In poker, your mind is going to be your greatest weapon. However, it could also lead you to making decisions you should never be making. Sometimes it could lead you completely in the wrong direction which should be avoided at all costs!
Here are five of those bankroll depleting thoughts. We’ll count them down from some hand-specific examples of self-sabotage to bigger, broader blunders caused by bad thinking:-
1. Not Wanting To Fold
Imagine that you’re playing ₹1/₹2 No Limit Texas Hold’em for about 30 minutes. You’ve barely played any hands so far, mostly folding preflop. You have around ₹200 left in your stack. You wake up with K♠️T♦️ in middle position. You feel that you have to play this one so that you don’t cement your position as a tight player for when you hit a big hand and don’t get any value in this loose-passive game.
Even though this isn’t a particularly strong/standard starting hand in poker, you decide to make it ₹12 either way. Surprisingly, even though your image is that you’re very nitty/tight, the guy on the button still decides to raise and makes it ₹30 and the action is folded back around to you.
Your immediate impulse is to fold, recognizing that based on your image the button probably is playing a range that could easily have your hand dominated (AxAx through TxTx, AKo, AQo, KQo). Plus, he also has position on you.
You don’t want to seem like a wimp and fold because you’re the one who initiated the action, so you decide to call. The thought that you “can’t” fold is wrong — very wrong — because you allowed your ego to trump your better judgment. You need to recognize that you can fold, even if you initiated an action and save you money for a better spot next hand!
2. Hoping That The Other Guy Is Bluffing
Bluffing is an important part of the game. You can win a lot of money by calling down players who are trying to represent something they do not have. However, in small stakes games and in public poker rooms, it is all too often that players are usually raising their strong hands and not bluffing.
Even so, most players are not able to convince themselves otherwise and make the fold. True, there are times when your opponent is bluffing and making the call is the right play. But guard against the seductive thought that your opponent may be bluffing, just so you can have an excuse to call someone down when you really know you should fold.
3. Necessity to Bet
Playing aggressive at the table is a good thing. But sometimes, a lot of new players feel that they HAVE to bet in certain situations.
Let’s look at this with the help of an example,
You’re Under-The-Gun in a loose-passive game. Blinds are 1/₹2 No Limit Texas Hold’em. You have 4♠️4♦️ and limp in hoping that nobody raises too big and you can “set mine”.
Fortunately for you, three other players call behind you as well, the small blind completes and the big blind checks. The flop misses your pair of fours completely, coming 9♣️ 5♠️ 2 ♦️. The blinds check.
You think that you have to maintain your reputation as an aggressive player even though you have 3rd pair. So you decide to bet ₹12 and a fairly loose player calls from the button.
An A♠️ comes on the turn. Now you think that you must bet again so your opponent doesn’t try to run you off the hand if you check, so you bet ₹30. Your loose opponent calls you once again. Finally, when the 9♦️ hits on the river, you figure you must show strength again in order to win and so you shove — and lose to a smiling guy calling you with a weak ace.
The problem was not the fact that you chose to bluff against a relatively loose player, but it was the fact that you didn’t have to do what you did. You did not have to bet there.
You probably should have checked and folded to a bet. But the thought that you needed to bet to show strength sabotaged your better judgment, losing you your stack in the process.
4. Thinking That You’re Pot Committed So You Can’t Fold
A pretty general thing that has happened to a lot of us. This one can be really bad for you and your stack. It doesn’t matter if you’re already down ₹200 or up ₹500 — a bad call is still a bad call, whether you’re ahead or behind. The moment you start thinking that losing a little more doesn’t matter, you need to get up and leave. The same point can be applied to any casino game and not just poker.
5. Getting Break-Even Before Leaving The Table
A very common problem with most players is that they cannot make themselves leave or stop when they’re down. It is more likely that you end up losing even more if you stick around gaining back what you have lost. This happens because you’re not at your best and that’s the reason why you’re down in the first place.The more tired you get, the worse you play and the more you lose. This will lead to tilting and there’s no way back when you go down that road.
The only way to get better at these bankroll diminishing thoughts is actually pretty simple. You just need to think about these things. Become conscious about these things and you’ll be better equipped to deal with them when they arise.