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5 Reasons Your Poker Career has Not Taken Off

November 12th, 2016 by Jon Sofen
Taking your game to the next level isn’t easy. (Image:

Taking your game to the next level isn’t easy. (Image:

There is nothing more frustrating than playing poker for a significant period of time and getting lousy results. But don’t lose your confidence. Just because you’ve been playing this great game for a while and aren’t making much money doesn’t mean you never will.

Instead of moping over your mediocre results, figure out why you aren’t having success at the poker table. That’s the first step towards improving your game. Can’t figure out what’s going wrong? I bet your problem is listed below.

You aren’t getting enough value on your marginal hands

I don’t profess to be a perfect poker player. I’m far from it. But in my early days, I missed so many opportunities to win a few more chips. Over time, it added up to a lot of money. Successful value betting during a session is often the difference between breaking even and winning.

How many times do you check the river with top pair and then your opponent flips over a hand that you beat but know he would have called a small value bet? This is an opportunity missed. Let’s say there was $50 in the pot and, instead of betting, you checked it and took the pot down at showdown. But what if you had fired in a bet of, say, $20 and he called? That’s $20 more you would have made.

You can’t fear value betting. It’s not easy to make a monster hand, especially in Texas hold’em. So, if you have a solid hand and your opponent hasn’t shown much strength throughout the hand, go for value on the river. If they don’t call or end up having a better hand, so be it. But, more often than not, you’ll end up making a few extra bucks. However, don’t go for value if your hand can’t beat a call.

You don’t have a big enough bankroll

Bankroll management is far more important than you might realize. Having the right skills to play poker is useless without a bankroll. Even the best players in the world can go broke without having a decent bankroll. That’s because bad luck can happen to anyone at any time. It’s always nice to have plenty of buy-ins behind.

Do you have at least 20 buy-ins for the game you play? If not, you’re playing with fire. Also, if you don’t have plenty of money, you’ll play scared. This will impact your results. You shouldn’t fear risking all your chips. Passive poker players don’t win very often. Poker is a game of aggression.

Your timing is off

This one is totally out of your control and applies to tournament players. The fact of the matter is timing is so crucial in tournaments. Everyone suffers bad beats. Everyone loses some races. Tournaments are often decided by the timing of when these things happen.

Perhaps your main problem in tournaments is you simply can’t get a break. Are you constantly getting your money in good but losing in crucial spots? That’s just bad luck. There’s nothing you can do about it. But here’s some good news:  things will turn around. You’ll start winning races and your aces will hold up when you need them to eventually. Stick with it. I promise your time will come.

You’re playing the wrong games

Sometimes the only problem preventing someone from getting anywhere is poor game selection. You should stick to the poker games where you make your most money. Keep a detailed log of your results so you know which game(s) are the most profitable.

If you are making $25 an hour playing heads-up sit n’ go’s and $5 an hour in cash games, the obvious choice is to stick to the former. Playing cash games, in this scenario, is sort of like moving a star quarterback to wide receiver. Stick to your bread and butter.

You’re just not good at poker

Be honest with yourself. Are you good at poker? Or are you just a gambler? Are you consistently getting your chips in with the best hand? Or, are you constantly behind in hands? If you’ve played for a significant period of time, deep down, you know if you’re a good poker player or not.

If your honest assessment of your game concludes you aren’t a skilled poker player, work on your game. We have many great poker strategy blog articles here at CardsChat to help you improve your game.

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2 Responses to “5 Reasons Your Poker Career has Not Taken Off”

  1. teepack Says:

    My biggest issue is opportunity. I live 5 hours from the nearest casino. I am not putting significant money in an online site after Lock Poker screwed me out of $2,000. Bankroll is also an issue.

  2. vhkev Says:

    I like to play tournament games but off course I Always win in the beginning and mids, but once I’m in the money it goes down and I have almost no profit while playing some hours..
    So cash games should be better for me? I don’t like the cash games..

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