How to Stop Losing Money in Poker?
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Poker is often passed off as a gamble – a game solely based on luck by individuals who know little about the game. But you know that losses in poker cannot be simply attributed to variance, or bad luck, or a bad day all the time. Strategy, quick thinking, considerable effort and hours of precise calculation is crucial to limiting losses in the long term and becoming a successful poker player with a respectable winning tally.
So, if you’re wondering how to stop losing money in poker, it’s crucial that you revisit, not just your strategy, but even your approach to the game, in case you’ve been going through a bad time.
Here are some simple, yet effective tips to turn around your game for the better and stop losing money in poker!
1. Apply the Kelly Criterion to up your game
The Kelly Criterion, in its broadest sense, is used to minimize one’s risk of ruin by promoting calculated risk-taking behavior and ensuring that the entire net worth of the gambler is not severely diminished by one wrong call. It is governed by a simple and elegant mathematical formula to arrive at an optimal wager size. In poker, this theory is especially useful in ensuring good bankroll management by guiding the player’s game selection and helping him/her stop losing money in poker.
To illustrate, if you're playing a game with a win rate of 10 bb/100hands (big blinds per 100 hands) and a standard deviation of 100 bb/100 hands, then your win rate in terms of percentages may be regarded as: 10 = 100*(2p-1). On solving for p, we get p=55% and your advantage is 10% which means you need to invest 10% of your bankroll to maximize the growth rate of your bankroll.
2. Avoid Slowplay
Slow-play might work on big platforms and high-stake professional tournaments, but this is best avoided in small games as the opponents are usually calling stakes. A lot of money flows into the drain by not betting one’s hand. Using pro tips and strategies against bad poker players might just be counterintuitive as this might just go right above their heads.
3. Have a solid preflop strategy to stop losing money in poker
This is an absolute essential as everything begins prior to the flop in the game. Therefore, a solid understanding of which hands to play, the opponent’s positions, the raise that is to be made must be chalked out before attempting to play that next (big) game! In fact, memorize some charts if need be. Don’t just react to the cards, your opponents or the board, be proactive.
4. Spend time studying the game
There are two ways to go about this – one is by adopting strategies given by expert players by reading about it or hearing a podcast and another is to observe multiple games and learning by watching. This learning is crucial to develop a strategic edge over other players. Outplaying is often a product of out-studying!
5. Limp with a purpose
Limping need not necessarily be an unprofitable exercise, but it must be resorted to only as a part of a bigger plan. Limping aimlessly costs money since you might be placed in a position where you fold after missing the flop completely, thereby losing money or you are left exposed to vulnerable spots clueless as to how the game will ultimately turnout. Play the game strategically, not emotionally, to stop losing money in poker.
6. Think Long-Term Not Short-Term
It’s been proven that a positive mindset can have a massive benefit on things like profit, success and habitual happiness. Therefore, take a deep breathe, keep the loss aside and start afresh. Also remember that volume beats variance, so practice, play and improve till you get there!
7. Practice bankroll management
Keep a stop line that prevents you from depleting your bank roll beyond redemption. A loss of a proportion of your bankroll must imply an automatic step down in the game and it is imperative that you are mindful of it and consciously practice it. Do not play the stakes that you cannot afford, if you are relatively newer to the game, then start small. Do not risk large sums that far exceed your financial abilities.
8. Be aware of the odds and outs
Odds represent the likelihood of you getting the card you desire and outs are the number of cards present in the deck that will help you achieve the desired hand. This must be carefully considered and decisions must be taken accordingly to stop losing money in poker.
9. Value placements and positions on the table
The position of the player at the table is crucial to determine the strategy that must be employed at the game. Bets must also be placed on this basis, knowing the advantage that your position has to offer. Also, it is important that you simultaneously keep a tab of your opponent’s positions and respective moves to understand how you can leverage your place on the table.
10. Fold v. Turn and River raises
In situations where you have only one pair on the turn or river and they raise you, it is best that you fold your hand, as painful as it might be (especially if you have high cards). The fact that your opponent is resorting to that implies that he/ she has you beat, so it is best to lay your hand down gracefully than get hit badly.
11. Use timeouts wisely
This game can be rather nerve wracking and stressful. The pent-up frustration can be counterintuitive and cause one wrong move which will result in the game going down south in a matter of minutes. Therefore, one must use timeouts when they have a few bad beats in quick succession or feel especially upset or angered by a particular loss. When it reaches an extreme, the timeout should extend to a break for a day or two. Learning emotional numbing can also come in handy to deal with a tilt, and will help you stop losing money in poker.
It would be appropriate to point out that even the best of players goes through weeks, or even months of downswings and that can be rather upsetting. The healthiest thing you can do when you are in a poor streak is to give yourself frequent timeouts and do plenty of session reviews to reverify how you could have prevented the losses. It will help you know what to do in a similar situation in the future, which will surely help you stop losing money in poker. This phase too shall pass. Use this as an opportunity to improvise, and build your game!
To practise more, download the GetMega Poker app and start playing!