How to Stop Losing in Poker

Posted by Bradley, November 18, 2012

Consider this: You’ve been playing poker for some time but you’re not afraid to admit that there’s room to improve your game. You’ve read a few poker books, studied up on poker strategy, and you’ve followed the most informative poker tips. Nonetheless, you find yourself falling behind in the game. Face it - you’re losing money, and you can’t afford to continue playing this way.

Can you attribute all your poker losses to variance? Is chance interfering with your attempts to play a strategic game of poker? You can’t stop asking - how can I win in poker? Turn that question around and it is just as pertinent - how do I stop losing in poker?

Before you attribute your recent losing streak to bad luck, take into consideration that all poker players lose at times. Your goal is to limit your losses as part of a long-term strategy. You must become a winning poker player.

We’ve organized a list of important tips to help you stop losing in poker.

Stop losing in poker

Tips to Help You Stop Losing in Poker


1. Don’t Play at Stakes You Can’t Afford.

There is a wide range of cash games and tournaments available but you need to start by thinking small. Only join the lower stakes tables that your poker bankroll can afford. Don't assume that you are capable of playing the higher stakes tables, because that's where you increase your chances of losing very quickly. If you've previously lost money at a certain stakes table, go down a notch. Regain your momentum and rebuild your bankroll at a table where you can afford to play. Making money at poker should be your long term goal. Don't risk your cash at tables beyond your financial abilities.


2. Know the Odds and the Outs.

If you don't know what odds and outs are, you should be wary of risking your money in poker. Outs are the cards remaining in the deck that will help you improve your hand. And odds are the likelihood that you will get the cards you need. In addition to the calculated odds (which don't guarantee that you'll win), you also need to consider the size of the pot and your opponents. Poker is a very mathematical game, and while you don't have to be a math whiz to win, you do need to know the fundamentals and how to relate to your cards in order to stay clear of losing.


3. Watch Your Opponents Play.

Before you join a table, whether it's online or offline, you should take the time to observe your opponents. Their actions and tells and gameplay should be checked before you take your seat. For example, is there anyone at the table going all-in on every single hand? If so, you could end up losing your chips very quickly.


4. Use Proper Bankroll Management.

The most important rule in bankroll management is never risk playing for more money than you can afford to lose. Every player loses at one time or another. You must consider the financial implications of your game. Could losing everything you brought to the table get you into financial trouble? If the answer is yes, step back immediately! You should only join tables and tournaments with a small percentage of your bankroll. A good guide for a recreational player would be not to risk more than 10% of your bankroll at once.

5. Understand the Importance of Position.

We can't stress this tip enough. Your position at the poker table with regards to the blinds is a key factor in how you play the hand. If you make your bets according to your position, you'll have a better chance of winning the hand. In some cases, having excellent position is more important than having excellent cards. Knowing how to take advantage of your position can help you win in poker.


6. Play Only When You’re Fit to Play.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing online or at a cash game in your living room - our advice is still the same. Only play poker when you’re mentally and physically ready for the game. You shouldn’t drive when you’re drunk and the same applies to poker. If you’re tired, you won’t play your best. It’s better to call it a night and return to the game when your batteries have been recharged.


7. Stop Before You Go Broke.

When you join a poker table, set yourself a budget. Don't replenish your stack with a purchase of additional chips just because one of your hands busted. Instead of endangering yourself with the possibility that you will lose even more money, consider taking a break instead. Come back to the table after a good night's sleep, when you’ll be fit to play strategically and not emotionally.


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