You know that poker isn’t just fun and games, right? You’re not just sitting around playing cards with your friends; you’re trying to win money in your game! And you know that there are some habits that help you do better and some habits that don’t. But many poker players don’t realize that their own habits sometimes hurt their ability to win money at the table. Here are 10 bad poker habits by Toronto Poker Syndicate that you need to stop right now if you want to improve your play and win more money playing poker online.
- Taking only one long shot each session
Taking one big shot in a poker session is okay, but not if it’s your only bet for a few hours. Taking several small and safe bets during a session is much more profitable than taking one big risk (and losing). The same can be said for any game where you play in short sessions; taking many small risks will increase your hourly rate considerably.
- Bluffing when you don’t have the best hand
Bluffing is necessary for poker, but you should only do it when you’re legitimately strong. It should never be done with a mediocre hand or worse. If you want to win more money at poker, always try to get value out of your bluffs, and don’t overestimate your hands. The truth is that most amateur players bluff too much.
- Thinking that poker is all about the cards
If you want to get good at poker, think less about what cards you have and focus more on how they fit into your current hand. You can only do something with a card if it helps strengthen your hand—otherwise, throw it away!
- Delaying bets until it is too late
If you want to be a good poker player, it is important that you do not delay any bets until it is too late. If your hand starts out mediocre but then improves over time, you should raise as soon as you hit a point where your hand is much stronger than everyone else’s. Delaying can cause problems for your chances of winning if other players have stronger hands and also if they aren’t raising much.
- Holding onto losing hands too long
It’s tempting to keep playing a bad hand because you might get lucky, but it’s best to stop and take a loss sooner rather than later. If you continue playing a bad hand, it may only cost you more in both time and money. Learn from your mistakes, and always know when it’s time to move on.
- Sticking with opponents who play poorly
If your opponents aren’t paying attention or are playing poorly, it’s best not to stick around. As tempting as it may be to try and outplay someone who isn’t putting in much effort, that type of play can be a drain on your energy—and you won’t be improving your own game.
- Prematurely getting ready to fold
It’s normal for poker players to get a little nervous before betting. Some of us will even find ourselves standing up, taking a deep breath, and beginning our elaborate system of hand gestures in an attempt to bluff others into thinking we have better cards than we actually do. But there’s something you need to know: Those who bet before their turn are almost always bad players. They often don’t check their emotions and end up folding when they shouldn’t.
- Drinking and Smoking while Playing
Inhaling cigar smoke or liquor may sound like fun, but you’re actually at risk of making poor decisions at the table. This can include betting too much when you think you’re playing well and staying in a game that you should walk away from. Not only do these vices dull your senses, they also distract you from reading other players and interpreting their behavior. Steer clear of alcohol and tobacco while playing poker if you want to improve your chances of winning.
- Slow playing strong flops
One of poker’s cardinal sins is slow playing a strong hand, even if you think your opponent has a better one. If you want to win, you need to be aggressive. Once you hit an ace on a flop, get all your chips in there! Think of it as an investment: The bigger pots you win now will pay off when you start seeing better cards.
- Counting chips in anticipation of betting
Playing poker well is all about deception and reading your opponents, which means you shouldn’t be showing everyone how many chips you have. This habit can be hard to break if you play with friends or at a home game, but it’s best if you can learn how to keep count without flaunting it.