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Poker Leak

Poker Game Leaks - Sprang a Leak

by Jesse Knight
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Poker Leak
Leak -
1. A negative expectation gambling situation in which you engage recurringly.
2. A hole in your poker game caused primarily by a lack of knowledge, discipline, or both.


Many gamblers are not knowledgeable or disciplined enough to restrict their gambling activity only to areas where they have an edge. They repeatedly make negative expectation wagers which lead to certain losses. They play table games, slot machines, and make poor decisions in the sports book, among other things. These types of negative expectation wagers are known as “leaks,” because they result in a consistent and ongoing negative revenue stream for the gambler. Most gamblers, even professionals, have leaks of varying severity. Sometimes they will be aware of their leaks, and simply lack the discipline to avoid making negative expectation wagers. This lack of discipline can damage or destroy a bankroll. Even gamblers with superior discipline can leak without realizing it. They may simply be unaware that one of their recurring wagers has a negative expectation and is costing them money over the long run. Professional gamblers know that they may have hidden leaks, and actively seek to plug them. They do this by analyzing their wagering history, or by looking for missed opportunity or patterns of losses. They also discuss strategy, and angles for profit with other professionals.

When gamblers lose money unnecessarily, they are said to “leak.” Similarly, a poker player can also have “leaks” in their poker game, which cause them to lose money. In this context, the term “leak,” is often used to describe a problem area of an individual’s poker game. Some players have major flaws in the way that they play. These flaws include anything routinely done by a player that is strategically suspect. An example of a leak in your poker game would be, if you routinely pay off two bets with top pair after a flush hits. You may win a few pots playing this way, but over the long run it is a negative expectation play, and therefore a leak. Leaks are not restricted to negative expectation plays, per se. Any situation where you consistently fail to maximize your expectation can be construed as a leak. For example, if you always check top pair top kicker (TPTK) on the river, when in many situations, you should bet, it could be considered a leak in your game.

Leaks in a player’s game can sometimes be the result of a lack of discipline. Player’s often chase when they know they shouldn’t, or play hands they know yield negative returns, both leaks. This type of leak can best be characterized as a discipline deficiency. Leaks can also be the result of poor poker strategy, as when a player fails to identify and implement the correct course of action for a recurring poker situation. This poor strategy may be the result of the player either using inferior logic or missing key strategic points when making their decisions. This type of leak can best be characterized as a knowledge deficiency. Because the player does not know enough about the game, they play poorly.

Leaks resulting from poor strategy, or knowledge deficiency leaks, are not restricted to bad players only, although bad players by definition are more susceptible to them. We all suffer from knowledge deficiency about the game. It is simply not possible to know everything about the game you are playing at all times. There are always blind spots in our knowledge or logical approach to the game, which cause us to make errors. This means we all have leaks in our game. Insofar as we are all human, and nobody plays perfect poker all the time, we all leak. Even the best players in the world leak to some degree. They just leak far less than everyone else, and take far better advantage of everyone else’s leaks.

If you want to improve as a poker player, you have to be proactive about identifying and plugging the leaks in your game. The best way to do this is to pay attention while you play to what works and what does not, and to be prepared to make adjustments. You should also seek to discuss strategy and game theory with other players whom you respect. They often have a different set of leaks than you have, and you may be able to help each other in identifying and eliminating them from your respective games.

Keep in mind that a poker game is an interactive, competitive event, where your correct strategy depends upon the actions of your opponents. You eliminate leaks by making strategic adjustments to your game. When you make adjustments, you are literally changing the way that you play. This process is ongoing; as your opponents adjust to your adjustments, you must constantly readjust. You can see that your game is not a static entity, but organic and ever changing. Even as you plug leaks, new ones crop up as your strategic environment changes. In this environment, you can never totally eradicate leaks from your game. You can, however, keep them to a minimum by avoiding discipline deficiency leaks, and by making adjustments to your game based upon sound logic and solid game theory.

Usage: Leaked In The Pit, Plugged The Leak, Leak In My Poker Game, Does He Leak?

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