Online poker a lottery? There are plenty of statistics that say you can win if you’re good enough

Online poker might have an element of chance but if you’re skillful you can make a career out of it

Critics of online gambling say you can never make a career out of it because it’s built around chance. These people go on to compare online poker with the lottery, as though the two are comparable. They couldn’t be more wrong – here are some statistics to prove it.

It’s an online world out there

Online poker is becoming increasingly popular with both amateur and professional players. Daniel Colman began his career as online maestro ‘mrGR33NI3’ and he’s gone on to enjoy the most successful year of any poker player ever, netting $22m in live tournaments around the world. Phil Ivey – widely acknowledged as the best player in the world – has won close to $22m in live tournaments too, and is the biggest cash game winner online, with close to another $20m in winnings. Consistent winners like Ivey and Colman show that you can be a long-term winner in online poker. 

Top poker player Daniel Negreanu equates poker with sports betting – a form of gambling where you can win in the long-term if you’re prepared to put in the work and keep learning. You can make online sites work in your favour too, with websites like offering expert casino reviews and exclusive bonuses to ensure that you get the best returns possible in a safe online environment.

A game of chance

Lottery websites offer players information such as ‘most common lottery ball numbers’ and ‘most overdue lottery ball numbers’. This is an attempt to give the impression that the game’s outcome can be influenced by your choices. This isn’t the case. The lottery is a true chance-based game – not only that, it’s a chance-based game with astronomically bad odds. As an example, to win the UK’s National Lottery you need to match six numbers, from one to 49, in order to get the biggest prize. With a staggering 13,983,816 possible combinations from these six balls, your odds of winning are around one in 14 million. Moreover, it is impossible to alter these odds beyond buying more tickets. You cannot outmanoeuvre or outplay the lottery mechanism, neither can you improve as a player nor gradually build winnings. It is a one-shot deal where you pull the trigger and leave the rest to fate.

Not such a lottery after all

Online Poker is a rather different beast, with estimates indicating that between 5% and 10% of long-term players post significant profits annually. To put this in perspective, if these odds were transferred to the lottery it would mean roughly 72,000,000 people would be winning a jackpot every year in the UK. Moreover, online poker is a tactical game, where the amount of money you invest can be adjusted accordingly. You can learn, adapt and compromise depending upon your own level, the quality of your opponents and the cards that have been played so far. Also, through small wins and conservative tactics, you can build a respectable bankroll without too much risk. While it would be impossible to find someone who had invested $50 a week on The National Lottery and seen a profit on their investment, there are thousands of players – as documented in the online Official Poker Rankings – who have done so playing online poker.

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