UK Poker Player Poker Strategy Articles How Poker Mentality Can Cost You

How Poker Mentality Can Cost You

Posted by David Cowell on July 26, 2010 at 11:55 GMT

Poker is a game that requires a lot of concentration as well as determination, giving a player the opportunity to know when they are just in a small glitch as the cards run dry or whether their losses account to more than poor cards.

A poker player can only be successfully if they are fully analytical of their game from the moment that they take to the tables, regardless of if the action is been played online or live.

The are a number of issues within a poker game that a player is likely to experience at some point in their gaming session and its how the player is able to identify and deal with those issues that determines if a player is able to become a successful player, there is no point spending the first 4 hours building up your funds for you to lose them within the next hour due to poor decision making and judgement.

So there are issues out there and every player, regardless of how good their poker playing ability is, should be aware of and so we are going to look over a couple of these so that we can work together to eliminate a source of loss to a players bankroll.

Note: This is a pretty long article so maybe grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy. It is well worth reading.

Playing Loose Bluffs

The first factor that can cause a player to find themselves in a hole is the playing of bad bluffs, bluffs are meant to be used to signal strength to opponents where your cards are in fact likely to be inferior to the hand held by another active player.

Playing of poor bluffs will see a player having to stake into a pot an amount of chips that they would not have considered placing due to the lack of strength that their hand represents, but with the main aim of a bluff being that you are to scare your opponents into thinking that they are holding cards that are lower in strength than yours, players tend to over bet these, offering a fear factor.

Bluffs are not something that should be used whenever you are holding a low strength hand, you should be looking to calculate your hand and weighing up the possible hands that an opponent could be representing while still active within the game, could they be betting low as they have bottom or middle pair? Are they holding pocket aces and playing them slowly in order to increase pot value?

All of these considerations need to be done within the allowed time limit, this means that you have to think fast but indepth, if you can’t draw a conclusion on whether to play the bluff, don’t.

Poor Table Selection

One of the biggest mistakes made by new and inexperienced players is that they are in such a hurry to get into poker action they don’t take a step back to consider is the table is truly right for them.

The fact is that many online poker players are bad for failing to analyse a table before sitting on it and staking their funds into the action as there are so many tables to choose from.

A current survey showed that over 70% of online poker players headed to a poker table after only considering one or less factors, the most popular being that they are looking at the average size of the pots that have been played out so far, well that’s all down to the greed factor that possesses so many failing poker players.

The correct procedure would be to look at all of the stats that the online poker rooms offer you, see how many hands are being played per hour, what’s the size of the average pot as well as having a look at the players who are sat at the table with a deep stack.

Depending on the table limits, checking the stacks of players who are already in the action tends to offer a good insight into the level at which they play, think about a new player… If they are new to the game they aren’t about to sit at a $1/$2 table with a stack of $500 if they are new to the game are they?

Find the right table for you, with the right level of players and even if your not quite up to the standard of Phil Ivey, your still set to be able to make a profit from your session, unless your heart rules your head in your decisions.

Poor Game Selection

Another of the popular mistakes that players make on the online poker scene, heading to a real money table to try their hands at a new game.

Generally players who do this are set to lose the stake that they enter the action with due to the number of players who have been playing the game for a large period of time, perfecting their play as they go.

If you are looking to learn a new variant of poker or just want to try your hand at your weaker game, head to the play money tables.

Ok you may feel that you aren’t about to make any money from this move but look at it on the flip side, your not about to lose any either.

Its strongly advised that you stick to the games that you are comfortable with if you are looking to stake funds in your play, failure to comply with that advice could well see you losing the money that you have just earned in your previous session.

Playing Without Confidence

The biggest advantage that a poker player can carry into any poker game is confidence, there is a feeling that is given off within live poker situations where players are able to pick up on your body language, show them poker strength and they will accredit it to you, well until they have seen you play a few hands.

There are so many players on the Internet that are looking to make a quick cash, carrying say $50 onto a table and seeing a hand raise their bankroll by over double, then suddenly hitting the stand up or leave table button.

Not only is this considered to be a method of poker called hit and run but it will knock a players game considerably.

How you ask. I mean he has just profited from the hand, so how can that be a negative thing?

Playing hit and run poker is something that is seen everyday on so many poker sites, players look to wait for a good hand, play it aggressively while still keeping other players active in order to increase the pot value.

This leads to quick short term gains but during the time that you are waiting for the hand that you are about to make your assault on the game with, you are still losing small amounts of money – through blinds and antes.

The fact is that in order to become a successful poker player, you have to be able to make the less desirable hands pay off for you too, you could be sitting through 600 hands in order to wait for those pocket aces that everyone wants to see as a starting hand but consider the amount of money that you have been losing while you have been waiting:

Say there are 6 players at the table and you have sat at a $1/$2 table, if you are waiting for 600 hands to get your hands on the aces then you have already sat through 100 big blinds, amounting to $200.

The losses don’t stop their as there isn’t only the big blind to consider, you have the small blinds to think about too, so if you have sat through 100 big blinds then you are likely to have seen 100 small blinds pass through your stack too, increasing your losses before you have even played a hand to $300 total.

Are you sure that you are willing to watch $300 leave your funds before you even play one hand now?

Over Staying your Poker Session Time

There is always a point where a poker player should consider leaving the tables for the day or night as there is always one thing for sure, there is no poker player who is able to play their poker ‘A Game’ for 24 hours a day, so there will be times that your concentration is slipping and so eventually so will your decision making and more importantly your bankroll.

If you find that your losing the concentration that is required to analyse the play as it happens in front of you then its time for you to move away, this could be for the rest of the day in order for you to recover from your session or as little as a toilet break, each player is different.

If you find that you are losing more hands due to poor decision making then its time to think about heading the the rail in a live poker situation or leaving the table if you are playing online.

Failure to recognise when your poker game is slipping is one of the biggest causes of poker players losing their bankroll, it happens to the professionals too remember, difference is that they are able to afford a few thousand here and there, where as that sort of money is of great importance to a large percentage of players.

Remember the phrase ‘When in doubt, pull out’ and apply it to the times that you are feeling the strain of the action and you will see a steady slowing of losses as you are no longer playing the game without your mentality backing you.

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