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sure ways to lose in texas hold’em

The following is some pitfalls that most players fall into when playing texas holdem.  By reading these tips hopefully you can save some money by not doing the same.

Poor hand selection: Playing too many cards, often at the wrong time, is the biggest flaw in the losing hold’em players game.  The opposite of this is being able to play good cards and weaker hands when the game, position, and pot dictates.  You may not think that playing looser changes that much but it gets you into a whole host of problems that you could avoid if you played a little tighter.  This especially applies against a raise that you think means the person has a quality hand.  If you bring KJ and KQ against AK and KK all the time you’re in for a lot of losing.  Imagine if you play 89 off suit everytime you get it how quick you’ll be calling for the chip runner to bring you another rack.  It is hilarous because everytime you’ll play there will be people who even play hands like J2 off suit!  Don’t be one of them, unless you want one of the other readers here to take your money home.

Gutshots:  A gutshot is a straight draw where only one card makes your hand.  For example if you have JT and the flop is AK.  If a Q hits then you will have the nut straight.  People routinely draw to the river for this. You are only 1/11 to hit it on the turn and 1:5.8 to hit it by the river. To make it a profitiable play to draw to, you need to make sure that whatever you have to bet to get to the river will be better then 1:6.  Sometimes that is the case, but most of the time it isn’t.  In low limit games you can sometimes draw for one card to the gutshot if the pot is very large and it will be the nuts but doing it consistently is another sure fire way to lose more then you have to.  To keep you away from rigid rules, I’ll throw in another exception.  Let’s say you have AK and the flop is QT4.  Now you have a gutshot and two over cards.  That means you have 10 outs instead of 4.  If an A, K, or J comes you have a pretty strong hand.  Extra outs change your hand.

Backdoor Flushes:  Even worse then the gutshot is the backdoor flush.  This is when you need two perfect cards of the same suit to complete your hand.  An example would be if you have JdTd and the flop is Qd6h5h.  Notice that you’ll need to diamonds in a row to win and this is worse then 1/20 to hit.  To draw to that you’ll have to have extra outs.

Small Pairs: Having a hand like 55 in a loose game is great because if you hit on the flop you’ll have a very strong hand.  What if you don’t hit?  Is it worth trying to catch that other 5?  On the flop it is about 1/8 to hit the 5 but after the flop to draw to it the odds are 1/23 on the turn and if you want to go all the way to the river it is worse then 1/10.  So unless it is a pair that could hold up without improvement, drawing to it isn’t a great idea.

General Chasing: Most players you will run into will go to the river trying to catch their Ace and most of the time not hit it.  They will also call with the lowest pair hoping to catch another one or two pair.  All of these plays can be correct if the odds justify it but usually they don’t.  What you’ll find most of the time is a calling station type player that draws to just about anything (gutshots, an A, small pairs hitting sets, backdoor flushes, etc).  Avoid this like the plauge.

Reraising Weak Hands: At low limit hold’em, unless you against a maniac, a raise usually means something.  When you reraise your hand has to be even stronger then the initial raise because what you are saying is that you know he has a good hand, but yours is even better.  To put in that third bet you should definitely have a very good hand (nuts or close to it).  It’s rare in low limit that a player will reraise you without a great hand either.  For example you wouldn’t want to cap it with someone if you have a flush and it isn’t the nuts.  If you raise and they reraise, just call.  Or if you raise with a non nut hand and they three bet you should take a harder look at your hand add see if it is worth calling and paying off.


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