MCU poker tip: Don’t be aggressive when losing

You don’t have the same intimidation factor over your opponents when you’re losing as you do when you’re winning. For that reason, you’ll make more money, or lose less, if you ride out your losing streak by reverting to a conservative game plan.

Opposite

Many players rely on their flawed instincts and choose to play more hands when they’re not getting any good cards. For instance, they may choose to play ace-jack pre-flop in hold ’em when the situation doesn’t quite merit it. But when you’re conspicuously losing, that’s exactly the wrong time to play borderline hands. Opponents are inspired by your misery and they play better. You don’t have control.

So, wait until the cards bring you out of your slump. Then your opponents will be intimidated again and you’ll be able to manipulate them with faster action and fancier plays.

Not superstitious

Remember, you shouldn’t be superstitious or believe that the cards will continue to be hot or cold. But that’s what many of your opponents think.

So, take advantage of their superstitious nature by being more aggressive when you’re winning and less aggressive when you’re losing. That’s because, when you appear to be unlucky, opponents are inspired and less likely to play poorly. And that’s when you must be more cautious about choosing non-premium hands. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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  1. It’s so refreshing to read (and re-read) these ideas from the past. A lot of your “truisms” that made no sense to me back then seem clearer to me now. I’m curious, though. There has been so much chatter regarding the greater skill of the new generation of tournament players. But, do you see major differences in cash game play from the old school players to today’s players?

    1. Thanks, Jim. Actually, the new generation of tournament players (and ring-game players) that populate so-called “new poker” do not have greater skill. It just seems that way, because with thousands playing the same flawed style, a few outlast all the others who go broke and people see these lucky survivors on TV and assume they’re successful. They aren’t — except temporarily.

  2. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

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