Those who want to make more and more profits in online poker obviously have to move up the stakes. Of course, the smart thing to do is to wait until you’ve officially conquered a certain limit before moving on towards the next. That being said, many online poker players wonder when they’ve officially beaten a cash game limit.
After all, there is no set number of poker hands that will tell you when you’re a truly successful player at certain stakes. Some people say 5k hands or more, some people say you won’t know until you’ve played 100k hands or more. The reason why it’s so difficult to pinpoint an amount is because there’s so much variance involved with playing internet poker.
The reality is that you can never be absolutely sure about your win rate until you’ve played at least several hundred thousand poker hands at one limit. But you can take a look at your win rate vs. the amount of hands played to come up with a reasonable idea.
For example, let’s say that you’re playing at the $0.01/$0.02 stakes, and you are winning 2bb/per hour after 20,000 hands. Now this isn’t too bad for a recreational grinder who learns a little poker strategy on the side. However, if you truly want to be a winning player who makes money from the game, a win rate of 2bb ($0.04 total) at the smallest online poker stakes possible isn’t the greatest. Furthermore, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that you’ll crush the $0.02/$0.04 stakes and up.
So it’s also important to take into account the level of competition you’re facing along with win rate and hands played. For instance, if you were winning 2bb at the $1/$2 stakes after 20k hands, this might be cause for moving up since win rates are smaller as you advance.
In answer to the original question of how you truly tell when you’ve beaten certain stakes, it’s important to look at the hands played first, then win rate and competition secondly. Provided your win rate is good enough, 15k-20k hands should be enough to determine your success rate for a given limit.