Thursday, September 3, 2009

The 10 Deadliest Poker Sins

Note: See the 9th Deadliest Poker Sin to Understand the Reason for this Movie Clip

The 10 Deadliest Poker Sins

1. Playing with money you can't afford to lose.

The reality is that the current economic situation has hurt everyone. Don't start risking money you can't afford to lose in hopes of winning a big tournament. And don't start bleeding out money in a series of small games. If you can't play with real money, stick to free rolls or points.

2. Keep playing poker even though you keep losing.

Reality check: 95% of players lose money playing poker. Enough said.

3. Think you know it all when it comes to poker.

This is the attitude I run into all the time online. Players abuse other players as if they are poker pros. The fact is that if you think you don't need to learn more about the game, you will certainly lose. The only poker player who abuses other players and still wins is Phil Hellmuth. The rest of them are losers.

4. You know you don't know it all when it comes to poker, but you do nothing to improve your game except play more poker.

I have heard players proudly state something like, "I never read a book, an article or did anything to improve my game." Good grief. That guy has just announced he to everyone in earshot that he is a sucker. It's truly sad. They are the railbirds of tomorrow. There is not one pro player that does not work at their game away from the poker table. Not a single one.

5. You don't track your results and your learning after each time you play.

It is critical to write down what you learn after playing not just one time, but every time you play. Win or lose. You will get better because you will think about your game and how you can improve. Writing down the results may even open your eyes about which games you are best and which ones you are not so good. You will even find out how much money you are winning or losing.

6. Expect to beat the luck in a poker tournament.

I don't care if you make the right play 100% of the time in a poker tournament. That is not a guarantee you are going to win. Heck, your play may have tricked that player to move all-in with a 7-2 offsuit against your pocket Aces on the very first hand. Great play! Oh, that is until the flop comes 7-6-2 and you get no help. 18% of the time your Aces will get busted by the worst hand in poker. (Correction--that is 12% of the time.)

How often have you watched the top pros at the WSOP declare "I know I have you beat" and move all-in on an opponent. The opponent calls. The pro has a small pocket pair, and his opponent has pocket Queens. See, the pro is wrong! How bad is this pro?!

Well, he is a genius, because he hit a set on the flop and wins a huge pot by making the wrong play at the right time. This is poker. Luck is a big part of the game.

7. You play predictable poker.

Beginner's are told to play the "right way" when it comes to learning the game. This is such bad advice because they become predictable and so easy to beat. Even if you are just starting out in poker, recognize what is considered the right way to play a hand in a particular situation. That is important to know. But it does not mean you must make that play now.

Ask yourself, in this particular hand, given what I know about my opponents, my chip stack, the blinds, the table image, what my opponent is thinking, etc., what is the best play in order for me to win the most chips. If it means limping with pocket Aces, then limp with pocket Aces.

8. You go on tilt.

Everyone experiences a bad beat. If you only get it all-in with the best hand, you will lose to someone sucking out on you with some stupid runner-runner. If you play online poker, you will feel that pain more often than is normal. It's part of the live game and it's integral to the online game. Get used to it.

Most importantly, don't let that bad beat affect your play on the following hands. If you think it will, just walk away from the table. You are on tilt. Come back when you have put those negative feelings behind.

9. You take losing a pot to a player personally and seek revenge.

If I could hear what players are thinking after losing a big hand, I believe I sometimes would hear these thoughts, "That guy sucked out on me and won that big pot. What a lucky sob. I'm not going to get angry or go on tilt. I'm just going to take him down!" Don't target other players because it will just take your eye off the ball--which is to have a winning session.

It was the 11th Commandment handed down to Moses: Thou shalt not seek revenge at the player who beat you in a hand of poker.

(FYI: The 12th-15th Commandments were also about poker but Moses dropped them on the way down from the mountain. I know this to be true because I saw it in a movie.)

10. You don't consciously and consistently work at improving your poker game.

People like to play and not work. Poker allows you to play poker and have a shot at winning money. That's nice, but unless you don't care about your money, why aren't you putting the effort in to get better?

I believe 80% of poker players think they are in the top 20%. It's not possible, of course. 95% of poker players lose money.

The good news is that just because you are a losing player today, does not mean you can not turn into a winning player. You must work at it--read, watch, converse with other players, etc--and you have to play as well--to gain actual experience. The more work you put into it and the more experience you get, the better your results.


KO's TV critic blog & other stuff no one will read said...

from poker stove
AA 86.93%
72 12.65%
tie 0.21%

Mitchell said...

You are correct. That heads-up comparison is even in my book...I recalled a higher percentage.

Frankly, the point is the same. Your pocket Aces will lost to the worst hand in poker over 12% of the time.


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