We look at seven tactics to stop losing stupid chips when playing low stakes poker – you won’t believe how often these easy strategies may save you money on the poker table!
“A penny saved is a penny earned,” Benjamin Franklin reportedly said. The expression ‘Money saved is money gained’ is frequently used in poker, referring to an adage that still holds today, and nowhere more so than in the game we all love.
If you’re new to poker or looking for a poker site where you may play poker online, you’ll appreciate the significance of conserving poker chips. In low-stakes games, novice players might lose chips in a variety of ways without even recognizing it.
Fortunately, we’re here to remedy such mistakes and save you some poker chips right as you sit down at the table, preparing you for bigger battles later in your tournament or cash game.
Low Stakes Poker Games
1. Don’t Risk It All in Level One
This is really simple advice that should be as simple to understand as it is to apply. Don’t lose all your chips in the first blind level in a multi-table tournament or the first hand of a cash game, to put it succinctly. In a cash game, I once sat down and played ace-jack preflop before going all-in on the flop of J-8-7.
Except for my opponent holding nine-ten and having the easiest call of his life, there is a slew of hands that beat mine, including pocket eights, sevens, and jacks, as well as his hole cards, all of which are superior to mine. Worse, I decided to shove on the flip after only two seconds of consideration.
The fact that I had no idea how that player played made it the worst decision I’d ever made. Going broke early in a tournament or a cash game is insane. You’re robbing yourself of chips – and, by extension, money – but that’s not all. Furthermore, by acquiring free knowledge about your opponents, later on, you are depriving yourself a chance to win money.
You can’t win a tournament at level one, but you can certainly lose it — don’t let that happen to you.
2. Watch for Flushes and Straights
How many times have you played a hand of poker only to get rivered by an opponent on 5th street who made a flush or straight? It’s a particularly aggravating way to lose a pot, but it’s generally avoidable.
Avoid this stumbling block by paying attention to the two cards played by your opponents. Do they frequently engage in hands using connecting cards or one gapper? They’re looking for a straight or two. Do they feel compelled to play suited cards for reasons other than the 1% return on investment? Know that they can follow flushes better than Ratatouille’s main character.
You can change your approach based on whether players tend to play flush draws or straight draws and when they give up on them — on the flop, after the flop, or after the turn. They are charged the most for pursuing their fantasy of consecutive or same-suit cars, and they lose the least when they do connect.
3. Beware the Paired Board
When it comes to networking, a paired board might be extremely dangerous. What do you dread if you have a premium hand like pocket queens and the flop comes down with two tens and a seven? Sevens in your pocket? A straight draw at nine-eight? Any hand with a ten in it has you beaten, and with pre-flop cards like ace-ten, king-ten, and jack-ten all being powerful, this is a flop to be concerned about.
Count to ten, verify the pair, align it with the range of hands your opponent has, and then make the best decision possible. Folding is unpleasant, but it’s preferable to losing a large bet on the river because you didn’t count from one to ten.
4. Understand Instinct
In poker, what is instinct? Intuition, like everything else in life, is something you feel in your gut based on the information you’ve gathered over time. Though you’ve been playing poker for a while, you may sense apprehension about a certain circumstance, or the polar opposite, a small voice in the back of your mind saying you to bet even if you have six-high because the flop didn’t aid your opponent.
In general, we should trust our gut impulses at the poker table, because the outcome, win or lose, will benefit us. It will either prove your instinct was correct or if you were incorrect in taking the action you did, it will change your gut feeling in the future. If you still make a mistake, take notes to help you repair it. Using instinct is, in essence, one of the most effective strategies to develop.
5. Stop Calling Flops and Folding Turns
This regulation should be digitally engraved on the virtual felt of $5 poker events because it is frequently broken in low-entry tournaments. What exactly do we mean when we say we won’t call flops or fold turns? We don’t mean solely, because it may be the best course of action in some cases. You might call a flop thinking you’re slightly ahead of a certain range of hands, only to find out on 4th street that your opponent’s hand has improved. Making it a regular negative habit is what we’re talking about here.
When playing low-stakes poker, it’s all too easy to fall into the habit of over-calling flops because so many other players are struggling. If you’re under pressure on the turn, it’s usually from players who only bet big if they’re in it for the long haul. You then fold, wasting your post-flop money when you didn’t have to.
Don’t give up easy money, especially after the flop with a hand you’re not sure about after the majority of the turn cards. When you’re too short-stacked, it can lose you fold equity later on if your stack isn’t big enough to deter dangerous players from calling. Low-stakes poker has this as a big ‘pain point.’
6. Think of the ICM Impact
It’s all too easy to make decisions at the final table based solely on the cards you hold, your opponent’s behavior and anticipated range, and other known considerations. You’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the other players, and you believe that playing each hand to win is an outstanding approach.
In a nutshell, yes and no. Playing the player and the cards properly will win you more pots than losing them, but at the final table, it’s frequently about knowing when to play, not in terms of hands but in terms of the final table’s narrative flow. The major payoffs are there, and the big money is won and lost at the final table.
I’ve seen a lot of really excellent players lose their chips at tournament final tables because they play hands and make decisions based on their desire to get to the final table. As I and many others have discovered, it’s nearly a separate tournament. You think you know the players, but you don’t; when there’s only one table left in the game, everyone plays differently.
Sam Razavi, a hugely accomplished British poker pro and runner-up in the World Series of Poker, was interviewed by me once. He informed me that from two tables down to the winner, you shouldn’t just be looking for players to eliminate and players to avoid. You should keep an eye on who of your opponents is going to try to knock each other out and alter your strategy accordingly. It was excellent advice and heeding it might significantly increase your tournament winnings.
7. Watch Showdowns
One of the most basic hints is also one of the most valuable. What do we mean when we say we like to watch showdowns? Basically, you’re not only paying attention to the hands that are interacting with you. It’s probable that you won’t be able to analyze everyone else’s game at utmost attention from the first to the last card. That’s normal, and there’s a term for it: soft focus and hard concentration. Everyone who excels at a game does so by focusing more on the moments that matter the most.
What you really must do, though, is keep an eye on what cards other players are playing, which you can learn for free by watching players other than yourself get to showdown. This is a terrific online activity to attempt, and it’s simple to do:
- Write down the cards each player at holds at showdown
- Note down a little information about what they did with those cards in the hand
- Write down the size of the pot
- Take a note of their table position
- Write down how many players were in the hand
You’ll be shocked at how each hand funnels your understanding of each of your opponents into what makes them tick if you can write down six showdown hands involving each player (each showdown will involve at least two, so this will take less time than you think).
From players who exclusively play premium hands to those who prefer to play suited connectors or small pairs, knowing what kind of hands your opponents are holding – and their range in different scenarios – can help you make better judgments more often than not.