How to Beat the Fear of Losing

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pocket Bullets Paris at the 2013 WSOPBy: Pocket Bullets Paris

It doesn’t matter what game or sport you play or bet on, the fear of losing can sometimes be so powerful that you’ll simply not take the chance. That especially holds true when playing any kind of card game for real money. There are lots of players who are so scared of losing that even when they are playing free rolls or are playing for monopoly money, their fear pushes them into making huge mistakes. And God forbid if they are actually playing for real money;  the fear of losing paralyzes them every time. All of this is fear that can and must be overcome if you want to be known as a winner.

When  playing in poker tournaments the majority never make the money and the biggest reason for that is fear of losing. So how do you overcome that fear?  First thing you have to realize is that even the most professional, best players in the world actually lose more than 50 to 60% of the time when they are playing in cash games . . .  and when they are playing tournaments they will mostly finish out of the money. Losing the majority of the games you enter in poker is absolutely common on a regular basis.  Even when you are a winner in the long term remember that losing will always be part of the game. You must accept it and learn how to overcome your fear and frustration and hang in there for when you get a huge run.

Hold'em Wisdom by Daniel NegreanuThere are many “How To” poker books and DVDs by huge winners like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Doyle Brunson  that you should pick up and study. Learn from the pros how to beat the fear of losing. Below are a few pointers that should help you quash your fear somewhat:

  • Don’t be scared to protect your hand, especially when you have a top pair with a big kicker. If you are scared and don’t bet you could easily be outdrawn.
  • Don’t play too tight pre-flop. If you are playing scared you are likely to not enter hands where you may outdraw your opponents.
  • Don’t be scared to bluff. If you never bluff you’ll become predictable and your opponents will be able to read you and they will take advantage and push you out.
  • If you are showing that you’re scared to lose, your opponents will easily pick up on that and push you out with big bets, even when you are holding a strong hand and they have nothing. It’s really easy to bluff a player who’s scared to lose.
  • Learn how to value bet. If you don’t do it enough you will always end up not capitalizing on your power hands. If you think you have the best hand on the river, you should always bet an amount that will give you the most value when it’s called. Your bet should not scare everyone away, but instead give them pot odds that they can live with.

Play wisely;  just don’t play scared….

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