If you surf the poker forums on the Internet, you'll read plenty of postings from so-called professional online players. I have no doubt that some truly make a living this way, while others have a brief good run and think they are suddenly the cream of the crop.
I decided to test my own skills at online live action recently. I've always played mostly tournaments on the 'net, only occasionally venturing into ring games. I would always rather play those types of games at the local cardroom or casino, prefering the company of real, live people rather than avatars on a computer screen. But I was curious how well I could do if I kept track of my time and profit. If I do decide to take a year off from work on a book writing expedition around the country, I figure that being able to win consistently at the online game could finance my trips and would help pass the time when I am not traveling or need a break from writing.
So I loaded up my account on Poker Stars and decided on the $3-$6 shorthanded tables (six players maximum.) I chose this limit because with a shorthanded game, the swings can be great and I want to stay comfortable within the bankroll I set out with. Also, I believe the limit is a happy medium for me because the lower the limit, the worse the play, but also the less one can profit per hour. The higher the limit, the more one can potentially make, but the better the overall play. I also prefer shorthanded play because I've had lots of practice at it whereas I believe many players only know how to accurately play in a full ring game. I used to play lots of heads up tournaments at Ultimate Bet, with a 62 percent win rate.
So far, my experiment has been a resounding success. Every time I play I log the time in, time out, session profit and cumulative profit. So I keep my stats up to the minute. Last week I completed my first 40 hours of play (after about a month at it) and I averaged $32 and change an hour profit. The first "week" of ring game play exceeded my wildest expectations, but I realize these are short-term results. The second week has started out with a bang. After about 45 hours of total play, my win rate is now $38 an hour. We will see where that per hour profit stands after several "weeks" of play.