Don’t Let Bad Beats and Bad Players Drag You Down

Anyone serious about building his or her bankroll should take the time to get to know the name Ed Miller. Ed’s a very smart guy: he holds degrees in physics and electrical engineering, has worked as a software developer for Microsoft, but most importantly, he’s a shark at the casino.

He is a frequent contributor to Card Player magazine and publishes some of his strategy online on a blog called Noted Poker Authority. Miller has published at least five books, the most popular being a No Limit Holdem work he co-authored with David Sklansky.

Recently Ed wrote a nice article titled “Thinking Like a Loser” that got me thinking about how easy it can be to let your mindset affect your play and greatly limit your potential for success. Simply put, if you think like a loser, you will almost certainly lose (shocking, I know!)

In the post, Miller warns players against focusing on bad beats and whining about opponents’ poor play. Both of these are very common for just about all of us, but it’s often difficult to distance yourself from your situation enough to see why they can be so damaging. The bad beat story can almost seem like a rite of passage at the poker table: you just have to tell everyone you play with about that one idiot who got your whole stack by hitting a miracle river card. The problem is, the more you focus on these freakish short-term aberrations, the harder it is to see poker for what it is: a game in which these bad players are certain to lose in the long run. And these very mistakes are the same ones that bad your profits.

Exercising proper bankroll management, as outlined in our poker bankroll guidelines articles, is a great way to get yourself thinking more like a winner. These bad beat frustrations will get under your skin much less when you have the proper amount of buy-ins in your roll. Plus, when you take the time to really study your game, you’ll know how much short-term swinginess to expect. This means that you’ll understand that there will be times when a bad player will win a few big pots from you due to random luck. What makes you a winner is the ability to recognize that these beats aren’t injustices, and that you really want the players to be making these mistakes. When you take a look at your results over a sample of 60,000 hands, I guarantee you won’t be complaining anymore about that idiot loose passive station who calls down with a tiny piece of the board against you, or the guys who call your big raise with a gutshot draw.

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