4 Pitfalls to Avoid as a Poker Player

pitfalls poker

Playing poker isn’t always free flowing, running good and playing easy to beat opposition. Most of you should know this already, otherwise you haven’t been playing very long. As a poker coaching website, we try to sharpen players skills and strengthen their talents. However, there are potential pitfalls beneath a player’s consciousness that could be lurking. It’s important to recognise our weaknesses and avoid them as best as possible.

In this article we will share the most common poker pitfalls so you will hopefully be on guard as you go through your own poker journey.

Using Poker Winnings to Cover Casino Losses

One of the challenges many poker players suffer with is their penchant for playing too many other forms of gambling. Perhaps they think they can dominate other casino games like they do poker? Rarely is this the case.

There are countless stories of player going broke, squandering their winnings at the blackjack table or playing casino games they have no business being involved with. This isn’t a problem for the best poker players as they recognise the other casino games are a bit of a fun. If they win great, if they don’t, it’s no big deal as they are risking very little.

Moving Up Stakes Too Soon

A problem many players struggle with is choosing when to move up in stakes. This a pitfall both losing players and winning players have. A losing player may think that the current level is beneath them, they don’t think the players are competent enough to give them credit. As such, they move up quickly even though they can’t beat their current stakes.

A winning player has a different issue. They beat their current game but not over enough volume. You need vast data and lots of hands of experience before going up in stakes. It’s not something to do lightly. Players that move up soon and lose hard are not only hitting their bankroll but their confidence too. It’s not uncommon for a player to move back down then lose there too, seriously harming their overall ROI.

poker spreadsheet

Stagnation (Hitting a Ceiling)

A live cardroom is full of players that have stagnated in their poker playing. They reached a level years ago and never went any higher. This is a serious problem for players, particularly online where the game is constantly evolving.

You’ll find lots of online players who were keen to learn and improve, spent hours a week studying and beat the games. Then, without rhyme or reason, they stopped the good habits and stunted in their poker growth. Perhaps they met their poker goals and have an ok win rate? But that will only last so long. A winning player needs to be dedicated to self-improvement and tweaking their game to ensure they are ahead of the competition.

If stagnation is something you suffer with, we recommend you trial our mentor service. Having a mentor is a great way to get honest feedback, support and advice.

Developing an Ego

One of the dangers of success, even a little bit, is the threat of developing an ego. This is certainly true in poker where you’ll see many players exhibit this trait. They want to be table captain, execute all the bluffs and proudly get paid off with their over-bet. However, we’re here to tell you that an ego is a pitfall to avoid! Professionals lose their ego when they realise it’s of no financial or psychological benefit at the tables.

An ego is just another word for pride or arrogance. In most walks of life, these character traits are unlikely to help you are they? So, if you are seeing good results or feel like you’re playing well, keep on guard to avoid developing a big ego. It could rear its head when you’re facing opponents who try to get under your skin. Rarely will letting your emotion and pride get the best of you be a profitable solution in poker.


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Narciso Baldo is the Director of Texas Hold'em Questions and Head Coach too. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also guest writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com