Champion Daniel Negreanu gives his top five reasons why you’re losing at poker

  • For most players, bad luck isn’t the only reason why they are losing at poker
  • Solid fundamentals, keeping your game fresh, and avoiding tilt are essential, says Negreanu

Poker is often said to be the game that takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master. If there’s one thing most poker players are good at, it’s coming up with reasons and excuses why they are losing at the tables, avoiding to look the truth in the eye.

Daniel Negreanu, one of the best-known poker players in the world tries to shed some light on this topic in the video above, by listing top five reasons most players lose at poker, in an attempt to get people to take a more realistic and honest approach to their game.

It’s all about luck… Not

Probably the biggest reason most players name as the reasons why they are losing is the bad luck. Being a game that’s inherently connected to luck to a significant degree, it is all too easy to convince yourself you’re just running bad, and the only reason you’re losing is because others are getting lucky against you.

Negreanu explains that luck can certainly play a role in your short-term results, and all players have to deal with stretches of bad luck. However, if you’re losing consistently over an extended period and/or a large number of hands or tournaments, the odds are there is more to it than you just being one of the unluckiest players in the games you play.

The game always changes…

You need to be able to react to the game’s circumstances. Two reasons Negreanu lists as for why you might be losing at poker is becoming too predictable or playing in games that have become too tough for you. For example, a player could have been beating a certain game for a while, playing against a particular group of players, but now his results are deteriorating.

One reason why this might be happening is that player in question has simply become too predictable, and his opponents have learned to play nearly perfectly against him.

Similarly, the games you’re playing in may have become tougher, either because of new (good) players joining, or old players learning new things. It may be a hard reality to face, but sometimes games may become too tough for you to beat, and that’s when you need to look for new games with softer lineups.

Knowledge and tilt issues

The final two reasons the PokerStars ambassador lists as possible causes of poor results at poker tables are poor fundamentals and tilt issues.

For anyone looking to beat the game of poker, in the long run, it is essential to have really solid fundamentals. Some basic principles of the game will always stay the same, even if the advanced theory changes constantly, and if you don’t have these principles right, the odds are you won’t make it very far. Luckily, this can be fixed quite easily, through some studying and analysis.

As for the tilt, as Negreanu aptly puts it, it probably broke more players than all other reasons combined. If you can’t keep it together while at the tables, lose your cool, and continue playing and chasing your losses when you aren’t fully focused and clear-minded, you’ll make big mistakes, even if you know (in theory) these are bad plays.

Any player looking to win in poker must avoid tilt at all costs or, at the very least, be able to recognize they are on tilt and cut their sessions short, instead of digging an even deeper hole by playing far below their optimum.

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