When it comes to online poker, there are numerous myths
associated with it, many of which get repeated so often that
they are widely considered to be true. Unfortunately, some of
these myths give a completely false impression of what it’s
actually like to play poker on the internet. They can discourage
people from playing and some of them originate from nothing more
than players trying to find reasons for why they lose money.
Although online poker is different from live poker in many
ways, it’s still fundamentally the same game. Some people seem
to believe that the cards “behave” differently online and that
they aren’t as random as cards dealt from a physical deck, but
this is simply not true. This mistaken belief is quite possibly
the main reason why many of the myths we’ll look at in this
article still exist to this day.
The biggest myth of all would be to say that online poker
isn’t fair and that poker sites always cheat their players by
determining who is dealt which cards and when. There have been
people claiming that online poker is fixed ever since it first
became possible to play over the internet and unfortunately
there’ll probably always be some people that believe those
We’ll start this article by looking at the question of, Is
online poker rigged?, in detail. Then we’ll list the most common
online poker myths, explain why they exist, and why they aren’t
true. We’ll also discuss some of the negative effects of
actually believing in these myths.
Is Online Poker Rigged/Fixed/All a Big Scam?
There are more than a few people who believe that online
poker is all a big scam. They use words like “fixed” and
“rigged”, seemingly with the belief that all poker sites are
engaged in fraudulent behavior to cheat the players in some way.
It’s hard to know for sure just why so many people are convinced
that online poker isn’t legitimate, but people probably have a
wide range of different explanations for their beliefs.
It’s quite possible that a lot of these people have heard
others state that online poker is fixed and then simply chose to
believe them. It’s even possible that they have never played
online themselves, but just formed an opinion based entirely on
what other people are saying. Rather than looking into it
themselves, they choose to assume the worst. It’s possible that
these people are also the types that tend to believe in various
conspiracy theories, so they probably wouldn’t change their
minds no matter how much actual proof they were offered.
There are also probably plenty of people who have tried
online poker, lost some money, and then preferred to question
the integrity of poker sites rather than their own poker playing
abilities. They don’t want to accept the possibility that
they’re not good enough to beat the other players, so they
instead look for something else to blame their failures on. It’s
only natural to think this way and some people even have egos
that simply won’t allow them to believe that they might not be
as good at something as they would like to think they are.
Our views on the people who believe online poker is rigged
may seem harsh, and to some extent they are. We just don’t think
it’s fair that some people are put off the idea of playing poker
just because there are others who are wrongly convinced that
it’s all fixed. We should, however, point out the fact that not
everyone who has doubts about the fairness of online poker is
necessarily an irrational conspiracy theorist or someone with an
inflated opinion of their own ability to play cards.
Unfortunately, there have been some instance of poker sites
cheating players, so it isn’t unreasonable for people to have
concerns due to this fact alone. However, it’s very important to
recognize that such circumstances are incredibly rare,
particularly when you consider the number of different sites in
existence and the fact that online poker has been around for
many years now. It’s also worth noting that these cases didn’t
involve rigging or fixing which cards were dealt, but instead
certain individuals that played were able to view the cards of
Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker were embroiled in the two
most famous online poker cheating scandals. In both cases there
were suspicions within the poker playing community that cheating
was taking place which lead to a number of experienced players
setting out to gather evidence. They managed to uncover the
truth, forcing admissions from the sites in question. The poker
community truly believes that any site cheating its players will
always eventually get caught.
Even though, we would love to if we could, we unfortunately
cannot state with absolute certainty that there’ll never be
another case of a poker site cheating its players. Like any
other industry where there are substantial sums of money
involved, there’s always the risk that some unethical people
will try to find ways to profit unfairly from others.
We can state with a great deal of confidence that online
poker as a whole isn’t fixed or rigged. There are plenty of
reputable poker sites on the internet, many of which make enough
money through charging rake alone that they simply don’t need to
rip off their players. They couldn’t even if they wanted to.
They are regulated, so therefore their software is regularly
tested to ensure that it uses random number generators to
determine which cards are dealt. If you stick to playing at such
sites, then it’s probable that you’ll experience perfectly fair
What you choose to believe is ultimately up to you, and if
you can’t overcome the concerns you might have about the
possibility of being cheated, then you probably shouldn’t play.
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever fully enjoy yourself anyway. Our
view is that you should try to forget about poker as a whole
being rigged, as it’s the biggest myth in online poker and one
that’s best ignored.
Myth: You Can’t Win at Online Poker
For many people, the default position when it comes to any
form of gambling is that it’s impossible to win. This is usually
based largely on the fact that most gamblers do indeed lose.
There’s no correlation between the two though; just because most
people lose money doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win.
After all, the very point of gambling is that you have a
chance to win. If it truly was impossible, why would so many
choose to gamble? It simply doesn’t make any sense when you
think about it rationally. There are certainly some forms of
gambling where the odds are against you, such as playing casino
games for example, but even then it’s still possible to get
lucky and win.
Playing poker is very different to playing casino games
anyway. There’s some luck involved, for sure, but there’s also a
great deal of skill and strategy. The players with the best
skills and the best understanding of strategy will generally win
in the long run. This is true regardless of whether they are
playing online or live.
It really is a complete myth that you can’t win money playing
poker online and the problem with believing it is that you’ll be
less inclined to do what it takes to be a winner. The simple
fact of the matter is that there are plenty of players who do
win money consistently. Many of them would argue that what they
do shouldn’t be considered gambling at all, but rather playing a
game of skill for money.
On a side note, it’s important to recognize the distinction
between us stating that the best players win in the long run and
the statement that the best players always win. The latter is
another myth really, as players can and do beat better players
on occasion. This is largely due to the fact that there’s still
an element of luck to the game and it’s a big part of what makes
poker so appealing. The game wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if
the best players were guaranteed to win each and every time they
Myth: It’s Easy to Collude Online
If you aren’t familiar with this term in a poker sense,
colluding is when two or more players play “together” at the
table in order to gain an advantage over their opponents. They
communicate while they are playing (via Skype or the phone for
example) to let each another know the cards that they have. This
can help them make more informed decisions that give them an
unfair advantage over the other players. In some circumstances,
those involved in colluding may even make specific moves to try
to force another player to fold or put more chips in the pot.
Colluding can and does happen in online poker; there’s no
denying that. To say it’s commonplace is complete nonsense
though. It’s really not as easy as you might think to do it with
great success and it’s certainly something players can do in a
live environment as well, with a few simple pre-agreed hand
It could be argued, in fact, that it’s harder to collude
online. At the very least it’s harder to get away with it. Poker
sites employ a variety of detection techniques to uncover cases
of collusion, including the use of sophisticated software that
simply isn’t available and wouldn’t be as effective in live
Although we can’t say that you’ll never face opponents
cheating to gain a small advantage, it’s definitely a myth that
you’re going to be up against colluders all the time. The danger
in believing this myth is that it can be used as an excuse if
you keep losing to the same players, when the reality might
simply be that they are more skilled than you.
Myth: You Get More Bad Beats Online
This is a myth that you’re almost guaranteed to hear if you
play online poker for any length of time, or even if you just
talk to a few online players. It’s a little ridiculous just how
many people seem to genuinely believe this, when there’s
absolutely no evidence to prove it. It’s a dangerous myth too,
as players who feel like they are going to do poorly are more
likely to start getting emotional and making irrational
decisions during the game.
In fairness, players probably do see more bad beats online in
terms of numbers. The only reason for this is that they play far
more hands per hour. It’s entirely logical that bad beats appear
to happen more frequently when players are playing at a faster
pace and there will be times it feels like they happen all the
time. The reality, however, is that they happen in roughly the
same proportion to playing live.
Myth: You Can’t Beat the Rake At Low Limits
This myth isn’t as common as some of the other myths listed
on this page, but it’s still one that gets repeated more often
than it should. While it’s true that the rake can account for a
higher percentage of each pot at the lowest limits, it’s not as
big of a concern as people have come to believe it is. Most
sites cap the maximum rake charged based on the stakes being
played and the rake is surprisingly rarely excessive. It
certainly doesn’t make it impossible to win at the lower limits,
as there are plenty of players who make money by doing just
The most dangerous aspect of this myth is that it can
encourage people to play at higher stakes than they should and
this can result in far more damage to a bankroll than the low
stakes rake ever would.
Myth: Poker Sites Create Action Flops
The theory behind this myth is that poker sites intentionally
set-up hands so that at least two players are strong and that
they do this to ensure that there are plenty of big pots and
therefore plenty of rake being paid. Like the rest of the myths
discussed here, it’s simply not true.
It’s possible that the origin of this myth is similar to that
of the bad beat myth. Players will see more action flops and
more big pots simply because they are playing more hands due to
the faster pace of games online. This doesn’t mean anything
problematic is going on though and there’s certainly no hard
evidence to support the idea that there is.
Myth: Poker Sites Ensure Bad Players Get Lucky
This myth is closely linked to the idea that you see more bad
beats when playing online. It also assumes that poker sites have
the ability to decide who gets what cards and when. This myth
can therefore be instantly dispelled, seeing as the truth is
that cards are sincerely dealt randomly.
Nonetheless, some players still want you to believe that
sites fix things so that the bad players get lucky more often
than they should. The theory probably stems from the fact that,
as we mentioned earlier, the online game is played at a faster
pace. It stands to reason that you’ll see players “suck out” and
get lucky more times if you’re seeing more hands in total.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s happening at a
proportionately higher rate.
It’s also worth considering that, as a general rule, you’ll
probably see more bad decisions from online players than you
would in a live environment. This could certainly be considered
a good thing, as it’s your opponents’ bad decisions that will
ultimately help you win money. It also means that there are more
opportunities for players to get lucky, but overall you should
benefit from this.
The danger with this myth is that it really is just another
case of looking for something or someone to blame when you lose.
There’ll be occasions when you lose because of bad luck but it’s
important to remember that luck tends to even itself out over
time. In the long run, if you can’t beat the bad players online
it’s probably not because they are getting luckier than you.
It’s more likely to be because you aren’t making the right
Myth: You Always Lose After Cashing Out
If you’ve spent any time reading online poker forums or
talking to online players, there’s a very good chance that
you’ll have come across the phrase “cash out curse.” This is yet
another myth that’s based on nothing more than unsupported
rumors that lead you to believe the cards dealt aren’t as random
as they should be.
It’s not immediately obvious how or why this myth started,
but it’s one that has been making its rounds for many years.
There are plenty of people who genuinely believe that poker
sites make sure players always go on losing streaks after making
a withdrawal. This isn’t at all true and it’s actually difficult
to imagine why a site would even want to do this. The vaguely
logical assumption is that they want to discourage people from
withdrawing but there’s no significant gain by making sure
players lose when they do.
This myth is just another example of players searching for an
excuse for their losses, which is a common theme throughout most
of the myths we’ve covered here. This is probably the main
reason why they continue to be repeated and believed. As we
mentioned earlier on, some people just cannot accept the fact
that they aren’t as good at poker as they want to believe they
If there’s one main point that you should take away from this
article it’s that you shouldn’t believe everything that you hear
or read involving online poker. The myths we’ve discussed, and
some others that we haven’t covered, are repeated often and
believed by many. Most of them aren’t even close to being true,
which is disappointing. Please remember that poker sites really
aren’t conspiring against you to make sure you lose.
The reality is that online poker is completely fair, at the
vast majority of sites at least, and it’s also entirely possible
to win while playing online poker if you’re prepared to work
hard to improve your game. Just please remember that if you are
losing the solution is to always be on the lookout for ways to
improve. You really won’t help yourself if you start falling for
myths just because they may help you justify why you’re not
doing as well as you had hoped.
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