Over the last few years playing internet poker, I've discovered just about every way to lose money. Fortunately, I have learned a few lessons that helped me stop losing and start winning.
I never made thousands of dollars, but I made enough to put into the bank and play poker for free for the next few months. I'm referring to Pokerstars' micro level now between $1 and $3 dollars. I seldom play above that amount.
Here are my top ten "secrets" for playing losing poker:
- Robotic Playing: Basically, this is playing poker too fast. Going through the same moves (folds, calls and raises) without really thinking about them. Each time you play, you have to determine whether you're winning or losing. If you're out-kicked in a hand, you have to determine that too.
- Going On Tilt: Most of the time, I see this when a player makes many "rebuys" in a game where the blinds and stacks keep going up. A $1 game can end up as a $12 game quickly. Sometimes, I'll raise or call a big stack, because I can't believe a player is continuing to get great hands. Also "going on tilt" is playing too many mediocre hands in bad positions.
- Playing Too Many Games At Once: Playing one game is boring, but playing two keeps me alert and prepared for anything. Playing three or four games is spreading my attention too thin which opens up the door to mistakes.
- Having No System Of Money Management: Sometimes, I budget myself for today's games and sometimes I don't. When I don't, I spend too much and regret it later. My basic system is to establish my lost or game limit for the day and play accordingly.
- Playing When Tired, Fatigued Or Not That Interested. This pretty well explains itself. When I play too much or late at night, my sharpness seems to disappear and I lose.
- Holding Onto Losing Hands: Sometimes my big pocket-pair like AA or KK gets busted during the flop, turn or river. I find it hard to eat crow and often wind up with a big lost. The same goes with KQ or QJ when they are out kicked by AK or AQ. Also, one high pair against three of a kind or two pair is a losing situation. Either he's got you or you got him. Sometimes, you have to use your intuition for answers.
- Becoming A Victim Of Bad Beats and Bad Luck: There are many players who complain about the number of bad beats they get with online poker. It seems they develop a defeatist mentally to the game and start thinking that it's rigged. Then they start playing with a little black cloud over their heads which leads to negative expectations. You can't play good poker with that state of mind. Think like a pro and act like a pro.
- Don't Continue To Improve Your Game: You can learn much from an experienced pro like Daniel Negreanu on YouTube.
- Don't Learn From Your Mistakes: In life as well as poker, you become a better player/human by realizing where you've been going wrong and correcting it. Did you fail to maximize a profit from a good hand in an ideal situation? Did you fail to minimize a lost in a hand that turned bad? Are you aware of making any mistakes in life and poker?
- Being Controlled By Negative Emotions Like Fear, Anger, Depression And Greed. Poker should be fun when you win a little and don't lose too much. Remember Kenny Rogers' song "The Gambler". "Somewhere in the darkness, the gambler broke even, but he gave to me an ace I could keep".