From One Beginner To Another - Don't Let "I Would Have Had" Mess With Your Game.

SeaBeavSeaBeav Red Chipper Posts: 30 ✭✭
I am in no way, shape, or form, qualified to really be giving poker advice...I'm too new...but in an odd way I guess that allows me in some way to dole out a helpful tip to beginners - From One Beginner to Another: Don't Watch Flops And Let "I Would Have Had...." Get To You.

This is a glaring leak in my own game I just recognized and brother can I tell you...correcting it has definitely slowed the bleed of money out of my account.

Here's the scenario:

You've been rightfully following your pre-flop and open ranges. You've been playing tight and aggressive-ish. You've been folding garbage hands instead of playing them. You've been getting out of people's way when they show a strong hand on the turn or the river... but dammit that can be boring.... You just sit there and watch so many flops itching to play.

You're dealt :4S::9C: in middle position.

You don't even think about it, you fold. Bravo.

Now you've got nothing else to do (you should be watching the other players actions, or practicing your calculations or hand reading, or a multitude of other things) so you watch the flop.


*Insert punch to the stomach here* "I would have had two pair!!!!"

And all of a sudden that's all you can focus on - the fact that you would have flopped what looks like a fighting hand. You don't notice that anyone with two hearts in the hole has 2 chances at 9 outs to a flush draw, or that someone that opened with :TD::9D: has a better two pair, and you crushed.

All you can see is "I would have had..."

Maybe you don't even watch the rest of the hand play out where 2 Aces hit giving that guy with A7s in the hole 3 of a kind....You would have bet out hard on that board with your two pair, and subsequently been crushed.

True, I might be exaggerating how much of an affect this has on you...but one thing I'm confident in, is after a while, if you don't watch for it, this will sloooooowly change how you play.

You'll start widening your range just a hair. Wanting some of that board action. Playing hands a little looser than you normally would, because you're just so sick of watching pots go by on flops you would have hit.

"What could it hurt? :AD::7H: from UTG can't be that bad? I have paint in my hand!"

Here's the're not thinking about how far behind you are from the players with tighter ranges when you open with hands like that. Someone that opened with AQ already has you beat if there's an A on the board.

Worse than all of that, this NEUTERS your aggressive edge. You know it isn't considered a "strong" hand, so you don't play it as strongly as you would, say, AQs. Maybe you open for half of what you normally would. All of a sudden your C-bets, calls, and raises are shaded just a hair lighter than normal. Your aggression has been tamed.

The sharks in the water smell the blood, attack with their stronger hole cards, and sink your fishy ship.


Instead of watching those flops for what you "would have had", start watching those flops you're sitting out on and look for what would have crushed you. This automatically soothes the boo-boo of sitting out and not playing Hold'em like you came to do. And trust me, more than half of the time, that flop will play out in a way that would have had you beat. It's just 3 out of 5 community cards, with two coming you haven't seen.

Watching other players win with junk hands falls into this category too.

So what do you do? USE THAT SPARE TIME (that isn't spare). Try to figure out the ranges of the players still in the pot, imagine what you would do if you were them, or playing against them, pay attention to their frequencies and bet sizing, then mentally note the cards the produce at showdown, practice your outs and odds calculations, take notes, etc etc.

Don't be tempted by the wicked ways of pure luck. Poker is a skill game and "What if's" and "I woldda had" starts to change your game more toward the luck side than skill. It's a sneaky snake. Don't let it bite!


  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,659 ✭✭✭✭
    Imagine all those crazy hands to which we did not participate.

    Imagine all these bad beats that we will never have.

    In the end there is only "This" and not "What could have" "What should have".

    And the way we interpret "this" will not make our day good or bad but only our day.

  • YoshYosh Red Chipper Posts: 580 ✭✭✭
    If you play long enough, this effect will fade into the background and you'll forget to notice. There will always be some percentage of pots that you would have won had you decided to play. Some will be small and inconsequential, some will be daisy chained all-ins for hundreds of big blinds, wince. These spots are only an illusion. Do not kneel before Gamblor.
  • Duncan TDuncan T Red Chipper Posts: 55 ✭✭
    Once your cards hit the muck be happy that it was the correct fold, shake the mental etch-a-sketch and use your post flop time wisely by collecting valuable info! (as opposed to useless info. Let's be honest, "My J4o woulda flopped a boat! /cries" is not useful)

    Get good at this and by the time the turn hits all you remember about the cards were that they were garbage and they got what they deserved.
  • bigburge10bigburge10 Red Chipper Posts: 1,311 ✭✭✭✭
    How many of you have heard, during the hand, a player say "I woulda flopped a straight"? Does anyone really care? Yeah buddy, you folded 52o to a 4 bet and would have flopped a straight. I don't know, stop folding that hand I guess. Wait, the people who care actually don't care about the sob story--they're using that information to their advantage in this hand.

    I would be in favor of these announcer-type players being headbutted, slapped, punched, etc.

  • zampana1970zampana1970 Red Chipper Posts: 549 ✭✭✭
    I care - I love hearing what people had. I played this weekend and had the joy of sitting between the two oldest, most talkative dudes at the table. All they did was show me hands, tell me what they had, fill me in on what they were doing, are doing and are going to do. Had a great session.
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,082 -
    And the way we interpret "this"....

    is what creates happiness, sadness, and contentment.
    📑 Grab my custom poker spreadsheet pack right now.
    📘 Start the Preflop & Math Poker Workbook today.
  • bigburge10bigburge10 Red Chipper Posts: 1,311 ✭✭✭✭
    I care - I love hearing what people had. I played this weekend and had the joy of sitting between the two oldest, most talkative dudes at the table. All they did was show me hands, tell me what they had, fill me in on what they were doing, are doing and are going to do. Had a great session.
    It's always nice when your opponents tell you how to beat them!
  • ZazouZazou Red Chipper Posts: 93 ✭✭
    Yosh wrote:
    If you play long enough, this effect will fade into the background
    True. I struggled with this quite some time, but eventually I got to the point where I couldn't help but be very aware of all the other trash-hands I'd consequently have to play, not knowing the outcome beforehand, in order to hit the jackpot just this once. In light of that the "I would've had" looses its tilt-potential pretty quickly.
  • Albert AAlbert A Red Chipper Posts: 96 ✭✭
    The only thing worse (or better) than the "I woulda flopped a..." guy is the guy who says, "I knew I shoulda moved to that seat when I had a chance. That's the lucky seat tonight!"
  • Newbie123Newbie123 Red Chipper Posts: 3 ✭✭
    I've also been there for a long time. Now I've reached a place that even when "I woulda flopped a..", I always remind myself that for the long term I'd save a lot of money from trying to hit these low percentages flops/turns/rivers. It used to make me such a loose player and I hated it about my game, eventually this hate is what helped me improve my game dramatically.
  • Albert AAlbert A Red Chipper Posts: 96 ✭✭
    I often boil this game down to "situation, information, make a decision." Situation: pre flop, middle position, image is not too active as of late. Information: whatever the EP guys did plus you have 94o, a trash hand. Decision: fold. You do not have the info from the flop yet. Each time it is your turn to act you must make your decision based on the current info (unless you're planning on making a move on later streets).
    You have to get the trash hands out of your head. As OP said, use this time wisely to gain info.
    Now, if you wanted to use your image and run a 4 street bluff......
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • anthony bourganthony bourg Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Wow this really speaks to me! I thought I was the only one sitting around with the gambling demon on my back. I’m a micro stakes sit and his go player so finding ranges and impossible but just sticking to my ranges and playing position seems to work out well for me. Even when I’m running sort of bad I can pick my spots to get my money in and still place in the money most of the time, but I find myself at times saying shit I would have and it does affect my game
  • JBPoyntonJBPoynton Derby. UKRed Chipper Posts: 41 ✭✭
    I do this all the time! Even though I know I shouldn’t, it’s really hard to stop. For me it’s hand reading practice time as soon as I fold. The time I spend folded out is just as important as when I’m in for this reason but it’s still hard to stop checking out what I could have had.

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