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Learn From Your Mistakes

Learn from your Mistakes
by Hank Cashman of

Some of the best lessons in life and poker are learned from making our own mistakes. Just like we didn’t learn from our parents telling us from their mistakes, we don’t learn from others either.

Let’s go over a few lessons you should be learning from mistakes. We all make them. I think they are universal.

One friend of mine will bet the farm with top pair on the flop. His rationale is that if anyone wants to call him it is going to cost them. In Hold’em, the average wining hand is two pair or better. Top pair on the flop is a good hand but not worth losing the game over. Play them strong but also be aware that it is usually a second best hand. If I see someone push too hard with what I think is top pair, they will have to back it up because I will go over them.

I get tickled when I see a player make a small bet into a big pot. Sometimes even a too small raise will look the same. When a player bets a quarter of the pot or less, he is just asking to be called. Usually this is a sign of a weak hand and should be raised. If you don't have confidence in your hand, don't bet it. If you bet make sure you get the reaction you want. If you have the hand, bet enough to get all the money you can.


I love the bluffers and the rocks. They are two sides of the same chip. The bluffer will bet anything to win out of pure aggression and the rock will only bet the “nuts”. The bluffer will win a few hands when everyone is weak. He will also lose his ass when he hits a strong player. The rock will give away chips with even semi-strong hands waiting for the unbeatable hands. You need to be somewhere in-between. Avoid being either extreme.

I have always believed in “Tight-Aggressive” play. There are times when being too tight can be your worst play. In tournament play there are two times I think players tighten up too much.

Usually when blinds go up, the first hand is played as if there was an early raise. This is a good time to make a raise since some players will over value your play.

The “bubble” is the worst place in poker. When you hit a threshold like that in a poker tournament you can feel the tightness in the room. This is a good time to especially take advantage of the short stacks. The same holds true to large jumps in the prize pool. In many big tournaments, ten players will win the same amount then the prize increases.

They are too afraid of going out then.

Keep the cards and chips flying.


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