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8 Poker Mistakes New Players Make and How To Avoid Them

Shane C

Apr 27, 2023

Poker mistakes to avoid

Let's talk about poker, the game of cool cats and card sharks! Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, you know that poker requires serious brainpower and nerves of steel. But let's face it, we all slip up sometimes. And for newcomers, there are some classic blunders that can leave you feeling like a real chump. Fear not, my friends! In this article, we'll show you the top 8 rookie mistakes in poker and how to dodge them like a pro. 

Playing Too Many Hands

Ah, the rush of adrenaline when you're dealt a new hand. It's hard not to get caught up in the excitement and want to play every single one. But here's the thing, new players often make the mistake of playing too many hands, which can be easily avoided with a little bit of patience.

Playing too many hands means you're likely to be dealt weak starting cards, which will result in more losses than wins. To avoid this, you need to play tight and wait for strong starting hands.

But what does playing tight mean? It means narrowing your range of hands and only playing the ones that have a high chance of winning. This might mean folding more often, but it's better than losing money on weak hands.

Remember, poker is a game of skill, and knowing when to play a hand is just as important as knowing how to play it. Be patient, and don't let the excitement of the game get the best of you. Wait for good hands and then strike when the time is right.

Overvaluing Hands

Poker Mistakes - Overvaluing HandsLet's face it, we all love a good hand in poker. There's something about seeing those two cards that just makes us feel invincible. But the truth is, sometimes we get a little too attached to our hands and end up overvaluing them.

This is a common mistake, especially among new players. They get dealt a weak hand, but because it's one of their starting hands or they have a personal attachment to it, they convince themselves that it's better than it actually is.

Here's the thing, folks: a weak hand is a weak hand, no matter how much you love it. And if you're not careful, overvaluing your hand can lead you down a path of poor decision-making and costly mistakes.

The key is to always assess the strength of your hand in relation to the board. Is your hand really as good as you think it is? Are there other players at the table with better hands? These are important questions to ask yourself before making any big bets or calls.

And remember, don't be afraid to fold if necessary. It's better to cut your losses and live to fight another day than to stick around in a hand that you have no business being in.

So next time you're dealt a hand that you just can't help but love, take a step back and ask yourself if it's really worth all the fuss. Your bankroll will thank you for it in the long run.

Ignoring Position

Here's the deal: in Texas Hold'em, position is king. It determines when you act in the hand and can significantly impact your decision-making. When you're in an early position, you're at a disadvantage because you have to act before the other players. That means you don't have much information to work with, which can lead to some risky decisions.

On the other hand, when you're in a later position, you have a huge advantage. You've seen what other players have done before you, which means you have more information to make a decision. This can help you make smarter choices and avoid costly mistakes.

So, what's the lesson here? Pay attention to your position and adjust your poker strategy accordingly. If you're in an early position, be cautious and only play strong hands. If you're in a later position, you can be a little more aggressive and take advantage of the information you have.

Not Managing Your Bankroll

A piggy bank on a pile of cash with poker chipsYour bankroll is the amount of money you've set aside specifically for playing poker. And let's face it, it's easy to get carried away and play with more money than you can afford to lose. But if you don't manage your bankroll properly, you're setting yourself up for disaster.

Here's the deal: chasing losses is a losing strategy. When you're down, the natural instinct is to keep playing to try and win it all back. But that's a slippery slope that can lead to even bigger losses. So, set a budget for how much you can afford to lose, and stick to it.

And here's a pro tip: don't play with your rent money. Or your grocery money. Or any money that you need for bills or necessities. It's just not worth it. Instead, set aside a specific amount of money that you're comfortable losing, and only play with that.

Discover: A Guide To Poker Bankroll Management Strategy

Bluffing too much

It's a classic move that can turn the game in your favour, but be warned, new players often fall into the trap of bluffing too much. When you bluff too often, you risk becoming predictable. Your opponents may catch on to your strategy, and before you know it, you're out of chips and out of the game.

We're not saying that bluffing is a bad thing. In fact, it can be a powerful tool if used correctly. But if you're bluffing too much, you're playing a dangerous game. This is especially true for online poker, where it's easy to get carried away with bluffing. The anonymity of playing from behind a screen can make it tempting to bluff more often than you would in a live game.

So, if you're new to poker, be careful with your bluffing. Use it sparingly and only when it makes sense in the context of the game. 

Discover: How To Successfully Pull Off A Poker Bluff

Playing with Emotion

Poker is a game that can trigger a range of emotions, from excitement and elation to frustration and disappointment. It's easy for new players to get caught up in the heat of the moment and let their emotions dictate their gameplay. However, playing with emotion can be a costly mistake in poker.

When you're playing with emotion, you're not making rational decisions. Instead, you may be making impulsive moves based on how you're feeling rather than the actual situation. This can lead to poor decision-making and ultimately, losing chips.

Getting angry at the poker tableOne of the most common emotions that new players struggle with is tilt. Tilt is a state of frustration or anger that can occur after a bad beat or a series of losses. When you're on tilt, you're more likely to make irrational decisions and chase losses, which can lead to even more losses.

Not understanding pot odds

Understanding pot odds is crucial in poker because it helps you make informed decisions about whether to call, fold, or raise. By comparing the pot odds to your odds of winning the hand, you can determine whether it is profitable to continue playing.

For example, if the pot is large and it only costs a small amount to call, the pot odds may be favourable even if your hand is not very strong. On the other hand, if the pot odds are poor and it would cost a lot to call, you may want to fold even if you have a decent hand.

By considering pot odds, you can also avoid making costly mistakes. For example, if you have a low chance of winning the hand but the pot odds are good, calling the bet may be tempting. However, it could still be a bad decision in the long run if you consistently call in similar situations and end up losing more money than you win.

Not adjusting to your opponents

One mistake that new poker players often make is not adjusting to their opponents. Every player has their own unique style, and it's important to recognize and adjust your strategy accordingly. Otherwise, you might miss out on opportunities to win or make bad decisions that cost you money.

Adjusting to your opponents means paying attention to their behaviour and adjusting your strategy accordingly. For example, if you notice that a player is very cautious and only bets when they have a strong hand, you might want to play it safe and only bet when you have a good hand too. On the other hand, if you notice that a player is very aggressive and likes to bluff a lot, you might want to be more cautious and not fall for their tricks.

By adjusting your strategy to match your opponents, you can make better decisions, win more often, and minimise your losses. Just remember to pay attention to your opponents and be willing to adjust your play style as needed.

In conclusion, poker is a game that requires skill, strategy, and discipline. To be successful at the game, it's essential to avoid common poker mistakes that new players often make. Be patient, assess the strength of your hand, pay attention to your position, manage your bankroll, and avoid tilt. By following these tips, you can improve your game and increase your chances of success.