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All poker players have bad habits. Some are subtle and have little impact on their bottom line while others can cause significant swings in bankrolls.

Today we will take a look at five bad poker habits that everyone suffers from. Pay attention and work to eliminate them from your game if necessary.

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Playing too Many Hands Out of Position

Most of us have a bad habit of playing too many hands out of position. There are many reasons we’ve developed this habit. Maybe we feel we can outplay most of the players at the table post-flop. Perhaps you have a few “lucky hands” that you like to play regardless of your position because one time or another they won you a monster pot.

Regardless, the fact that you’re playing too many hands out of position is setting you up for some incredibly difficult decisions during your session. You are also at a disadvantage because you have to act before other players, forcing you at some point to give away information on the strength of your hand.

There are clearly times we’re going to play hands out of position, such as when we get a monster pocket pair. However, playing too many hands out of position with mediocre hands is going to cost you money in the long-term.

Defending Your Blind for No Good Reason

There are times you’re going to want to defend you big blind. Many times, it is to play back at someone that is constantly raising your blind or when you pick up a reasonable hand against a late position or button raiser that you know likes to raise light.

However, there are other times where we will defend our blind for no good reason whatsoever. A great example is someone that decides to call with suited connectors when the small blind raises at 100-200 with no antes in a tournament. There’s no reason to defend your blind in this situation. You’re setting yourself up for a big pot situation early and need to get lucky to win.

When you’re defending your big blind, think the situation though. What are your reasons for defending your blind. Are you making a play that will prove +EV later or are you letting your ego get to you. If you don’t have a good reason to defend, lay it down for later.

Not Being Patient When Short-Stacked

How often have you heard to go ahead and “get your stack in” when you’re short-stacked in a Hold’em tournament or even a cash game? While they’re trying to get you to be more aggressive, you also need to pick your spot whenever possible when short stacked.

short stackedKeep in mind that players in tournaments are considered short-stacked when they have 20 big blinds or fewer. If you’re sitting with a stack of 15 to 20 big blinds, especially if you happen to be before the ante’s or in a PL game, you can actually sit back for up to two rounds before getting to a point where you’re forced to shove with nearly any two cards.

We don’t mean sit back and wait for pocket aces or kings, but do go crazy shoving with K-6 suited or some type of mediocre hand where you can wait a few hands and improve your situation. You want a reasonable hand and if possible, you want a situation where you’re the first raiser in the pot.

If you’re in a situation where you’re under 10 big blinds, you can’t afford to be too patient. When in this situation and the blinds are a few hands away, that’s your cushion and that’s about it. Time to pick a hand and go. Otherwise, you still can show a bit of patience to improve your chances to double up.

Not Giving Credit to a Player Once They Improve Their Game

How often have we played with a bad player and then lost to that player at a later date? Did that player get lucky in the second session? Possible, but it is also entirely possible that they have improved their game and we have failed to give them credit for improving.

Astute poker players are supposed to be on the lookout for changes in a player’s strategy, but sometimes we will stereotype a player or write them off entirely based on past play. Don’t fall into this trap. Evaluate your opponent during every session you play them and note any changes in their style. This will help you keep your edge and avoid getting unexpectedly stacked.

Talking too Much After a Losing Hand

I love players that love to give speeches after a hand. They will sit there and tell you that they knew that you had this hand or that hand and often will break down the hand in its entirety.

If you are the type of player that likes to berate a player about getting lucky, realize that you’re also giving other players at the table information on how you play. This will clue them in on how to approach you the next time your in the same hand. You’d be surprised how many players like this start getting chased down during every draw just because they told everyone how they play. The best part is that they are completely clueless about what they’ve done.

Don’t be clueless – keep your mouth shut after losing a hand.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.