Big Mistakes vs. Small Mistakes

Gus Hansen
The difference between small mistakes and big ones is huge - no pun intended.

We all know the number of mistakes you make in poker will directly affect your overall win rate.

The fewer mistakes the better, obviously. But are all mistakes created equal?

Poker is a game dominated by short-term luck. Yes, in the long term all the good players will win and all the bad players will lose.

But there is luck involved. That is undeniable.

Players can often be making mistakes without even realizing that they are in fact errors.

They can make several in a hand and yet still go on to win the pot, because of the influence of luck on the outcome of the game.

Small Mistakes: It's All in the Frequency

Carter Gill
All mistakes are not created equal.

The difference between small mistakes and big ones is huge.

Say that every single time you flop quads you have this peculiar strategy of just open-shoving no matter what the size of the pot is.

Is this a mistake?

Yes, it's a mistake in the sense that it is not the most profitable way to play quads. More often than not your opponent is going to fold to the gigantic overbet.

But is it a small mistake or a big one?

Obviously, it's a small mistake. Quads, after all, occur very infrequently

If you're dealt 5,000 hands you may only hit quads once or twice.

Since flopping quads is so rare, even if you open-shoved every single time you could still be a winning player.

Big Mistakes: Throwing Money Away Every Hand

Big mistakes are what separate the overall winners from the overall losers.

These are mistakes that can happen every single orbit you sit at the table and they will drastically affect your win rate for each session - making it extremely difficult to be a winning player long term.

Mike Matusow
Mistakes can compound.

An example of a big mistake (which may actually seem like a small mistake initially) would be regularly calling raises from out of position with dominated hands.

If this is a mistake of yours, it doesn't matter how good the rest of your game is; you just will not be a winning player.

Playing with a worse hand out of position is just too big an obstacle to overcome.

You will be put into so many difficult spots that your mistakes will compound and you will be throwing money away every time you play.

Calling too much is another example of a big mistake.

Calling stations routinely play way too many hands and take them too far.

Since they're throwing money away almost every hand, unless they change their behavior at the felt they'll never be long-term winners.

Small Mistakes: Keeping you from winning as much as you can

No poker player is altogether immune to mistakes.

Most players have small "leaks" in their game - things that they can do better.

Examples of small mistakes are things like not value betting the river enough when in position or calling too many raises with low pocket pairs.

If you don't value bet the river enough, that just means you will never get check-raised.

In the long run, that means you're leaving money on the table.

If you call too much with small pocket pairs, even though you will stack someone occasionally, in the long run you'll just be bleeding money.

Joseph Serock
All mistakes affect your win rate.

All Mistakes Affect Your Win Rate

On their own, these mistakes won't prevent you from being a winning player - you just won't be as much of a winner as you could be.

All mistakes affect your win rate.

Some mistakes are so big that it doesn't matter how good the rest of your game is; you will always be a break-even player, or a losing one.

Small mistakes are mistakes you have the opportunity to make - and fix - all the time.

They may only cost you a fraction of a bet each time but overall, the more small mistakes you make, the harder it is to stay profitable.

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