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A casual gambler is a person who plays games of chance in hopes of winning. A successful gambler is one who is selective about the games he plays, restricting wagers to those he knows he has an edge in.
Thus, a successful poker player will only participate in poker games where the circumstances are beneficial to his own style of winning poker.
By doing so, a poker player will ensure a higher win rate, while decreasing the risk of losing money on the felt. This can be accomplished by simply identify leaks in your game. Emotions in poker are leaks, act rationally at all times and your results will improve.
A "Leak" in poker is defined as:
-a gambling situation in which you engage on a regular basis with a negative expectation,
-a lack of discipline and/or knowledge that causes consistent losses in your poker game.
The best way to play poker is to stick to games and stakes where you have an edge. If you lack the discipline to maintain an advantageous poker strategy, finding your edge will be practically impossible. Negative expectations will become a constant.
With enough knowledge, identifying leaks in your game can be a very simple process. It's simply a matter of plugging those leaks, and maintaining the course, that will increase your overall profits at the poker tables.
Just being aware of the leaks in your game is not enough. You must be disciplined enough to avoid them at all times. On the other hand, you can be the most disciplined, professional poker player, and still suffer great losses if they don't even know their game is leaking.
Identifying leaks in your game can be done in several ways. One of the most common is to track profits and Losses. Keeping a record of all of your poker activity - the poker variant played, the duration of each session, the limits and stakes, and of course the effect on your bankroll (starting and ending chip stack).
Compare one game's success to the next. Maybe you do better in short-handed small stakes poker games than full ring tables, or at fixed limit stakes rather than no limit.
Keeping a count of all poker sessions will, over a short time, reveal a lot of information about your game and help to identify any leaks you may not even realize you had.
. Just tracking your profits and losses will not be enough to highlight every leak. Look for any other patterns in your losses. Consider any missed opportunities. Maybe you're playing too tight against certain types of players, or too loose against others.
If you're attached to a specific type of poker strategy, this could be a leak as well. Many players start out by reading up on the best poker strategies and sticking too them too strictly. Novices are often told a tight poker strategy is the best way to start out at an online poker room, but they never expand from there.
If you maintain a tight game at all times, you'll be labeled by your opponents. Every poker strategy has a counter-strategy. If they counter you, you'll be needlessly leaking chips. It's better to learn a selection of player-type poker strategies and mix them up.
When testing each type of poker strategy, be sure to mark it in your session records. You may find a particular strategy works best for you, while another is downright disastrous. The most effective poker strategy should be the foundation of your game.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon or mathematician to figure out where your poker game is leaking. By merely paying close attention to what, who and how you play, you can quickly identify leaks in your game and put a cork on them. And later move up to the high stakes games.