In my experience, this is only a handful of people.

The large majority of people who people who play online poker will end up losing money in the end. This is because the small amount of big winners and the house, take the lion's share of the profits.

So the "average person" is a losing poker player. A small amount will be dedicated enough though to turn this game into a profitable side income, or even a full time income though.

At the micro stakes you can make anywhere from $100 per month to several thousand dollars per month.

Again, it all depends on the individual though.

If you want to be an elite winner at these stakes, then you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself how much you really want it.

Because it isn't easy to beat online poker in 2020.

But there will always be a select few who are simply willing to work way harder than everybody else on all aspects of their game. They are the ones who will get the big results.


Take Your Poker Game on the Road in 2020


The last suggestion that I have for you to beat online poker in 2020 is a little bit unorthodox and honestly, it is not for everybody. However, it really worked well for me and many other online poker pros in particular.

And this is to take your game on the road. This means to either travel the world or move to a foreign country or a mixture of the both, while you play poker.

Because here's the thing about poker. You can basically play it from anywhere in the world these days.

And you can actually wind up saving yourself a fortune if you are from a ridiculously expensive western city like I am, Vancouver.

This is because if you are a winning poker player, then you have a steady income stream that doesn't require you to always be in a single physical location, like a traditional job usually does.

I personally hopped on a one way flight to Bangkok, Thailand about 7 years ago from Vancouver, Canada. And I have been traveling ever since while using Southeast Asia as a home base.

I discussed this in much more detail in my big 10 years as a poker pro post.

Since I play online poker for a living, I can do it from anywhere on earth. And travel is a great way to do a full mental reset and in some cases, completely change your outlook on life.

You will also meet tons of fellow online poker players in a place like Southeast Asia for example.

This really helps because you get to meet real people who are going through the same ups and downs playing online poker for a living as you do. And you can learn from them as well.

I have made many great friends over the years through poker because it is so easy to relate to each other, even if we are from totally different cultures or speak different languages.

And lastly, traveling is just awesome, period.

It expands your mind, it opens you up to new cultures, meeting new people, trying new food and it brings a whole new perspective on life.

I highly recommend it.

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

I am writing this article from the beach right now in southern Thailand and after this I will be traveling all over the world in 2020, to the Philippines, Malaysia, Bali, Australia, Columbia, Brazil, Germany, UK, USA and France, just to name a few.

It is easier than ever to hop on a flight to anywhere on earth in 2020. And by using apps like Airbnb I am able to easily book a condo or beach villa for a few weeks or even several months literally anywhere in the world.

If you book your first place with my Airbnb link you will receive $35 off.

I also use apps like Grab or FoodPanda here in Southeast Asia for all my transportation and ordering all my food.

If you are from North America they have similar apps for this that you are probably familiar with like Uber, Lyft, GrubHub or SkipTheDishes.

The bottom line is that you can take your poker game pretty much anywhere in the world in 2020 and you can use technology to simplify everything.

And you can also end up saving yourself a fortune if you are from a really expensive place like I am.

In fact, as much as I love my home city of Vancouver, it was recently named the most unaffordable city to live in all of North America!

Yes, even more expensive that Manhattan or San Francisco when adjusted for the local salaries. Why on earth would I choose to rent or buy a house/condo in a place like this?

That would just be silly when I can get the exact same quality of living for as little as 1/4 the cost in many other world class cities around the world. And often with much better weather as well!

Always consider your options as a winning online poker player in 2020. You are NOT tied to one single physical location.


Final Thoughts


So can anyone learn to beat online poker in 2020? I would say that most people can, but it will require some real work both at the poker tables and away from them.

The first thing that you need is the right strategy to beat online poker in 2020. And this is still without a doubt a TAG strategy.

The easiest way to learn how to play TAG poker is to just read my free poker cheat sheet.

This free poker strategy guide provides you with a step by step manual for how to play a solid tight and aggressive game and crush online poker in 2020.

The next thing you need to do is focus on your game selection. You need to always have at least one bad recreational player at your poker table at all times.

You also need to use proper bankroll management if you want to have success in online poker. This means 30 buy-ins for cash games and 100 buy-ins for tournaments, at a bare minimum.

Next is preparation. Professional poker players are optimizing their exercise, nutrition and sleep for maximum success at the poker tables in 2020.

If you are serious about winning at poker, then you need to start focusing more of your attention on these key areas away from the tables as well.

Furthermore, you need to be working away from the tables on improving your poker knowledge and learning the latest strategies to crush small stakes poker.

You can does this by enrolling in an advanced poker training program like The Upswing Poker Lab.

Lastly, you need to be focusing heavily on your mental game if you want to have success at the poker tables this year.

The easiest way to start doing this is to implement a stop loss strategy of between 3 and 5 buy-ins. This ensures that you stop playing poker when you are in your worst mental state and playing poorly.

And finally, if you are already a winning online poker player, consider taking your game on the road in 2020.

It is amazing to meet different people of all cultures and many fellow online pros have already made the move to a place like Southeast Asia for example.

And as an added bonus, you get sunny tropical weather year round, sick beaches and you might even save yourself a fortune if you come from an expensive western city like I do.

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Let me know in the comments below what are your top strategies to beat online poker in 2020.

All the best at the poker tables in 2020. Unless you are on my table :)

How to Beat Online Poker in 2020

13 comments:

  1. Epic article. Thanks so much for everything you have written over the years, your books and videos. Wishing you all the success in poker in 2020 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks TJ, all the best to you at the poker tables in 2020 as well!

      Delete
  2. Thanks man! I’m starting by getting back to running! Gl in 2020 bro!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome Amea, all the best to you at the poker tables and in life in 2020 :)

      Delete
  3. Thank You Bro 4 gold advices.

    Great article i belive that YOu help me be better and better :D

    a lot of health in 2020 cheers Bro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you sir I appreciate it. All the best in 2020!

      Delete
  4. Hello I know you said exercise and nutrition are very important. I was curious if you take any supplements or vitamins for either exercise or nutrition or just in general to help you stay mentally sharp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Nope, just clean natural food and sometimes I have a quick whey protein + water shake in the morning.

      Delete
  5. Thank's for writing this article.
    Lucky New Year !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. All the best to you in the New Year as well!

      Delete
  6. Dou you recommend to play Zoom games? There is no way to table selecting...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Solidus,

      Yes and no. I have already written a huge article with my thoughts on Zoom poker strategy and if you should play it, right here:

      https://www.blackrain79.com/2015/07/zoom-poker-strategy-essential-guide.html

      Delete
  7. I really think it's not possible to make money on lower stakes like nl2. And I mean that you start something like 50 dollars and make it to 250 dollars to start grind nl5. I've read lots of poker forums for last couple of years and I've not seen any graphs that shows profit on those stakes. People play little and then take shots to higher stakes. I've also read really bad things about how poker sites work that lower stakes are mainly for new unexperienced players who gets reward with really bad plays and the main focus is to get then to feel they are good and deposit more and go to higher limits to keep those games running. The are couple of forum posters that have really busted when trying to play good on those stakes but always gets bad beats with better pair or better kicker and coinflips. I'm not saying that all sites does that but there are few of them in Blackrain's recommended sites post.

    ReplyDelete