Fear of Loss Outweighs the Prospect of Gain
As any good salesperson will tell you, sales have deadlines for a reason: Consumer fear of loss. Loss of getting the special features for free, getting the special price, etc etc etc.
Granted, there's no prospect of gain if it's a product you don't want but sales aren't directed at those consumers anyway.
Much the same applies to the poker table, but even more strongly, No one sits down to play poker because they don't want to.
That brings me to position and cbetting. (Be advised, I don't always practice what I preach.)
What I hate most about NLHE poker is getting a good hand (even AA) in early position. I'm very, very careful playing from there simply because there are sooooo many flat-callers. Say you raise with AKs from UTG and are flat-called by the button. No matter what flops (unless it's AAK) you're going to have a certain amount of uncertainty to deal with (fear of loss by getting stacked, for example.) Let's just say the flop is AJ4, rainbow.
Your's ace is certainly strong, and you should bet. But, what if you're flat-called again or re-raised? If you shove here you're spewing chips. If you bet big on the turn, same story (possibly). Yes, I know, you may have been called by a weaker ace (happens all the time), but you may have been called by a set or 2 pair and now you're drawing thin. Yet, the pre-flop raise was absolutely correct with a hand as strong as AKs and so was the cbet. Just don't bet the farm on it.
Raising AKs in early position isn't the point of this blog, though. I really want to address the "mindset" the average poker player has. It's a way of thinking that's pretty much hard-wired into all of us and reinforced by our daily lives. We don't suddenly change into fearless warriors when we play poker...that hard-wiring is still there. It's why tournament commentators are always talking about the fearlessness of certain players. It's why we admire a nice bluff or squeezeplay...BECAUSE WE DON'T MAKE THOSE MOVES! We don't bet with air, even from position, or make even a small bet when a scare-card falls, because the fear of loss outweighs the prospect of gain.
Condition yourself to play differently. Experiment in supercheap micros. If you're first in, raise with ATC from the last 3 positions. If you raised pre-flop, bet the flop...regardless! If you have position on a pre-flop raiser and they don't cbet, YOU bet. If you have position on a pre-flop raiser and they bet less than 1/2 pot...raise them 3x their bet with ATC.
You'll get hammered, slaughtered, destroyed many times. Don't let it bother you. What you're doing is an experiment to see how MOST players react. I'm not suggesting this so you can win pennies at the micros. I'm suggesting it so you can learn how to read players (or confirm your reads), so you can see the power of position and the cbet.
If you're building a roll from scratch and can't even afford the PS dime tourneys, then try it in freerolls
People want to try fancy plays, learn some magical trick that'll turn them into winners, learn how to effectively 3-bet and be Phil Ivey, do squeezeplays, push out limpers, etc. I'm telling you right now, until you learn to take advantage of the basic principle of "fear of loss outweighs the prospect of gain" and can excecute what I've described, all the fancy tricks in the world won't make you a winning player.
You have to learn to put chips on the line otherwise your cards will always dictate how you play.