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Back In The Saddle For The First Time

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I used to hate online poker. Several years ago, I played limit hold’em 50 hours a week. And virtually every one of those hours was spent at a casino in a live game. Some of my friends would say I was an idiot for playing only at a casino when I could have made 5-10x more per hour playing online.

I probably could have made that much more. But the money didn’t really matter to me because I just didn’t like playing online. After all, I didn’t quit my job for poker because I wanted to make a lot of money doing something I didn’t like. I would rather make not-so-much money and enjoy it.

But every once in a while, I would say, “Ok, I’m going to give online poker another shot.” I’d play a few thousand hands, and then give up again. It was boring. I called it “clicking buttons for a living.”

I definitely love playing live. I like the atmosphere, and I like interacting with my opponents. And live poker has you exercising certain poker muscles that don’t get much use online. (The opposite is true too.)

But I don’t hate online anymore. Now I really dig it, actually, and it’s thanks to Stoxpoker.

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37 Responses to “Back In The Saddle For The First Time”

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:01:13 AM

What a coincidence you’re having this little article today. You’re feelings regarding live vs. on-line play is my dilemma too, and living in Sweden I don’t have casinos like Commerce, Foxwoods or Borgata around the corner. (Ah, how I would love to be sitting at a 5-10 game at Commerce right now.)

When I play on line I try to create as much of a live environment as I can. I play one table only, I blow up the table and the screen as much as I can and I try to engage in the game, giving action (around 30-35% VP$IP), seeing flops and get some needling and bantering going in the chat box. But nobody banters in the chat box anymore, and the weak-tight multi-tabling nits won’t return the favor and give you action unless they have 99 or better.

So here’s my suggestion to you: In yours and Stoxpoker’s quest to teach people to play real good poker (as opposed to 12-table setfarming), can’t you try to make an arrangement with an on-line poker room or two where you host a few low-stakes tables that are set up such as the people playing them will be excluded to play other tables simultaneously. Then you play these tables yourself as often as you can (give people a chance to play you and beat you) and when you make your videos you try to make them when playing one of these tables.

Just a thought. Anyway I agree with you regarding your predisposition towards live poker instead of on-line ditto, and I guess I am just annoyed that the player category I belong to are so marginalized by the on-line sites.

Nice going last month by the way. I will put some money in my FTP account and start playing some 0.5-1 and 1-2 with you. What are your preferred hours? My nick is “Optisizer”. Whatever I can win from you will go to my Stoxpoker subscription… ;-)

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:31:38 AM

I’m confused…are you referring above to playing limit or NL on Full Tilt?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:49:31 AM

Just curious – are you single- or multi-tabling?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:00:24 PM

Hey Ed,
I played online long time ago and stopped once live poker became available in my area. I wanted to start back up, I messaged you 3 or 4 months ago about your knowledge of different sites.

So, my old neteller account went through what everyone’s did, they don’t accept paypal, tried to sign up for click2pay and they don’t do U.S.
I am still leery about giving credit card account stuff to overseas gamling site. Is this old-fashioned? Would you mind telling me which method you use or recommend ?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:51:20 PM


Do you think that win rate is sustainable at that level, or were you just running good?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:58:41 PM

Do you think that Small Stakes Hold ‘em is a good book for .25-.50 online poker?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 03:23:06 PM

Those results look fantastic
I still struggle with online after all the studying/reading/playing.
Are there any major differences players should be aware of when playing online?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 03:49:38 PM

Now I have to look and see if we have been sitting at the same tables at all. Don’t move up the limits too quickly… you’ll make me feel like a slacker… :)

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 04:40:24 PM

I hate online poker and admittedly can’t beat it worth a damn. I believe i lose patience too fast online…yet playing live I have been very successful (1-2 NL in AC). Perhaps its just because the live games are “laughably soft” as you once put it……..which is true. Its great that you play online on full tilt and I will look for you sometime. What is u’re screen name on full tilt?

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 04:46:32 PM

“can’t you try to make an arrangement with an on-line poker room or two where you host a few low-stakes tables that are set up such as the people playing them will be excluded to play other tables simultaneously.”

So basically you’re asking a poker site to forbid ppl at Ed’s tables to pay rake at more than just the 1 table. Never gonna happen.

@ Wed Feb 27, 2008 07:16:49 PM

10.5 BB/100, that’s a not-so-shabby win rate you’ve got going there Ed. :)

Ed if you don’t mind I’d like to know what your SD is in that graph…

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 02:11:26 AM

To Paul,
If a site has a few tables like that it won’t kill them and sometimes a holding back maneuver like that can be good marketing.
For example, they set up a few tables like that, market it appropriately, people come and want to play, find the tables occupied, put themselves on the waiting list and play other tables meanwhile. Everybody is happy, this player category feel someone is at least trying to do something for them, and the site is generating fresh revenue, as are the affiliate site like Stoxpoker.
And maybe, just maybe, the sites will have to think about doing things like this soon anyway, to attract new fish, because as soon as the 12-tabling setfarmers realize that they are only playing other 12-tabling setfarmers, 99% of them will also realize they are not the next CTS or Leatherass and move on with their lives. Not to mention the fish, who might expect to lose his money, will soon be educated enough to realize how little he is getting in return in terms of a entertainment value and good time playing on the computer…

il professore
@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 04:59:17 AM

Wow, people can really spend so much time staring at a computer screen? I never did 20K hands in a month. This is what I want to try in march! I’ll 2 table for 600 hands a day. Now did Ed just ran good: No hell no, he didnt just run good. That question came to my mind also. I stopped questioning myself about it in a split second. We all can see there are 500BB swings at times, and I do 200BB swings maximum on my stats. He ran normal. Every mountain is made out of tiny stones.

Ed Miller
@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 01:35:22 PM

Whew, lots of questions.

Optisizer: I totally get where you’re coming from, but I sort of think that online play is fundamentally a different beast from live play, and it’s hard to make online play “more like” live poker.

I was 6-tabling at 6-max no limit.

I’m not sure how sustainable that rate is. My gut is that I ran good for the month. I made a lot of mistakes during that time, some of which were caused by the frantic (to me) pace of playing 6 games at once. I’m trying to get used to playing so fast.

I think Small Stakes Hold’em is a great book. :) Some of the examples will seem like they don’t apply to online limit games because they play tighter preflop, but a lot of the basic postflop ideas and principles apply just as well.

PokerTracker says my overall SD is 48.3BB/100.

And don’t worry. I’m not going to move up too fast. When I get up to 8-10k, I’m sure I’ll start treating the money more like a bankroll than an experiment. :)

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 03:47:02 PM

Maybe that’s the key… it’s all just a big experiment. The experiment of attempting to build a “poker empire”.

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 04:37:42 PM

Congrats on your success so far Ed. I think at these stakes its all about bankroll management and emotional control. Anyone with solid fundamentals should be able to make a solid winrate at those games.

Most players who fail at these limits do so cause they cant handle a bad swing or treat top pair as a hand you must always go broke with. How many mid to lowstakes blogs have you read where they complain about all the “coolers” they had where their hands were marginal at best and the villain may as well have been wearing a sandwichboard that screamed “I HAVE THE NUTS!”

If you watch vids of top players even the “super aggressive” laggy ones youll be amazed at how much prudent calculation goes into every play they make.

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 06:57:26 PM

Ed Miller is a poker god!

Those are very amazing results.

What do you think one could earn per hour playing live 1/2 NL in AC?

In other words, what would someone like Ed Miller expect to make per hour playing Live 1/2 NL?

Does anyone else have any statistics for what they make playing live?

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:29:07 PM

Hm, how much do you receive from stoxpoker to promote that site and online poker? Seems a bit unhonest to me: “Ohhhh, i HATED online poker, but now the GREAT stox made me a poker god online. Look at my INCREDIBLE HIGH win rate, huhu” Are you still honest to us, Ed?

@ Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:30:11 PM

Ed, did you really begin your experiment with $300 (at 6 tables of NL50 6max) out of your $500 BR at risk?

I’m all for playing aggressively in games where you have a significant skill edge, but it seems to me that you had a relatively big risk of ruin there.

@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 01:46:03 AM

SD in poker tracker, what does it stand for? Standard deviations? Where is it displayed? Can’t find it…

@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 04:35:13 AM

Do you think it is really true that you make 8-10x more playing online rather than live? I’m a regular at commerce and I find the limit games live are much softer than the online limit games. Online tends to be a bit tougher and more aggressive. For ex. the $40/80 limit game at commerce is actually rather soft while online some of the 10/20 limit hold’em games and up is pretty tight aggressive. I’d be interested in ur opinion because i’d be more than happy to play online if it were more profitable than live.

il professore
@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 07:37:03 AM

online is more profitable because of the number of hands you can play vs live basically. You can play more hands and you can play many tables at the same time. I dont think live poker and online poker grew different kinds of fishes. In the end no matter how many hands you capped on the flop, turn and/or river, you always capped more hands online :)

@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 09:16:56 AM


I second your idea about having tables that allow single-tabling only! I cannot see how this would hurt the casinos in any way. Just like pot-limit or limit are “capped” versions of NL, single-tabling would be a “capped” version of MT.

Please post if you should ever hear about such a site!


@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 03:31:33 PM


I don’t know if you can take my word for granted, but that’s what I did: I used my credit card in overseas online casinos, however, it was a virtual-visa, that is one issued specially for online and moto transactions, post-office shopping etc. You have to load and unload it with money and that makes it 100% safe.
But if I had no choice like that, I’d use my regular credit card then.
Only pita is that some sites require a written agreement between you and them before they accept your card (at least it is so for european users).

@ Fri Feb 29, 2008 06:02:57 PM

Pipapoker> “Seems a bit unhonest to me: ‘Ohhhh, i HATED online poker, but now the GREAT stox made me a poker god online. Look at my INCREDIBLE HIGH win rate, huhu’ Are you still honest to us, Ed?”

I really logged in today to answer Optisizer’s question but I can’t resist picking up this one too even though Pipapoker is probably just a troll.

Anyways here goes – Ed said that he used to be bored with online poker, but now he isn’t because he’s looking for interesting hands to write about on Stox. He did not claim that Stox gave him his high win rate. He did not say that it would do that for you.

Optisizer> “SD in poker tracker, what does it stand for?”

It stands for “standard deviation”. It’s too hard to give the mathematical formula here, but you can look it up in any book on statistics. I have a theoretical interest in these kinds of things. I once calculated (using an Excel spreadsheet simulation) that two identical players (I mean players with the same theoretical win rate) can earn vastly different amounts of money just due to luck. One might have twice the winnings of the other, even after two years! Interesting, isn’t it? It says a lot about the difficulties of trying to earn a living playing poker…

@ Sat Mar 01, 2008 01:31:44 AM

Thanks, I do know what Standard deviations are, I just didn’t know if that was what the abbreviation “SD” was referring to in this case.
And having looked through pokertracker again, I now found it displayed under the more detail button under the session notes tab.
Thanks again, though, JJS.

@ Sat Mar 01, 2008 07:42:44 AM

Would you care to share any more of your ‘headline’ PT stats? (e.g. just vp$ip, PFR, WTSD, etc would be great!)

Ed Miller
@ Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:34:11 PM

More questions. Keep em coming. :)

How much could you win in an AC 1/2 game? I dunno.. I haven’t played nearly enough of it to get any better than a vague estimate… maybe $20/hour? Depends on how deep everyone else buys in. 1/2 games have a tendency to be shallow sometimes.

Not sure what you think is dishonest. The entire post was truthful. I do make money from Stoxpoker, so if you sign up with them, I’ll get some money from it. I promote them because they’re good and because I make money from it. I need the first before I’d do the second… as in, I’m not going to affiliate with something that I think sucks just to make a buck. The only reason I teamed up with them is because I think they’re really good.

Yes, I really did begin with about $500 or so and started at $0.25-$0.50. It’s not my bankroll, and if I lost it all, it would have been no biggie.

The 8-10x number might be right for some people and high for others. You can certainly easily get 10x or more hands in per hour online than live. But live games tend to be a lot softer at a lot higher limits, like you noted. It’s a tradeoff, but for good players they tend to make enough per hand in the tougher online games that the volume becomes by far the deciding factor. If you were, say, a marginal winner in the Commerce $40-$80 game… or if you had skills tuned to beat that game but not the tighter online games… then you might make as much or more at Commerce. You might even win at Commerce and lose online. So when I said 8-10x, I was talking only about the potential for that being there… not the reality for everyone.

Ok, my stats. I’ve played about 30k hands total now since the beginning of the year. In that many hands, over $50NL, $100NL, and $200NL 6-max games, my stats are:


My WTSD is 21%
Won $ at SD is 49.3%

@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 01:22:54 AM


If you are still up for sharing stats, whats your VPIP/PFR% from the CO and the button? What about your folded SB/BB to steal? I am just starting out in 6-max and I’m trying to get a feel for blind defense and late position play.

short stacker
@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 01:44:09 AM

Ed, try short stacking either full ring or 6 max over a significant sample and post your results.

Ed Miller
@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 01:48:30 AM

Button: 34.6/30.8
CO: 22.5/20.9
Fold BB: 73.2
Fold SB: 84.7

I’ve just recently started calling steals a bit more often now that I’m beginning to get adjusted to the online game.

@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 07:43:12 AM


Some quick questions.

I play some of those same limits on Full Tilt. What is your screen name(if you don’t mind)?

What subscription options does Stoxpoker have? Do they have a 24-hour daypass like CardRunners has? Thanks.

@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:36:55 AM

Thanks, Ed. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 03:09:19 PM

Let me ask you guys exactly what a couple of those numbers refer to.

BB / 100 hands is that big blinds earned per 100 hands? Or is it the good-ol’ limit term big bet per 100 hands, so if it says Ed made 10 BB / hundred hands, he actually made 20 big blinds per hundred hands? I know, in pokertracker you can check a box under the preference tab to make BB/ 100 hands mean big blinds per hundred hands, but if you leave it unchecked it will mean big bets / 100 hands, and what ever that value comes out to, the number of big blinds won is twice that. So is it most common to have this box checked or unchecked? How do you keep it, Ed?

I assume Ed’s value of 3.6 is his aggression factor. Does that include or exclude the flop aggression. That is, for comparison purposes, should I leave the checkbox under the more detail button under the general info tab checked or unchecked?

All other values I get, but the two asked about seem to create some confusion, and I just try to understand what is common practice…


@ Sun Mar 02, 2008 04:50:03 PM

So an interesting question came up when I compared Ed’s showdown numbers with my recent numbers. Maybe there is room for a discussion about what might be best or if it is possible to find a sweet spot…
Ed’s numbers are: 24/21/49
My numbers are: 33/21/47
Now assuming the first number (24 and 33, respectively) means flops seen, which it really doesn’t, it means voluntarily put dollar in pot, and there really isn’t a good flops seen value in PT as far as I now…
Then Ed is winning 2.47% of all his hands at showdown (100*0.24*0.21*0.49)
While I am winning 3.26% of all my hands at showdown (100*0.33*0.21*0.47)
That is, even though I have a lower win percentage at showdown than Ed has because I play more hands, the fact that I do play more hands still lets me win more hands at showdown than Ed does.
So question is, what is better, have a high win frequency but few wins in absolute terms, or a low win frequency but more wins in absolute terms??? Can the very best solution somehow be estimated???

@ Wed Mar 05, 2008 03:55:20 PM

Ed, you ever user Poker EV? I think those would be some interesting graphs to see for those who want to gawk. :)

@ Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:34:53 AM

Optisizer – to (roughly) quote one of Ed’s books “it’s not about winning hands, it’s about winning money”. You may be winning more hands, but are you winning more money? You’re seeing more hands, so you’re putting more money in, do those extra wins compensate for this?

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