Poker is one of the biggest games in the world. A common misconception people have about it is that it’s easy to play. That isn’t entirely untrue since the basic rules are straightforward, meaning beginners can easily understand them. While beginners can learn the game mechanics quickly, the poker strategy is much more complex. Poker strategy focuses on math and psychology, which have numerous in-game applications. You must consider variables such as position, playstyles, and the board state whenever you make a decision. Finally, all of those variables are constantly changing from game to game. No two poker games are the same, meaning you have to adapt your strategy to succeed.
While poker strategy is complex, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. Poker rewards those who put in the effort, and if you’re playing against other beginners, you don’t need to do significantly better than them; you just need to focus on having a solid strategy. One of the best ways to form a solid strategy is by eliminating your mistakes. This poker guide will list some of the most common mistakes beginners make and explain why they are wrong. By eliminating these mistakes, you can quickly improve your overall gameplay.
Open-limping is such an infamous and well-known beginner poker mistake that it’s often referred to as a “cardinal sin” of poker. An open-limp is when you enter the pot pre-flop by calling the blinds instead of either raising or folding. This mistake is so bad because it doesn’t do much for you and can even put you in a trickier situation post-flop. A limp doesn’t have the same effect as an aggressive raise, as it cannot directly win you the pot, lower the number of players involved, or give you information. Limping makes you more likely to experience a multiway pot because the pot is more prominent, and your opponents don’t have to call a hefty raise, making them more inclined to call. Multiway pots are very volatile and can significantly reduce your chances of winning even with a strong pre-flop hand like AA.
Slow play is another common beginner mistake that stems from a flawed mindset. It is when players play passively with a strong hand, attempting to disguise their hand strength. Many players incorrectly think that slow play will lead to larger pots they can win at the showdown since more players will join the pot if they don’t believe you have a strong hand. While slow play results in more players, it doesn’t fulfill its two primary goals. Pots are often smaller, especially if you’re playing against passive beginners. You have to rely on someone else to bet and raise, which is inconsistent. Slow play also lowers your chance of winning the pot, particularly when you have a strong starting hand like AA. The more players involved in a pot, the higher the chance for someone to have a monster hand, directly reducing your chance of winning.
Improper bankroll management
You can make poker-related mistakes even outside of the actual game. Bankroll management is one of the most crucial skills as it directly controls whether you can keep playing. Your bankroll is the amount of money you use to play poker, and managing it means making sure you don’t waste money you cannot afford to lose. You must always play with disposable income and don’t hastily pay buy-ins right after losing. Instead, take time to decide whether you want to continue playing, especially if you feel emotional.
Playing too tight from the blinds
The blinds are the two worst and most unique positions in poker. They act first post-flop and are forced to pay even without seeing their cards. While you shouldn’t play too loose from them, many players fold every hand from the blinds. That mistake costs you a lot of money in the long run, as you have a guaranteed loss of money every time you become a blind. When you’re faced with a raise as the blinds, you can actually justify calling more often since you already committed money to the pot and the actual size of the call is smaller.
Not choosing your games wisely
Another common poker-related mistake is game selection. Poker offers endless variety in game formats and ways to play, so it can be hard to choose when starting. Texas Holdem is the most popular form of poker and the simplest for beginners, so it is often recommended when starting. Even after you’ve chosen your poker variant, there are other things to consider, like stakes and game type. Moving up in stakes is a big decision you should only make if you have both the bankroll and the confidence required. Once you have a form of poker you like playing, it’s generally better to stick to it since you might get confused learning two at once.
Playing on tilt
The final mistake is common yet surprisingly not discussed often. Tilt is when you let your emotions control how you play. That can ruin both your gameplay and your life outside of poker, so it’s important to recognize when you are tilting and calm down. Whatever you may feel about the game at the moment will only worsen if you make more bad decisions based on your emotions.
Where to play poker
We hope this article taught you many mistakes you can find in your gameplay as a beginner. If you’re starting and want to improve, you should play Texas Holdem online on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Texas Holdem is the most straightforward form of poker for beginners, and GGPoker offers games of all stakes. Online poker is also better than physical because it’s easier to access and allows you to use poker tracking software, an invaluable tool for analyzing the gameplay of both you and your opponents.