The thing about poker is that if you’re really good (or can at least get away with pretending you’re good), you look seriously badass. On the flipside of things, sucking at poker sucks…big time. And for two very good reasons too – one being that you look a bit of a pleb in front of your friends, the other being that you are doomed to lose any money you dare put on the line.
Regardless of whether you prefer to play poker in real life or online, being habitually terrible really is frustrating in the extreme. You try your hardest, you think you make all the right moves and you do your very best to keep tabs on things financially. Nevertheless, each and every time you log off or head for the exit, both your wallet and your ego have taken a severe pounding.
Which begs the question – why? Why is it that you (of all people) seem to be well and truly hopeless, despite the fact that you are really trying to improve and believe you’re making all the right moves?
Well, the simple answer is given the fact that you still suck, you are clearly not making the right moves at all. Quite to the contrary in fact, this is pretty much all the evidence you need to confirm that you are getting something massively wrong. On the plus side, work out exactly what it is you are getting wrong and you have yourself a blueprint for much-needed improvement.
So at the risk of pointing out the obvious in some cases, here’s a quick rundown of just a few possible reasons why you still comprehensively suck at poker:
1 – You Ignore Basic Strategy
First and foremost, all the overcomplicated strategies and techniques in the world will come to nothing if you haven’t already mastered and are willing to play in accordance with basic strategy. What does basic strategy mean? Quite simply, it means folding when you have a rubbish hand and betting when you have a good hand – that’s it! Of course, it also extends to playing in accordance with the playing styles of your opponents, but the basics of poker are actually quite simple – hold or fold in accordance with the cards dealt.
2 – You’re Afraid to Fold
One of the most important tips most experts and professionals swear by is that of being sure to get out of the habit of playing way too many hands. You only need to take part in an online event and watch how the veterans handle things to see exactly how this works. Rather than playing absolutely any hand that has even a slight chance of winning, they will happily fold, fold and fold again until they are happy with the cards they are dealt. Of course, continually folding throughout the entire game will make it extremely difficult for you to win, but it will at the same time minimise your potential losses.
3 – You’re Afraid to Raise
One rule of thumb that is generally worth following (though by no means guaranteed) is that if you are the first to enter the pot, you should raise more often than not. The reason being that if you are the first to enter the pot and you choose to call, you could be giving your opponents every sign that you are holding onto a hand you have absolutely no confidence in. If you call, your opponents are therefore more likely to raise and bully you out. And if they don’t, you are still encouraging your fellow players to join the hand, which in turn increases the likelihood of the crap hand you’ve been dealt being rendered worthless. Habitually calling when being the first to enter the pot is a bad habit to break.
4 – You Aren’t Doing Your Homework
You know how there are literally hundreds of thousands of poker books, guides and informational resources available? Well, here’s a shocker – they exist for a reason! The simple fact of the matter is that if you want to improve your poker prowess and step out of suck-ville, you need to be prepared to make the effort. And there are so many ways you can do this that don’t necessarily have to be super-intensive or expensive, such as:
- Get online and get yourself involved in discussion groups and forums
- Play online as much as possible with small stakes if necessary
- Ask one of your friends or peers to coach you
- Buy or download a book
- Watch professional poker games and tournaments
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
5 – You Practice with Fake Money
If you intend to play for real money, you might instinctively believe that practicing with play money is a good idea. It’s a subject that splits punters right down the middle, but the vast majority of experts agree that practicing with play money has the potential to be counterproductive. Why? Quite simply because when you play with fake money, there is absolutely nothing on the line and you therefore cannot and will not make the same decisions you would, if there were real cash on the line.
6 – You Think Poker Sites Are Ripping You Off
If you play with a reputable online poker room and you genuinely believe that the site itself is ripping you off, this represents nothing less than 100% confirmation of the fact that you are simply terrible at poker. If the site you choose is licensed, registered, regulated and routinely tested to ensure legitimate operations, you can rest assured that there is literally zero cheating going on. All you’re doing is shifting the blame, which is hardly productive.
7 – You Shift Focus
Last but not least, if you really want to master the art of poker, you need to make poker your game. Not one of the many games you drift between on a random basis, but the game you focus primarily or perhaps even exclusively on. You know the old saying about ‘jack of all trades, master of none’? Well, it really couldn’t be more relevant here – give poker your undivided time and attention and chances are your period of suckiness will be temporary.
You might also find the following articles interesting:
- Fast Fold Poker – Should You, Or Shouldn’t You?
- How to Become a Better Poker Player – Nine Essential Tips
- Seven Insane Poker Myths Not To Buy Into…Ever!