Beginner Poker Mistakes And How to Avoid Them
Poker is a hard game to master. Both beginners and seasoned players alike are bound to slip up from time to time and make a variety of poker mistakes.
Because of this, many players find themselves losing money and quitting the game, convinced that it’s rigged against them or that they’re just unlucky.
Sometimes the odds aren’t in your favor. Sometimes you have bad luck. But sometimes it’s your fault and you just don’t make the right move. Read on to find out the most common beginner mistakes in no-limit Texas hold’em and other forms of poker.
Not Playing the Right Game
Before you start your foray into the world of poker, you need to find out which games best suit you. There are a variety of different kinds of poker games out there, including limit or no-limit hold ’em, pot limit games, high Chicago, low Chicago, and countdown. Of these, Texas hold’em is the most popular variant in the world.
You also need to decide whether you want to play heads up (two players), short-handed (six players), or a full table (nine or 10 players).
One of the biggest beginner poker mistakes that people make is they start playing games that are popularized on TV or that their friends and family like. However, to ensure you really enjoy the game, you should first experiment with several different variants so that you know which versions suit your personality best. This way, you’ll be motivated to play more and improve your game.
Making Bets Too High or Too Low
This is one of the top poker mistakes that you see in no-limit or pot limit games. Understanding how much to bet comes with experience. Newbie players often bet in the extremes – they either bet too high or too low.
A very common example is raising the minimum pre-flop in no-limit games when several players have already entered the pot. Making unwise bets can also occur after the flop. Beginners often make the minimum bet on big hands even though they have the opportunity to draw cheaply with a much better hand. Sometimes, beginner players also get highly protective of their hand and may overbet to protect it.
All these moves are unwise. Your Texas hold’em strategy should be to bet an amount that maximizes the amount of money you can win while minimizing the risk.
Playing Too Many Hands
A lot of recreational players play too loosely, since their primary objective is to enjoy the game. As a result, they may try to play every hand, even when the dynamics of the game dictate that it’s better to fold.
However, the problem with playing too many hands is that your likelihood of hitting a flop is small, and even if you do hit one, you can never know whether it will win.
Even advanced players make mistakes in an attempt to outplay their opponents when they’re dealt the worst poker hands. As a result, if you’re involved in too many pots, you could end up losing all your chips because you feel pressured to play a bad hand.
Playing Low-Value Hands
Playing hands that are dubious in value but look good on the surface is another one of the most common newbie poker mistakes. Hold’em poker hands that fit this description include suited cards or cards with bad kickers like Q5 and K3, as well as high-hand combinations like A9 and QT.
Although these are far from unplayable combinations, they do require some experience to play effectively. Since these hands don’t offer many good and clear options on the flop, it’s hard to be sure you’re in a winning position when playing them.
Even if you have a playable hand like a pair, without a detailed understanding of poker strategy, you can easily fall victim to an experienced player’s deception.
Not Understanding Positions
One of the biggest poker beginner mistakes is not understanding how important position is in poker. Having the last call in a hand allows you to observe every bet and look for every bluff to understand how everyone is going to act before you make a move.
Position is very powerful, but most beginner players often disregard it in favor of calling a bet or raising out of position. As a result, they often get lost in the hand since they have insufficient information about where they stand.
That is why a good starting hand involves playing more conservatively in early positions and being more ambitious when you’re in a later position.
Bluffing Too Much
Of course, half the fun of poker is bluffing. It’s very satisfying to bluff a competitor out of a pot every once in a while. But do it too much and you become predictable, and people will start calling you out on it. Then, not only could you lose all your chips, but you’ll also be stripped of your credibility as a poker player.
It’s important to know how to bluff in Texas hold’em poker. First, you need to make your bluff believable. It should depend both on how your opponents are playing and your current position. For example, if you bluff in early positions, it may encourage more players to fold.
Stubbornly Defending Blinds
Many players are adamant about defending their blinds. Some think they’ll be considered weak if they fold despite having paid a blind, while others believe they should continue to play since their money is already in the pot. But betting on a weak hand because you’re already in the pot is one of the biggest mistakes people make in poker.
If you’ve already paid your blind and nobody else has raised, it’s fair enough to wait and see what the flop has to offer. But if one of your opponents tries to con you out of your blinds by raising pre-flop and you don’t have a strong hand, then you’re much better off folding.
If you keep defending your blinds with a small bankroll, you can quickly run out of chips. However, if you fold these weak hands, you’ll be able to play for longer. This strategy can also mislead your opponents into thinking you’re a pushover, which means you can give them a nasty surprise when you do have a good hand.
Chasing the Wrong Hands
This is a common mistake that many new poker players make based on emotion. They often get too committed to a single hand and call bets to protect their hand, even when it doesn’t make sense. For example, a player may stubbornly play on a small pair in the hope of getting a second pair or trips, or they might try for lower-value straight draws or flush draws, even when the percentages aren’t in their favor. At worst, a player might go hard on a single ace in the hope of hitting a pair.
Chasing poor pot odds is a big mistake beginner poker players make. Even though you may hit the cards that you need, in the long run, this kind of strategy will only lose you money.
Although a certain degree of persistence is required in poker, skilled poker players should also be logical and understand that often folding is better than calling bets if it’s obvious that your opponent has a better hand.
Getting Discouraged Due to Basic Variance
Poker is a game of variance and fluctuations. If you want to get rich playing it, you need to be prepared to spend some long, hard hours learning the intricacies of the game. You also need to look at the bigger picture rather than at a single game.
One of the most common poker run mistakes that new poker players make is not playing enough hands before giving up on the outcome of the game. Poker is not a game of individual hands. Instead, it combines a bit of luck with a lot of skill. As such, you can’t determine your results based on the outcome of a single day – you can only judge yourself over much longer periods of time, like months or even years.
Not Managing Your Bankroll
Even if you’re playing poker just for fun, you need to manage your bankroll properly. That’s because variance plays a huge role in poker; a person who has enjoyed a winning streak may suddenly be hit by big losses. If you don’t adjust your strategy when this happens, you’ll burn through your money very quickly.
A common mistake beginners make is that they think they can just jump in with a small bankroll and see how the game goes. But that’s not how poker works. A person needs to have at least 30 buy-ins before they can overcome basic variance. This can also be a huge tournament poker mistake, since in tournaments, you need to play for even longer.
In low-stakes online poker games, the lowest buy-in is $2. This means you should have at least $60 to play the game for an extended session.
Playing High Stakes
One of the common poker cash game mistakes beginners make is playing stakes that are too high, because $2, $5, or even $10 buy-ins are too boring for them. However, if you’re a new player and only want to play games with buy-ins of $100 or more, you should be prepared for sharks just waiting to attack gullible players like you.
One of the classic mistakes in poker online is that most people don’t realize there are many professional players lying in wait to fleece beginners. These are skilled players and if you play high-stakes matches against them, they’ll quickly rid you of your bankroll.
Your best bet is to start slow and steady with just $2 or $5 buy-ins. This means that even if you hit a losing streak, you won’t break your bank. These low-stakes games are excellent practice before you decide to take on the big sharks.
Cold Calling Raises
Cold calling poker involves calling a raise after there has been a bet and one or more raises. This is a characteristic of weak players, and it usually does not indicate success. One Texas hold’em tip worth remembering is that you should only play a cold call if there are one or more weak players behind you, or the players behind you are not aggressive three-bettors.
Typically, though, if your hand is not worth a re-raise, you should dump it. In a serious game of poker, cold calling should be your last resort. You should exercise discipline, patience, and selective aggression, which can yield greater profits for you.
Tilt is the poor or overly aggressive emotional state some players adopt when they’re on a losing streak. This is characterized by reckless playing in an attempt to get revenge on the particular opponents who have beaten them in previous hands. Tilt results in some of the most common situational mistakes in poker.
Emotionally stable players usually do not go on a full-blown tilt. However, tilt may sneak up on them slowly by degrees if they spend hours at a poker table. This kind of tilt is more common in intermediate players, as they have good enough skills that they can start playing their game on autopilot.
To combat tilt, you need to constantly monitor your game and keep a calm and rational head at all times. You cannot get emotional over a single player. To prevent tilt altogether, you should come up with a poker strategy to stop your losses from escalating.
Fancy Play Syndrome
As the name indicates, fancy play syndrome refers to using complicated, over-the-top strategies to make your opponents think you are a super-savvy poker player. However, this is one of the most common poker games mistakes among players who focus too strongly on their ego.
Although playing poker involves tricking your opponents, adopting a convoluted strategy instead of the tried-and-tested straight route does not translate into a long-term winning strategy. If you want to have success as a beginner poker player, you need to start at your lower poker limit and keep everything as simple as possible.
One of the worst poker mistakes that beginner players make is not selecting a game according to their prowess. Poker is a game that involves a lot of calculated guesswork, and it doesn’t matter how skilled a player you are if you can’t find any weaknesses among the other players at the table.
You need to identify the players around you who are in the habit of making mistakes playing poker. These mistakes are usually repetitive and fundamental, like playing too many hands or cold calling. That’s why you need to study your opponents even before you sit down, so that you can make better-informed decisions.
If you can’t find any opponents with clear weaknesses, it’s a good idea to get away from the table and find easier pickings elsewhere rather than risk losing.
Not Studying Poker Enough
When we say “studying poker,” we don’t mean studying advanced mathematical theories – we simply mean analyzing your play as well as your opponents’. If you want to be successful when playing poker, you should take advantage of the thousands of online educational resources (like this one!) that are available for free.
Experience is important in poker, but there’s no point in making silly mistakes. Learning through trial and error can end up being a waste of time and money.
If you’re a newbie, there are some strategies to find out on how not to make mistakes in poker. One of them is to spend 50% of your poker time as a beginner studying the game rather than playing it. It’s also a good idea to discuss your strategies on forums that are dedicated to learning card games.
Poker is a very hard game to master, and unless you’re James Bond, chances are you don’t have it all figured out. That’s why experienced poker players are always eager to learn more – observing and studying are surefire ways to improve your game.
Even small mistakes in poker can be very costly, but for beginners, they also present an opportunity to learn. If you’ve made any of the poker mistakes listed in this guide, don’t be dismayed. Every single person who is learning to play poker has made them, and even experienced players aren’t completely safe from them.
The only way to deal with these common poker dealer mistakes is to start working on each of them, gain experience, and of course, be patient if you want to win big.
What is an inexperienced poker player called?
There are many insulting nicknames for people who are inexperienced or bad at poker. The most widely used ones are “fish” and “donkey.” These terms are used for players who don’t fold bad hands or who play their hands against the odds. Inexperienced players are also sometimes called “ATMs” since they often lose money to their more experienced opponents.
How much money do you start out with in poker?
Poker has a lot of variance, so you should be certain your poker bankroll can handle these uncertainties. The general rule of thumb for no-limit cash poker is to have enough for 20 buy-ins. So if you buy into a $25 no-limit online poker game, you should have a bankroll of at least $500. This ensures you don’t buy in more than 5% of your bankroll at any one time.
How do you play basic poker for beginners?
Poker is a complicated game that can’t be fully explained in a few sentences. However, if you’re a beginner, the following simple tips can definitely help you.
Firstly, a common poker dealer mistake is to play too many hands. As a newbie you should not play more than 20% of hands at a full table.
The hands you should almost always play include A-A, A-K, A-Q, A-J, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T, and 9-9, especially if you have two face cards of the same suit. You’ve got a great chance with any of these hands, and if you’re playing against seven or fewer people, you can loosen the range to include a few other decent hands.
Another piece of advice to heed carefully is not to call too much. New players often call and then bet because they’re uncertain about their hands and do not want to risk losing even more money. However, this is one of the most common poker mistakes. Instead, betting is stronger than calling, as you might even be able to win a pot without showing your cards.
Additionally, if you’re playing with skilled poker players, they can simply find a good hand and bet a moderate amount on every street, and the rookie will be forced to pay them off on the streets. That’s why it is better to bet or re-raise than to call, even if you’re not entirely comfortable doing it.