You have heard a lot about poker and its popularity. You regularly watch various famous poker tournaments on TV. You have also read up a few bestselling books on poker, and you brush up your knowledge regularly by browsing through the “poker tips” sites. You took it up with a lot of enthusiasm; yet you lose… endlessly!
After endless rounds of losses, you are now deeply frustrated.
Hold on before you lose hope. This is a very familiar picture, and there are plenty of things you can do to improve your game.
Poker is not a very easy game, it is certainly not child’s play and plenty of people suck at poker, like you.
Why do people lose?
The very first thing you need to do to stop your poker losses is to change yourself. Unless you change yourself from what you are now into what you want yourself to be six months from now, you won’t improve your game.
However, before we move on to that, let us look into some of the commonest reasons behind losing at poker.
- You don’t know how to play it right! People give a whole bunch of reasons such as bad luck, opponents cheating, rigged games, or even blame the dealer for their misfortune where in reality, the biggest reason for their loss is that they don’t really know how to play well in a number of situations.
- When a player is wealthy and does not have to worry about money matters, he may not care much about losing
Professional, successful poker players are extremely disciplined. When this discipline is missing from a player’s life, he starts losing at poker as he does not follow any plans.
- Sometimes, emotional fools lose a lot at poker. When a player’s actions are dictated by his emotions, instead of by reason, he is bound to lose.
- There are many players who have taken up poker to infuse some action into their otherwise boring lives; they play poker as it affords so much excitement and fun. These people also don’t care much about losing.
- Distraction is the next big cause I wish to highlight. When you are doing other stuff while playing poker, your concentration is divided and you commit mistakes which make you lose. This is especially a problem when playing online in the comfort of your home.
- However, I feel the number one cause behind losing at poker is alcohol. How can you expect to win a game of reason and wits when your senses are totally blurred by alcohol and you are inebriated?
It is possible to rectify all of these problems except wealth. Stinking rich fellows hardly ever become winning poker players because they never feel the sting while losing money. Rumor has it that Guy Laliberte – a billionaire – has lost close to $18 million till 2008, but has it changed anything about his lifestyle? Heck, people in his position might even see losing a few millions at poker as a boost to their glamor quotient.
How to minimize poker losses and stop being a loser?
Following are some ways in which you can minimize your poker losses and stop being a loser.
Using poker tracking software (e.g. Hold’em Manager) can help you plug your losses as these applications highlight the potential leaks which make your game suffer. They also allow you to review your statistics and monitor them. If you choose to study optimal play, you will be able to bring about the required adaptations to your poker game.
Most poker gurus will advise consistent losers to play ABC poker – the tight aggressive style of poker. When you are playing tight, you become extremely selective about the hands you choose to play. The aggressive style demands you to raise or bet rather than call. You will find a summary of this style through the VPIP/PFR/AG statistics.
Poker leaks are the culprits behind many poker losses. You should educate yourself about the top and most common poker leaks. You will find a lot of good websites on this topic on the Internet. Your next task is to make sure that these leaks don’t occur in your case. If your game is free of leaks, you will stop losing money at poker.
When a player calls too much and too frequently, he stands to lose money at poker. Your VPIP should be between 20% and 10% if you are playing full ring no limit Texas Hold’em cash games. However, when the VPIP reaches 50%, you will no longer be able to profit. To succeed in this case, you need to start out with stronger starting hands in a stringent manner.
The biggest reason behind poker losses is tilt. If you are on a long losing streak, you should continuously remind yourself that tilt is your nemesis and you should stay away from it.
When you are playing Texas Hold’em poker, your big blind should be 1/3000 or 1/5000th part of your bankroll. Suppose you possess $5k. Your playing limit should be 50 cents/$1 NLHE. If you play $1/$2, you will be risking your whole bankroll.
When you play within limits and still lose, you have the option of moving down to a lower limit. This way you can again reduce your losses. And if you succeed at the lower limit, you have the option of moving up to the full limit again. The key to minimizing poker losses is to learn how to move up and down with the synchronized increase and decrease in your poker bankroll.
That brings us to the topic of bankroll management. The most basic thing here is to add only that part of your money to your bankroll, which you will not use for anything else other than poker. This exclusivity helps you keep your personal life and finances completely free from the rise and falls of your professional poker career. The next thing to do is to ensure that you play within the bankroll limits. It also means ensuring you’re able to play enough number of games by choosing the right bet sizes.
I hate to tell you, but there isn’t any magic pill that will make you a winner. Reading up and being enthusiastic about poker are great things, but they don’t make successful careers on their own. Implement everything your learn and refine your strategy. Learn to read others as well as they are able to read you. Play a lot but keep within your means. Eventually, you’ll stop losing.