One of the best all-around poker tips I can give you is to leave your pride at the door. This piece of advice goes for both complete newbies and experienced vets alike. Pride has always been associated with poker because poker is seen as a game of great minds and stone-faced bluffs. This is due to the competitive nature of poker as well as TV’s portrayal of James Bond-like characters defeating their opponents in high stakes poker games.
Pride is a dangerous thing in poker because pride has nothing to do with making money. The best poker players do not make their money by playing against equally skilled players; they make their money by choosing their opponents wisely and knowing when to quit. In short, pride is an expensive character trait to bring to the table.
Pride and Bad Tables
We all have to deal with pride at some point. I can admit that I suffer from pride issues when I lose a big hand in front of the table or when I start losing a match in a heads-up cash game. Instead of taking a break or finding a new game, I always get tempted to stick it out to show these guys that I’m really the best player at the table.
This is a problem because pride makes me want to stay in bad games. It doesn’t matter if I’m running bad and my image is suffering or because I am outclassed. Either way, I’m at a bad table. If I want to maximize my winnings, I know that my best bet is to find a new table.
If you ever get those same urges to stay at a bad table, remember that pride has no place at the poker table. The only way we keep score in poker is with money. It doesn’t matter how you win that money (as long as you don’t cheat); the only thing that matters is whether or not you are making money. At the end of the day, you have more bragging rights if you have a pocket full of cash than if you have a cool story about how you played your heart out against a great player.
It’s one thing to play against tough players occasionally in the hopes of improving your own game, but that is completely different than sticking at a bad table just because you want to prove that you can turn a bad session around. Whether you win or lose, the people at your table (especially online) will forget about you as soon as you leave.
Pride and Poker Strategy
You should also keep your pride at the door when it comes to improving your game. No poker player to this day has learned how to play a perfect game of poker. Stay humble and continue learning about the game for as long as you play. This keeps your mind fresh and it helps you move up in levels where you can win even more money.
Don’t ever stop learning poker strategy or listening to criticism of how you played certain hands. There is always something new you can learn in poker. And on top of that, the games are always changing. Keep up to date on poker strategy and do not let yourself grow stale.
Pride and Table Talk
This is one you see all the time at poker tables. Someone will make a play, then some other player will comment on how stupid that play was. The first player will then get all indignant and defend his play by bringing up poker strategy and walking the rest of the table down through his thought process. This is bad for a couple of reasons.
Most importantly, strategy talk at the table is bad for the game. Every time you open your mouth and talk about poker strategy, it scares the fish. The fish don’t want to feel like they are playing against a bunch of pros. They just want to have fun and play a little poker. Keep the atmosphere friendly and lighthearted and you keep the game profitable.
Next, strategy talk at the table gives more information to your opponents. Every time you talk about poker strategy, you reveal how you think. This might not be a big deal in small stakes games, but it becomes a major leak when you talk strategy in medium or high stakes games where people are more likely to remember your name.
Pride is something that we all must battle. It is human nature to take pride in competitive endeavors such as poker and sports. There’s nothing wrong with confidence, but don’t let pride trick you into making bad decisions. Leave your pride at the door when you play poker and you’ll be a more profitable player over the long run.