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Real Poker: Why You’re Losing

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Oct 24, 2018


You’re a winner! You know you are, you’ve won consistently over a period of time. You can sense your edge based on your high degree of poker knowledge and awareness. But recently, things have changed. You’re losing, and you’re not entirely sure why.

Almost everyone blames this entirely on their cards, and there is likely some truth to that. Nobody ever went broke running good. A bad run of cards can slaughter your bankroll and crush your mind with it. But often, some of the reasons you’re losing are at least partially inward. When things are going very badly, chances are you’ve found a way to make them even worse!

The problem with blaming the problem entirely on the cards is that it prevents you from perceiving if there are any other issues that are influencing your losses. When you’re losing, take a hard look at yourself and make sure there aren’t any issues that you can control that are contributing to the downturn.

Is your mind right? Have your emotions gotten the best of you? How are they affecting your decisions? Are you justifying playing more hands to yourself? Are you calling down wider because you’ve lost confidence in your reads? Are you not being aggressive in situations you should be because you’ve “turtled up” and gone into a shell? Are you gambling more in an effort to “get out,” thinking you’re due? Are you playing in games that you wouldn’t play if you were winning? Did you lose confidence in your judgment? Are you losing value because you’re unsure in more situations?

At times, your edge is unknowingly lost when the game has changed in structure or manner of play, and you haven’t adjusted. Other times, you’re unaware your opponents have figured a way to counter your strategies. Often, personal issues or distractions have affected your focus. Staying aware, especially in bad times, is essential. Overall edges in poker are slight, and changes in judgment can eliminate your edge without you ever even perceiving. Are you keeping your mind on the game? Or are you defeated, and your mind is having a pity party with itself?

And I’m not talking about the blatant indications, the player who goes on berserk tilt, or the one who steps up to play tougher players at three times the limit in an effort to get even. I’m talking about slight changes in reasoning, missing the bluff you used to routinely make due to a loss of confidence, not raising or playing tighter and being more predictable because you’re intimidated by your losses.

Additionally, after realizing you’re losing, and sensing that it has affected you, your opponents may have changed. Even if they haven’t consciously adjusted, they likely feel emotionally empowered against you and are likely to be playing differently. Poker is a game that requires constant adjustment. And if you’re not aware of changes, you can’t adjust to them, and the quality of your decisions will suffer.

Sometimes the cause is entirely within you, not a reaction to a bad run of cards. Have you become complacent or bored, not putting the effort into your game that you used to, both at and away from the table? Are you playing on auto-pilot, just being reflexive, and not thinking about your decisions?

Many of these issues are an emotional reaction within you. Poker requires a lot of mental toughness. The game can be brutal on your mind. In due time, it’s inevitable you’ll experience extreme downswings. How you handle them can be the difference between becoming a lifetime winner or a broke wannabe. These issues have destroyed some of the world’s most knowledgeable poker players.

Knowing how to play poker is only part of the battle. Being in tune with yourself and the situation is crucial. Staying patient, maintaining composure, and having the character to keep trying your best when times are tough all play huge roles in being a winning player. Add to that, having the wisdom to know when to surrender. Consistently making good decisions based on effective knowledge is key to winning. And doing that is much harder than acquiring the knowledge.

And if you can’t do those things, eventually a bad run of cards is going to turn into a downward spiral that you’ll likely never recoup from! ♠

Roy CookeRoy Cooke played poker professionally for 16 years prior to becoming a successful Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesman. Should you wish any information about Real Estate matters -including purchase, sale or mortgage, his office number is 702-376-1515 or Roy’s e-mail is His website is You can also find him on Facebook… Please see ad below.



over 2 years ago

It is just as important to honestly look at mistakes you make when you are winning especially missing bets.


over 2 years ago

one thing to do is to find an outlet to focus on when poker is running bad. I play chess or some form of art