Anyone familiar with poker has surely encountered “scared money“. Understanding this term: poker mentally impacts players. If a player, enveloped by anxiety, fears financial loss, likely they will lose due to making suboptimal decisions driven by that fear.

Making decisions with a positive expectation is vital for long-term poker profit. However, if protecting your funds is your sole focus, leading you to make safer decisions to guard against substantial monetary risk, this defensive strategy could transform a profit-winning player into a losing one.

Which factors lead to this fear (Scared Money)?

  • Size of your bankroll?
  • Are reserves available if you go broke?
  • Experiencing a downswing with limited buy ins for your current limit?
  • Recently moved up a limit with fewer buy-ins available?

If one or more of these points resonate, chances are you’re experiencing “Scared Money”. Further self-inquiry may be needed. Your attitude towards money, being a cautious or gambling player, and fear of losing money even with a healthy bankroll are all essential considerations. A successful poker player maintains a robust, unafraid relationship with money, willing to bet or lose when necessary. If this relationship is challenging, perhaps consider playing only within limits where you can engage without financial stress.

The biggest problems for scared money players are

Hands are not protected good enough

Failure to adequately protect your hands, due to the fear of financial loss, allows opponents opportunities to hit their draws cheaply and defeat you.

To small Value Bets

Effective value bets are crucial. Their objective: secure a call from an opponent with an inferior hand. Fearful play disrupts your ability to adequately assess whether you are leading or trailing with your hand.

Too less bluffs which makes your game predictable

Contrary to beginner belief, bluffing isn’t a prominent trait among successful poker players. Solid, considered poker alongside timely bluffs are key. However, scarce bluffing due to fear of risking “scared money” becomes apparent to other players.

Bravery is crucial for bluffing. If you hold reliable reads on your opponent, bluffing might be a safe move. A reality, though, you will sometimes lose money. Experienced players understand that bluffing, especially at higher limits, can be risky. Yet, a skilled poker player bluffs when the turn holds positive expectation, regardless of short-term losses or gains.

Playing to careful(Tight)

Scared money players often only play high-value hands, awaiting premium ones and only taking action upon a hit. This predictability results in loss of spots that might have a positive expectancy.

To less calls and then you get bluffed

Excessive passivity and only calling high-value hands due to loss fear allows opponents to perceive your strategy and bluff you at every available opportunity.

Author: YPD
last updated 09.10.2023