The Chip Basket Analogy – Imagine for a moment that our Casino Malaysia chips, our entire bankroll, is kept in a basket. Every time we win a pot, we add a few chips to our basket. In the perfect world, we would always be searching for a larger basket, as our solid poker play fills that basket to overflowing!

However, the reality is, most poker players never fill that basket up, no matter how small. In fact, many look in the bottom to find only dust and are forced to make a deposit after deposit just to keep a bankroll going.

Why? Chip leaks. Every mistake, every losing tendency, every “why not, it’s only money” rationalization is a small hole in your basket that lets those hard earned chips fall right out of the bottom. Some of us have more leaks than others, but we all have them. The key is discovering and plugging those leaks as quickly as possible. Over time, if we plug away faithfully, the wins will be greater than the leaks and we will indeed be shopping for that bigger basket.

So what are some of the most glaring chip leaks? I have listed a few below that are very common and very devastating to your bankroll.

Playing too many hands.

This one is elementary. The best statistic to view here is your flop percentage. If you are seeing 30% or higher flops over a large number of hands in a standard, full Texas Hold’em table, then you are playing way too many hands to be a profitable player. A good flop percentage is 20-30%, and most tight aggressive players are much closer to the 20%!

Folding is no fun, but neither is losing money. One basic fundamental of winning poker is always putting your money in when you are ahead. This concept is what every slot machine or lottery is based upon. By being selective and waiting on good cards, your starting hands are almost always a bit better than your opponents. This edge, no matter how slight, will pay dividends over the course of hundreds and thousands of hands.

Calling when you know you are way behind.

Also referred to as “chasing.“ Calling with bottom pair on the flop against a tight player who only bets top pair, for example. This leak is also very evident in 7 Card Stud. A player with an open pair of Aces will be called down by a player with a smaller pair. The hapless loser is chasing, hoping that he catches a second pair and the aces do not. In the long run he is just feeding his chips to the rest of the table!

An old poker axiom applies here. Have the best hand or best draw. If you have neither, fold!

Drawing to the 2nd best hand.

This chip leak is not so obvious. Many players feel it is ok to draw to a straight, even when there is also a flush draw on board. This mistake is just as much a loser as calling with bottom pair. If he improves and you do not, you lose. If you both improve, you lose. The only way you can win is if you make your draw and he misses his.

To go with our basket analogy, for every chip you win this way, you are most certainly losing two more through this glaring hole in your game! Best hand or best draw, no exceptions.