Losing is a part of poker. You won’t be able to avoid it all the time, and you aren’t always going to get it in ahead; heck, even if you do, the best hand is not always going to hold up. There are two things that are very important to remember about losing, the first is to not go on tilt and throw away more of your money, and the second is to minimize losses on your hands. Minimizing losses is a tough thing to do, especially when you think you have the best hand on the flop, turn, and river.
The first thing to know about minimizing your losses, is to know when you are beat; and don’t let convince yourself that you aren’t. Is it really worth it to call off nearly your entire stack with top pair when your opponent has been betting at you the entire way? Everyone loves to make a big time hero call, but a good amount of the time, the best thing to do is to save your money for another hand.
Another thing to remember, is to not over bluff. Throwing out a bluff after the flop or the turn is understandable, but if your opponent calls both; he or she is probably pretty strong, and you need to know when to give up your hand. This is not to say to never bluff, because bluffing is a part of making yourself a profitable poker player, but just remember that your opponents do get good hands sometimes.
Also remember that it’s not the best idea to continue to bet at your opponent like you have the nuts when all you have is top pair. Top pair is a great hand in certain situations, but it’s also a hand that you need to be careful with, especially in tournaments. Busting out while only holding top pair happens an incredible number of times, and you should try to keep the pot small when you only have top pair. Three betting isn’t the best option typically, unless you feel that your opponent isn’t strong, and would fold to a three bet.
One of the biggest rules of minimizing your losses though? Avoid going on tilt! Players have lost a ton of money from making stupid plays after losing a bad beat for a big pot. Bad beats happen, and there is literally nothing at all that you can do about them. The best thing to do is relax, and focus on the hands moving forward. If you aren’t able to do that, you should get up instantly and take a break to re-cooperate.
The last thing that we’ll say about minimizing losses, is not get too crazy chasing cards. Yes, we all understand that if you would have hit that gut shot straight draw that you would have had your opponent dominated. Unfortunately, the odds of you hitting that card aren’t very great; and if you throw too much money into the pot chasing it, more times then not you’ll end up losing a good amount of money on that hand. You’ll definitely lose it more than you win it.