Poker leaks are expensive some more so than others of course. We have betting mistakes, calling leaks, passive leaks, aggressive leaks and of course tilt leaks. Whichever leak you have, poker leaks are costly. After years of talking to others players, coaches and having several thorough database analysis’s done, I’ve come up with my top 3 poker leaks. They are big blind spew at its finest and could be the reason the money you are winning is being lost in these common but not so obvious spots, resulting in a break even type of winrate. Most everyone who struggles to win at poker will likely have these following attributes:
1) Passive Guessing
That’s calling for no other reason than to see what happens next. I.e. you have no plan for the hand.
Ex1: You call a very tight 12% UTG open with JJ in the BB. The flop is A♥K♣9♠ and you check-call his cbet. He bets a 7♣ on the Turn and you fold. Seem standard? It’s not. Unless you had a good bet-size read, or timing read, calling here is just spew and you should just fold the Flop. Even if you had a note saying he gives up too much a later streets it wouldn’t matter, as far too much of this tight range hits this board hard! As we can see below, of the 124 combos available you beat less than a quarter.
Ex2: You decide to 3b TT from the SB vs a 20% CO open. He folds 70% to a 3bet but calls your 3bet. The Flop is Q♦9♠7♥. You cbet and he quickly calls. The Turn is the 4♣ and you check-call his bet with your underpair. The river is the 8♦… and he shoves all-in. You tank and fold. Standard? Nope. Notice his open of 20% from the CO is fairly low and his fold vs 3bet is very high. Therefore he has a decently strong range here. AQ, KQ, QJs, some sets or even slowplayed QQ+. You took a passive guessing line that in hindsight is just spew vs this tight range. Without a read you should just check-fold this Turn even though it doesn’t feel quite right. A hand like 88 or A9s are often just looking for a showdown and generally check back here, therefore making his bet mostly for value given our assumptions about his range.
A lot of these poker leaks boil down to stubbornness and ego and have nothing at all to do with strategy. Vow to change and conquer your poker leaks!
2) Not folding vs Turn raises
That is having the betting lead, Turn betting, getting raised and calling
Ex1: You have A♣Q♦ and you open 4x UTG trying to get heads up with the 48/15 in the BB. Everyone folds and he completes as expected. The Flop is T♥5♦2♠, he checks and you check back trying to get your Ace high to a cheap showdown vs his <40% fold to cbet. The Turn is A♦ and you thank your luck stars and try to get some value. He checks again, you bet ¾ pot and he min raises… ‘A min raise could be anything!’ you say as you call. The River is a blank 7♦, he ½ pots it and you call. You were counting the chips already when that Ace fell on the Turn and you just can’t fold to these silly looking bets, He flips over A♥5♥ and you roll your eyes and move on.
Ex2: You open A♥K♥ in MP to 3.5x. A reg on the button calls and the 40/12 fish in the SB completes. You cbet a K♣T♣4♥, the reg calls as does the fish. The Turn is a J♥, you picked up a gutter to go with TPTK and bet again. The reg thinks for a while but calls and the fish jams all in for 70bb into a 66bb pot. Woah. Not only can the fish have a straight with AQ and Q9, he can have 2 pair or a set and we have the reg to worry about too! These passive kind of fish don’t generally jam draws here especially 3way, so more often than not we are beat with just 1 pair. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can stack every fish with a one pair hand!
I assure you, filter for this situation. The Turn raise is lethal, especially the min-raise. The only guys I would consider calling against are 65/45 maniacs or regs with whom you have history with.
3) Making BIG calls without enough information
That is calling oversized bets on a nothing more than a whim or emotion
Ex1: We have 55 hands on a new-to-the-table, erratic 36/12 who keeps limping and was caught potting the river as bluff in small pot earlier. You iso-raise his latest MP limp on the BTN with A♣6♣ and you go heads up to the A♥8♠T♠ Flop. You check, planning on inducing some action from this character. The Turn is the K♥, he donks ½ pot and we raise 2.5x on this drawy board and he just calls. The River is the 8♦ and he shoves all in for 2.5x the pot… So two flush draws missed, some straight draws too and we now chop with other Ax. We convince ourselves it’s a busted draw, call and he flips over T♦8♥ for a boat.
There just wasn’t enough information there to make a call that big. Yes he was capable of pot bluffing a small pot, but there is a BIG difference between that and a 2.5x overbet ship. Had he overbet shipped 4-5 times recently then yes it’s probably a reasonable call, that’s smart guessing. Other than that you need more evidence.
Ex2: You open TT on the Button vs a relatively unknown reg in the BB. This reg had 3bet you here 3 times already in the last 100 hands and shipped on us once when we stuck in a 4bet. He now 3bets us again for the 4th time and we think about calling but decide to 4bet. He turbo ships on us again… we figure he can’t have it so often and call; he flips over KK.
Notice it was the only the 2nd time he had shipped in those 100 hands. Though mathematically any specific pair like AA is dealt at a ratio of 220:1 and any unpaired hand like AK is 82:1 it’s still quite easy to be dealt 2 of these monsters by chance in 100 hands right? But we called here hoping to see AK at best. Yes people do shove AQ, KQ, small pockets etc. and when they do take a note and call away! Even if they ship vs other regs it shows they’re capable of it. But only then does TT’s equity start to climb into +EV territory vs a ship. In my experience most players do this when a history starts to form, not in the first 100 hands when they are just getting to know you. This mis-use of information has not only made this call bad, but a BIG mistake. Big blind spewage.
All 3 of these situations could be major poker leaks and killing your winrate, I urge you to check your own databases. How often do you mindlessly check-call bets? How often have you got TT vs a reg way ahead? How often have you really called a Turn Raise-river bet vs a passive-fish and won? These big blind-eating passages of play could be potentially ruining your other good work! There is a reason there are so many small winrates in Poker; Bling Blind spew.
Fill me in on the results of your investigations!
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