6 Reasons Why You Lose When You Play Texas Hold’em

Dealers Hand by Cards Blue Poker Table on Right Texas Holdem Emblem in Center

When most gamblers try to figure out how to win when they play real money Texas Hold’em, they focus on what they need to do. But I’ve found that most of the time, you can get better results by looking at what you’re doing wrong and eliminating these things.

That’s what this article is about. I’ve identified six things that are causing you to lose too much money when you play Texas Hold’em. Some of them are mistakes you’re making, and some of them are thing you need to eliminate.

Here are the six worst things that are costing you money when you play Texas Hold’em.

1 – You’re Terrible at Picking Opportunities

Have you ever considered the opportunities that are available to you when you want to play Texas Hold’em? The odds are good that you’ve never looked at Texas Hold’em this way. For example, you have the opportunity to play against great holdem players or bad holdem players.

Which group is going to offer you the best opportunity to make a profit? The group of bad Texas Hold’em players is going to make you a lot more money than the group of great players. So, why are you playing against better players than you need to?

Don’t make the mistake of saying that you don’t have any control over who you play against. You pick when and where you play. If you’re playing against better players, pick a different time and place to play. Or simply pick a better table.

You need to get good at picking the right opportunities if you want to stop losing when you play Texas Hold’em. Find a table that has a bunch of bad players. This is going to help you win without changing anything else about your skills.

You also need to look for other opportunities like tournaments that have a bigger guaranteed prize pool than entry fees, free roll tournaments, and high leverage situations.

2 – You Don’t Know the Odds

I don’t know why anyone plays Texas Hold’em who doesn’t understand simple poker odds, yet more players don’t seem to understand the odds at all than players that do understand them.

Poker odds are simple if you start with the basics. The deck has 52 cards and it’s set up using a specific structure. You already know that there are four suits and 13 cards in each suit. You should know the hierarchy of the cards, from two up to ace.

From these facts, you can determine simple odds. The odds of the next card in the deck being a queen are four out of 52 or 1 out of 13. The odds of completing your flush with four spades on the river are nine out of 46.

Poker Pocket Aces

Once you learn the basic way that odds work based on the deck of cards, you can start using them for more advanced poker applications. When you learn how to do this, it helps you eliminate mistakes that cost you money.

It also helps you take advantage of Texas Hold’em players who don’t understand how odds work.

3 – You’re a Poker Action Junkie

I love playing against inexperienced Texas Hold’em players. They all seem to be action junkies. This means that they play too many hands and stay in hands for too long. This costs them money, and if I play the right way, I can easily profit from their mistakes.

Every Texas Hold’em player likes to play and win. And we certainly all enjoy the action. But it’s costly to get hooked on the action and forget that the real purpose of playing is to win. In many cases, the way to win is to play less instead of more.

Identify the Texas Hold’em players that win the most money and watch how many hands they play. A few players are able to lay a lot of hands and do well, but most winning players are playing far fewer hands than they fold.

The exact percentages vary based on many things, but a good number to shoot for is around 20% of the flops. This means that you only see the flop on one out of every five hands on average.

This might seem like an extremely tight way to play, but if you give it a try, I guarantee that your results are going to improve.

The reason why your results are going to improve is because you’re only going to be playing your best hands.

4 – You’re a Bluffer

Bluffing is an important part of being a winning Texas Hold’em player, but almost every player uses bluffing too much. For bluffing to be profitable, you have to get away with it most of the time. And the only way to get away with bluffing most of the time is to only use it in the best situations.

If your opponents don’t think that you ever bluff, you’re in the right position. If your opponents think that you bluff all of the time, you’re in a bad position.

You can use semi-bluffs often, but you need to use straight bluffs rarely. In fact, when I work with struggling Texas Hold’em players one of the first things I tell them to do is stop making any straight bluffs for at least a month.

Most Texas Hold’em players are losing money overall on the hands that they bluff on. And this is simply because they’re bluffing too often. You can easily fix this problem by eliminating bluffing from your game, or at least limiting it to one bluff per playing session.

5 – You Play Above Your Bankroll

A big mistake that many Texas Hold’em players make is not recognizing the link between their bankroll and winning and losing. While the size doesn’t directly influence your playing skills, it’s still important you manage your casino bankroll properly.

If you take the best Texas Hold’em player in the world and take all of their money and access to money away, they aren’t going to be able to win money playing. You need to have money to win money when you play Texas Hold’em.

The other thing you need to understand is that no matter how good you are at playing Hold’em, you still have to rely on long term percentages to realize the maximum amount of profit. Just because you make the best plays, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to win immediately.

The way you make money playing Texas Hold’em is to make the right plays and stay in the game long enough for these plays to pay profits. Sometimes this takes a long time. But if you can stay in the game long enough, the right plays are always going to be profitable.

Texas Holdem Player With a Royal Flush Hand

For example, if you get all in with the best hand and have a 60% chance to win, this is a profitable situation. But you still might lose two or even three times in a row.  You’re still going to win six out of 10 times, but you might have to get in the situation 10 times to reach the six wins.

This is why it’s so important not to play over your bankroll.

6 – You Don’t Understand Expected Value

I’m going to give you a secret that winning Texas Hold’em poker players know and that most losing players have no idea about. Winning players know what expected value is and they use it for just about every decision that they make at the table.

Expected value is how much any decision is worth on average in the long run. Sometimes, expected value is positive and other times, it’s negative.

When you make more decisions that have positive expectation than negative, you win money. So, your job is to find out what expected value is in Texas Hold’em and how to use it.

Expected value isn’t overly complicated, but it’s not something that you can learn in a couple paragraphs. Here’s an example of expected value to get you started.

You put $500 into the pot for a chance to win another $600. You have a 60% chance to win the hand. If you play this hand 10 times you win six times and lose four times. Your total cost to play it 10 times is $5,000. When you win you get a total of $1,100. This is a total of $6,600 the six times you win.

This is a profit of $1,600 over the 10 hands, or an average of $160 profit per hand. This is an expected value of $160 on this play.


The list of mistakes that Texas Hold’em poker players make is long, but the six listed in this article are some of the worst. If you learn how to eliminate and/or correct these six mistakes, you’re going to win more often.

You have to learn how to pick the best opportunities. This is easier than you might think, as long as you know what to look for.

You also have to learn how to use odds when you play Texas Hold’em. Then, you can learn how to use expected value and your losses are going to start turning into wins. Finally, stop playing above your bankroll and bluffing so much.