7 Deadly Sins of Poker
There are seven deadly sins of poker. Commit them at your peril. Here they are.
Much depends on your ability to wait for those situations that you can turn into profitable situations. These cannot be forced. Nor can they be anticipated to occur with a certain frequency. Events, players, and cards must be aligned correctly for you to make your profitable moves.
The impatient player is given to aggressive betting or loose calling because he is tired of waiting. This imperils his bankroll. Wait as long as it takes for a situation to arise that you deem to be profitable – not that you want to be profitable.
Profit at the poker table is the the difference between your correct decisions and your opponents’ mistakes. Both of these require your attention. If you are not attentive to the cards at hand, the play of your opponents, and your image in their mind, you will not be able to play each hand correctly. Similarly, if you aren’t paying proper attention to your opponents, you will not be able to notice and thereby exploit their mistakes.
The tight, smug jerk in the three seat made another snide remark about how poorly you played your hand. Now you have a pair of sevens. He raises from late position. Normally you’d fold. But you’ll show him. “All in” you declare. He turns over Jacks. Good bye stack.
Poker is a thinking person’s game. If your brain can’t overrule your gut you’re toast.
You must be able to force your opponents to make mistakes. If you sit back and wait for others to set the pace, following along behind their lead, you’ll be losing many opportunities for making money. And money not earned due to inaction is as bad as money lost due to incorrect action. The passive player is, in the long run, the losing player because he follows the flow of action set by others – neither saving money on his bad hands by folding nor making money with his strong hands by raising or betting.
Those who can be bullied into folding, even when they hold strong cards, for fear that their opponent might win, are doomed to failure at the poker table. If you are afraid to risk money on the outcome of uncertain events, even if you have an advantage, then you should not be playing poker. Players who fold in the face of any aggression from their opponents – in essence running away from fights that they have the advantage in, will lose their stack even more certainly than those who are reckless. Poker is a game of probability, not certainty. Unless you are willing to take chances, and withstand the pressure of those who are so willing, you will not be able to win in the long run.
Unbridled aggression that flies in the face of reason will eventually cost you your stack. While you may be able intimidate thoughtful players into folding with hands stronger than yours initially, observant and patient players will eventually recognize this trait in you and wait until they have a certain advantage. Your wildness will prevent you from recognizing those situations – as you throw caution to the wind and sabotage your stack.
You must know enough about the odds, the play of your opponents, how your hand is likely or unlikely to improve as the hand progresses, and your image as a player in the minds of your opponents to make those correct decisions that will extract the most profit form your winning hands and lose the least when you lose a hand. Knowledge, in poker, is power. If you lack sufficient information then you do not have the basic tools for making the correct decisions.