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“What Went Wrong?”
Whether you play poker for fun or profit, making calculated and an educated decision occurs every time that the action is on you. The beauty or frustration of poker is thus that each and every situation has many different possible outcomes, there is no one correct or incorrect play at any moment. Sure, there may be moves or plays that are deemed to be more profitable than others but no one can say that your move was right or wrong. So many times I hear at the poker table, “that was the wrong move” or “the correct play there would have been” and so forth, what lots of players fail to realize is that each and every situation at the table is completely different, each hand will involve different opponents with differing chips stacks, in a different state of mind, whether it be on tilt or inattentive, The play that worked two days ago in the $2/4 at 3am against the drunk may not work in the $3/6 and 2pm against the young hotshot who has just sat down. You see, every decision in every hand needs to be carefully mapped out, what is my table imagine? What read do I have on my opponent? Have they won or lost a big hand recently? Are they completely focused or watching the TV or reading the newspaper?
All these factors must come into your decision process. For one person on the rail or even at your table to comment on your play whether it be good or bad is a sign that they are at least watching the game, yet it doesn’t mean that if they disagree with your action then in was incorrect. It may mean however that you have planted a seed to be used later in the game when a similar situation occurs and they expect a particular strategy from you, now is the time to mix it up and surprise them. The best practice in poker is the consider your play as if you could see the other players cards, if you could have seen there cards, would you have checked or bet, folded or raised. If you would have done something different after knowing their hole cards then perhaps a better strategy could have been implemented.
There is no right of wrong way to play, plenty of good poker players have made the best reads and perfect plays and lost while there are players who from time to time seem to make rather weird plays and seem to rake the pot, profitable poker is making the correct play at the correct time, it doesn’t mean that the correct play will always be a winning play, after all, without bad players getting lucky occasionally we would all be winning each others money and what fun would that be. Remember, for you to win, someone has to lose. So what exactly constitutes the correct decision at the correct time, what makes it the correct or incorrect play in your or other people’s eyes? The game of poker and the decisions to be made can be broken down into simpler steps, thus the analysis of your play should incorporate these questions.
Should I have bet or checked?
Should I have checked instead of betting?
Why did I call instead of folding?
What if I raised instead of just called?
Would a raise have been better than a fold?
These basic questions can be used to analyze most hands and with a quick thought process during and after each hand your game will develop as you start to think deeper and less about just the cards in play. The more you think about each moment of each hand the better and more profitable decisions you will make, remember better decisions means better profit.