On sunk costs and cutting your losses – a beginner poker player reflects

By and large, I’m a risk averse kind of person. I drive cautiously. Analyse choices to death. That kind of thing.

In going along to my first poker night, though, I learned a thing or two about myself.

I’m terrible at cutting my losses.

The boys play Texas Hold’em, so every round two people put in blinds to start off with. There’s a sunk cost to begin with, and my general philosophy is something along the lines of ‘I’ve already put in this much; what’s a little bit more?’ And as the round progresses, I’m loath to cut my losses. After all, that last card just MIGHT be my saviour. I’m already down by this many chips. Just see it through to the end…

I’m apparently also really, really bad at gauging the quality of my hand. When do you decide to play? When do you fold before even betting? I underbet when I had a killer hand, and overbet with a good (but not amazing) hand a few times, resulting in once scaring everyone else off, and once bringing it down to the wire and losing by the tiniest sliver of a margin. I actually played kind of riskily – something I didn’t expect of myself – much like I didn’t expect myself to really push it at all when I got to drive a new BMW on snow last month, yet I did (guess there’s something about a vehicle that a) can take it b) isn’t yours and c) is there for that exact purpose).

In real life, I am much better at writing off sunk costs. Have done it many times.

What about you? What’s your poker style?

5 thoughts on “On sunk costs and cutting your losses – a beginner poker player reflects

  • Reply My Broken Coin (@MyBrokenCoin) September 12, 2012 at 14:41

    Let’s hope that my current or future opponents would not read this comment. lol I usually fold pre-flop (you do know the terminology, right?) if I get really crappy card – off suite and low in denomination. I try to think in terms what my card can beat. If I am a big blind with crappy cards, there is nothing you can do but check, unless someone increases their bet. How do you know you have a good hand? You never know. lol I know I am not helping but you can lose with pocket aces, and you can win some crap. Best way to explore poked is by trial and error. But don’t be too conservative, people will bully you out.

  • Reply The Asian Pear September 17, 2012 at 12:47

    I used to be bad at cutting my losses but I’m getting better at it. Not just gambling but even simple more day-to-day type situations. In poker, I tend to be methodical. If it’s a bad hand off-right, I have no problem with folding. It’s if I’ve called it and then I have problem saying no. By then, I want to see it all the way through.

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