Most novice low-stakes poker players at some stage in their studies learn about the benchmark earn rate of one big bet per hour. However if you gain enough experience then hopefully you will come to realize and then accept that this is nothing but a number and very close to being meaningless. There are many players in limit hold’em who make far more than that and some who make less. As a rule, online play despite being tougher on the whole than live play affords players the opportunity to make many more big blinds per hour simply because players have the option to play more hours and see more hands.
When you see earn rates from other players then what can you make of this?
Well actually very little to be quite frank because no two players can ever replicate the same conditions. No two players would ever face the same line up or have the same skill sets. You could get two different players who basically played the same but one player was slightly more aggressive and tried a successful check-raise bluff once per hour who could be making 2bb/hour while an almost similar opponent was making only 1.5bb/hour.
On the surface it looks like that the first player is superior to the other if both these earn rates have been taken over sample sizes of 100k hands or more. But yet this is down to just one play per hour that has made the difference. It is often the less talked about skills in limit hold’em that construct the earn rate. I once knew a player who lost during the first thirty minutes almost every time that he played online. The root of this problem was that he wasn’t mentally prepared before he sat down to play poker which can be a common problem with online players as they are sitting in their own homes.
Mental preparation is a key part of your earn rate just as is game selection
But yet how many players simply cannot be bothered to game select and jump into the first game that comes along? A frightening number of lower stakes players do this and even middle stakes players and I have seen this more times than I can care to remember. So my advice is to forget all about the one big bet per hour figure as it is almost mythical. Do not feel a failure if you fail to reach it or superior if you earn more than that.
Remember that your sample size may be warping your earn rate substantially and this needs to be taken into effect. As a novice then you should be thinking less about earn rates and more about making good sound poker decisions. If you can do that then the earn rate should take care of itself and it will be what it will be. Do not be guided by mythical earn rates as that could put you under unnecessary pressure.