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What's a Good Rate of Return for Online Cash Games?

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  • What's a Good Rate of Return for Online Cash Games?

    I've decided to focus on cash games for a while when playing online. What's a good rate of return? And what stakes cash game online on say, ACR, would be equivalent to a 2/5 live game at the casino? I played $.25/$.50 tonight for 4 hrs. My win rate was $12.50 per/hr. Is that respectable? Would $.50/$1.00 or perhaps $1.00/$2.00 online be more comparable to a 2/5 casino live game?

  • #2
    It depends on a lot of things. In some casinos 2/5 is extremely soft---essentially like 1/2---because the casino spreads higher stakes where good players go. In my former home casino, though, there was basically only 1/2 and 2/5, so 2/5 was where the sharks played.

    But either way, 1/2 online is way tougher than 2/5 live. A good rule of thumb many people use is to just think of cents online like dollars live. So 1/2 live is .01/.02 online, etc. Even that's not correct since online players are still generally better than live, because nobody goes online to gamble between sessions of blackjack and slots like tourists do in the casino.

    I started out a few months ago playing .25/.50 and 1/2 thinking it was roughly equivalent and thinking the stakes were just too low for me down at the micros. But then I realized (after my friends corrected me) that I'm not playing online to make money so much as I'm doing it to practice for live play (and sure, to grind up until I can play those higher stakes). And I realized the players at those levels are extremely good.

    You also can't really figure out your win rate based on one 4-hour session. Most people also talk in terms of BBs per 100 hands rather than $/hr. 25 BBs per hour is definitely quite good, but that's probably not a sustainable rate of return.

    Bankroll management is also extremely important. If you only have $100 dedicated to online poker, then you are not bankrolled to play above micro-stakes. And even if you're a very good live player, you still should probably start at micro stakes to get used to playing online, used to using a HUD (use a HUD), multi-tabling if that's your jam, etc.

    If you're just starting out, I recommend playing the lowest stake you can, then moving up when you get to a certain amount in your cash game bankroll, say 50 buy-ins at the stake you're playing. So play .01/.02 until you have $100 (the buy-in is $2 right?), then .02/.05 until you have $250, etc. If you're experienced, you can maybe start at .05/.10 but I wouldn't do .25/.50 unless (1) you're quite good already and (2) you have a bankroll of at least $1500 for online cash games.
    Last edited by kjholt; 03-15-2018, 11:31 AM.


    • #3
      Good stuff. Thanks for the insight. I play at Mohegan Sun mostly; the highest they go during the week is usually 2/5 at two tables - that's where all the regs play everyday. The regs move to the 5/10 tables on the weekends.

      I played $.10/$.25 tonight online for three hours. It didn't seem all that much different, but my win rate was 35 BB per/hr, a little better than yesterday playing $.25/$.50, but like you said, two sessions likely doesn't mean much. I should probably see how many hands I played tonight vs last night.

      I guess I'm going to have to get an HUD if I want to move up in stakes though; I thought they were much more expensive than $80.

      I also think I probably need to spend more time studying away from the table as well.
      Last edited by Mikiethebull; 03-15-2018, 11:12 PM.


      • #4
        Definitely, luckily the trackers help with studying! And yeah theyre not too expensive and have a long trial which is really nice if you make a point to try out the features and compare which works best for you.

        btw, I've played at Foxwoods once, is Mohegan Sun better? (Assume you mean the CT one not Philly).


        • #5
          I believe 10bb/100 is considered a solid win rate online. It can take 100k hands or more before you can start ruling out variance and even then you are sure to hit some downswings. The rule of thumb I've heard a few times is that online is comparable to 10x live. So playing 1/2 online would be equivilant to 10/20 live. I play .05/.10 online and there's a good mix of tag/lag regs and fish. I find this level satisfying to play and you really need to understand your hud stats and play exploitatively against the different opponenents by regularly getting out of line against the fish and playing more balanced against the regs.


          • #6
            I have often heard people say that there are hard caps such as 10bb/100 hands but I think it really depends on the difference between how many mistakes your opponents make and how many you make. Minus rake of course. If the spread in EV between your average line and your opponents average line is insanely high I think you can make upwards of 20bb/100 hands over 100k+ hands. If you get into a bad online poker club full of loose players I think a much higher winrate is sustainable.


            • #7
              Never underestimate the importance of site selection and table selection online.

              I wouldn't be surprised if pretty much every player who moved from pokerstars to sky poker would be able to add on at least 3bb to their 100bb rate. Even at the same stakes the quality of players really varies that much between sites.


              • #8
                Originally posted by LondonImp View Post
                Never underestimate the importance of site selection and table selection online.
                Definitely agree with this and I would add not to forget about seat selection. All the same guidlines for live poker apply like stitting to left of big stacks, sitting at tables with action and playing during the times of day that are softest. Also make sure you're color coding regs, fish, calling stations etc.. to make table selection easier