What loses you more chips on average?

A simple question. What do you think on average you lose more chips from?

  1. Playing draws that don’t come?
  2. Getting caught from behind? (opponent makes a better hand on turn or river?)
  3. Getting caught bluffing?
  4. Having a good hand beat by a better hand? For purposes of this discussion, say “good hand” is defined as at least Top Pair, with at least a Ten kicker, or better hand.

And for bonus points, what does this tell you about your game?


2–Getting caught from behind.
This tells me I’m over-confident when I shouldn’t be. I haven’t correctly assessed the outs.

I’d have to say playing draws that don’t come, but I try to keep from spending much to chase a draw. I also won’t chase unless it is the nut draw or really cheap. I play a lot of omaha, so I see all the possible hands that could beat mine at a glance and try not to spend much on a hand that is likely to lose when all the cards are out. I’d say what loses me the most chips is having a straight flush draw (I have a hard time folding those), and folding to people betting high with inferior hands, lol.
What does this tell me about my game? I need to bluff more (I rarely get caught because I rarely bluff) and I need to bet more and have more confidence in my hands. Seeing all the possibilities is helpful, but it also makes it harder to have confidence in a great hand, because you know that guy putting you all in on top pair could actually have one of the 3 hands that could beat yours. I feel most comfortable playing tight, but am constantly trying to improve my game, so these are issues I am working on :slight_smile:


In thinking about it, there are a few more options that I didn’t consider initially:

  1. Over-valuing good starting cards
  2. Bet structuring. (ie, leaving chips on the table through incorrectly sizing your bets, inducing folds before extracting value from your made hands.)

Mostly, I’d been thinking about literally losing chips, in the sense of chips from your stack becoming an opponent’s, but I think it’s about as important to consider chips you avoided winning because you bet and didn’t get a call as losing potential chips. If you don’t come close to maximizing the value of your winning hands, you can end up having a very hard time winning a table even if you are winning most of the hands you’re playing.

There’s so many ways to think about this question, so if you don’t feel like the options I’ve given describe you, feel free to give me a novel answer.

I’m still thinking about my answer, which I think means either that I am playing a fairly balanced game, or else that I have no idea where I am or what I’m doing. Depending on the results I’m getting one week to the next, I think either one might be accurate :thinking::smirk::wink::confused::joy:


draws that dont show up…but specifically calling an all in on the turn or river with the nut flush draw with with no paired cards on the board…much easier to fold an open ended straight draw on an all in bet where u possibly might just chop even if u catch it as compared to folding the nut flush draw where u are guaranteed to take the pot if u catch it. Hard to fold those, especially on the turn.


I lose more chips by going to a 100/200 ring game or above and play too loose while having re-top chips checked and don’t realize how often I’m re-topping.
I did this one night (during my happy hour of course) and lost almost 1M after letting myself tilt…it wasn’t even fun :crazy_face:


Elaborate please. “Over-valuing good starting cards?”

For 98% of players it’s going to be 1. over valuing draws that don’t come in. 3. is going to be bottom for 85%-90% because no one even bluffs enough to lose much there. The rest of the choices I don’t really think

  1. is just whatever and will balance out over time. 2. just stop letting them do that for profit.

FWIW the flaws with this post and these questions are that the answers are pretty much based in results and not actually in strategy(GTO/exploitative play). This is not a good way to be thinking about the game if we’re trying to improve our play.

1 Like

Like, for example, going all in with AK every time, and missing the board half the time when someone called with a pocket pair. And then a lot of the time only stealing the blinds and getting minimal value for the hand.

Admittedly that’s an extreme example. But that sort of thing.


That’s why I posted in Poker Discussion, and not Poker Strategy. But I do think that looking at outcomes is a useful thing, provided that you don’t fixate on individual hands. Which is why I said “on average”. I might have rephrased the question, “What -EV plays do you find it hardest to get away from cheaply” or something like that.

Regardless, if you look back at types of hands you often lose chips with, there’s probably something you can do about it to make your game stronger. Ok, maybe not if you’re already playing perfect GTO Poker, but I doubt that applies to many of us.


Two for me.

You may also want to include seeing “cheap flops” / playing too many hands as a candidate. In many cases, its the slow bleed of chips that is the killer rather than the misplayed larger pots. This one leak can account for 25BB/100 or more of losses, which is enormous. If the ring games here were raked as they are for cash, the loss rate would be even higher.

I like that you included lost EV as a leak as opposed to just focusing on chips lost. I also like the idea of players looking for the largest leaks in their games. The difference between being a break-even player (+ or -) and having a sustainable winrate at this level can be a matter of just addressing your most egregious mistake.


My biggest EV drain is probably 3. I think I bluff a touch too much, particularly early in tournaments when players see way too many flops and don’t fold as often as they should.

This could be an extension of 1 (playing draws that don’t come), since I’ll turn those draws into bluffs. That said, when bluffing works - which is surprisingly often, since as @dayman said few people bluff often enough to be a significant drain, so competitors tend to fold more often than they should - it usually positions me well to make a deep run in those tourneys.


Yes coder you are correct, the worst time to bluff in a tourney is in the 1st 3 blind levels, best time to bluff is at the final table with high blinds but better yet when its 3 handed or heads up at the end…just bluffing 1-2 BB is enough to gain value and having V fold ( heads up and assuming you are decently stacked going into the final table ) you should be seeing as many flops as possible during those 1st 3 blind levels tho, which it seems like u are but then you are turning them into bluffs like u said, also should be seeing less flops towards end of tourney and bluffing more 3 handed or less when the time is right which more often than not is right after the flop or re raising pre-flop to collect blinds. Im sure u already prob know that tho :slight_smile: I really think it would be nice when talking any strategies for the player posting to mention at the beginning if its a tourney or rings. I know that many players talking strategies are thinking rings in their mind and others are thinking tourneys on those same strategies so it becomes much like apples to oranges in many aspects from certain posters to certain players reading those posts then responding to a ring scenario from a tourney minded player, and vice versa. As far as what i see/notice many times on here.

This might sound really Korny, Puggywug… but

My Biggest mistake is beating myself. By that I mean when I know the right move is to say fold, and I call/raise anyway. This also incudes any “tilt” I may go on. This also includes anytime when I don’t know the right move or are unsure, and play on.

My 2nd biggest mistake is convincing myself I’m ok with the inherrant risk involved by sitting down, then allowing myself to start playing “scared”. its a form of the above mistake, but not exactly the same.

My 3rd biggest mistake is sitting down to play, when I’m basically so mad @ something, I can’t concentrate. still a form of the above mistake.

In MTTs/SnGs my biggest chip loss usually comes when I just get beat. Like I bet the K high flush, and someone draws or has already the A high flush. Perhaps I have the boat and someone hits that miracle 2 outter on the river and I’m gone. This can also cost me millions if I’m on a ring table.

Example : I went on a run of 23 MTTs in a row where I got busted out by what normally is refferred to as a “Bad Beat”/“Suck-out”. I did nothing wrong, and lost anyway. If you make the right move, longterm thats a winning strategy. Does that mean you win every hand you play, of course not.

What this tells me is : Try and learn things I don’t do well or know of, and stop making bonehead plays when even I know its the wrong thing to do. ( easier said than done )


I think there are two distinct sides to this thread emerging:

  • psychological reasons you lose a hand
  • mathematical reasons you lose a hand

Initially, I was thinking about strictly mathematical situations where I tend to lose most of my chips. But as I go on, I think that more of my chips are lost for psychological reasons.

My top two are:

  1. Tilt
  2. “I need to win a hand soon”

The second really translates into an urgency, or impatience, that comes up, usually when I’m short stacked, and have put pressure on myself to double up or bust because I’ve already lost enough chips to put myself in such a position where that becomes my best strategy.

And usually the reasons I’ve lost that many chips in the first place goes back to mathematical reasons: raising high cards and then missing the board with them, getting called on a bluff because I’ve put up a lot of chips on those high cards and didn’t want to lose the hand, or chasing a draw that didn’t fill.

As for tilt, for me it usually happens when I had a strong hand, but it was beat by a better hand, particularly if it’s a come-from-behind win where I gave poor odds to call, and the player called anyway and sucked out. Sometimes it’ll happen when I have a hand that initially was quite strong, but then as the board runs out, it’s looking increasingly mediocre.

A good example: flopping top two pair, but the ranks of the cards on the flop are close enough in rank that they compliment another player’s hole cards to make a straight. Like, I’ll have QJ, flop QJ9, and sure enough someone else has KT, and I won’t see another Q or J to improve me to a full house. Or the flop will be great: QJ3, rainbow, but then the board will run out 9-T, and someone will have, say, K3, and called a 1/2-pot size bet on the flop because, after all, they had a pair of 3s. I’ll see the straight (or flush, or whatever) coming, and try to bet the other player off of it too late, which works if they never had the draw to begin with, but if they do, I’m just bloating the pot to give it to them, which is pretty bad strategy.

So, I’m working on not doing that. Avoiding tilt has proven more difficult than I thought – I keep thinking I’ve overcome it, only to find myself back in it again when I get triggered.

1 Like

This is a tough one for me, as i seem to find all kinds of ways to lose chips. #1 would probably be the most frequent, but #4 costs me the most chips. compounding #4, it’s usually followed by entering the quickest tourney i can find, as long as the buy-in exceeds any reasonable bank management on my part.

As I’ve said before—waidus <- never bluffs. Always has it.—, so #3 is no prob. However, i can image a hand where i might attempt a stone cold bluff with the king of the money losers, 23s. After a healthy open, and a couple of calls, i flop 2 pr, and turn the boat. Kinda the opposite of what Coder was talking about. If I ever do bluff, I bet I’d be amazed what you can do, with the right table image.

I like this thread. Poker players like to talk poker, and I thought there were a lot of good points in all the posts. I agree with Dayman that when i get 2 pr, there are things i should be considering, and all the chips ive lost to higher 2pr., sets, trips and straights shouldn’t be one of them. Sure propels me to look at the things i should be looking at, tho.

As to chips i should have won, but didn’t, I’m sure I regularly fold the winning hand, in early tournaments. It falls in the realm of survival. If i only bet the nut, i’d miss out on more chips, but sometimes it costs you your tournament life. Theres’s another aspect to consider. My recent at /without showdown percentage is 55/45. I think this is from overbetting the turn or river. Some of this comes from a lack of skill with value betting. Some, i blame on the interface. Too often i’ve folded good hands, trying to type in my raise. I finally switched to clicking 1/2 bet, for a 1/3 bet, then trying to hit the line to achieve the desired bet.

1 Like

Confusing question…I so seldom lose…

Me too, pretty sure we all do this at some frequency. Usually centered around entitlement.

This is a big one to get a handle on. Double whammy when you’re already putting too much strain on your bankroll while on top of it playing -EV in spots because of it. I wish you well in plugging this ASAP, it leads to busto faster than any other leak. Cheers


If you never bluff but lose a lot it’s not due to being unlucky or #4
I cant say this 100% but MOST LIKELY it’s due to #2, where you have a weak hand on the board but have a hard time folding it even when you’re supposed to.

Raising High Cards:
When you miss the flop w/ high cards you sometimes want to bet to fold out some hands, but most of the time with high cards you have showdown value on the river, so you want to be checking a lot of those. From a less technical standpoint and more of a logic one, if you bet with high cards, you’re only folding out worse hands that missed the flop, while getting called and building a pot against hands that have you beat.

Come-from-behind situations:
If you gave them poor odds to call, they called, and they sucked out, don’t worry! That’s still a win for you in the long run since if you have that spot 100 times your opponent will lose a ton of money since they’ll rarely hit. It’s just that those moments where the opponent hits stand out the most, which makes it feel really common.

Strong hands that have a bad runout:
Fold! Don’t station AA when the board comes AKQJ of clubs lol(or QJ on KQJT3 if your opponent bets huge) You shouldn’t be trying to bet people off hands and represent a draw when you have two-pair. It’s similar to the previous case of high cards where you have a lot of showdown value and just want to get to the river without bloating the pot.

1 Like