Playing poker is more than just about knowing the rules, it takes some time to get used to the game and learn the strategies in order to win. The road to being a good poker player is tough as many beginners have found themselves getting stuck in a rut, falling into the same traps and making the same errors. Do not fret, we are here to outline ten common mistakes that newbies make and how to avoid them. After this, we are confident that you would be better equipped for your next game.
Playing a lot of hands pre-flop
Many of us see how poker is played in popular media like television and movies: they often show people playing almost every hand. This is a large misconception, and a far cry from reality, as most times they are folding. Playing many hands is a habit that most newbies adopt, and is actually detrimental to their play. Prior to the flop, one should practice some discretion and carefully analyse the hand before playing it. We would recommend only playing less than a quarter of the hands you are dealt and folding the remainder.
Making Dark Tunnel Bluffs
Poker is a psychological game too, making bluffs is part and parcel of playing, but they have to be done smartly. Making a dark tunnel bluff is when one bets repeatedly without thinking about what the opposition is thinking, or what hand they might have. It is absolutely vital that you remain observant of their moves instead of getting caught up with your hand. If you get too blinded by greed or anxiety to know what you are doing, you might just get fooled by your opponent.
Relying Too Much on Gut Feeling
Poker is a game based mostly on math, strategy, and a little bit of luck. Unfortunately, a lot of the time those who start out rely a lot on their gut feelings, playing hands just because they feel lucky. Neglecting the other factors and not reading the game is incredibly dangerous! One should only play hands that they know will stand a good chance of winning.
Going Too Far With Hands
Beginners often have a lot of faith in their hands, and go too far with them. The previous point was about playing too many hands, but we also noticed that beginners often tend to take their hands too far after the flop. Unless you have a strong draw or top pair and better, you should not continue with your hand.
Letting the Nerves Get to You
It is totally normal to feel anxious while playing poker, it is a very stressful game, more so for beginners up against skilled players. However, it is important to know that we naturally tend to make more reckless decisions when acting based on these fight or flight instincts. When faced with bouts of anxiety, take a deep breath and try to centre yourself before taking action. It is vital to make rational decisions with a clear head.
Over-Analysing to a Fault
Many players tend to beat themselves up after they play their cards and question themselves after losing. Sure, there are a ton of things you should have done, in hindsight, but at that point in time, it was the right choice to make. A good piece of advice is that poker is a long term game that is partly reliant on luck, it is okay to feel demoralised, but many people lose despite making the right moves. Don’t beat yourself up! As long as you keep practising and hone your poker skills, This way, you will be able to win more in the long run.
Reading the Board or Hand Wrongly
In the heat of the moment, beginners will freak out and misread the board or their hand, leading to very embarrassing wrong moves. Poker can get quite confusing, and takes some time to get used to. Thinking you were going to win and realising you made a major mistake can be mortifying. So take your time to properly read the board and assess your hand before doing anything. We recommend switching to a deck with four colours when playing online or wait 10 seconds before making your move in real life. Speaking of playing online poker, Beat The Fish shows some of the best poker sites you should definitely try out if you’re new to the game.
Don’t get too delusional and outplay yourself when you are just starting out in poker, there are a ton of clever strategies but it might do more harm than good. For example, if you are pretending that your hand is worse than it is, the opponent might use it against you. We understand that it could be tempting to make a big move when you are sure that your opponent is weak, but most of the time their hand might be better than yours.
Committing Too Much to Your Hand
We saved the best for last, the top reason why many beginners lose their stack is that they get too committed to their “good” starting hand. Even when things look bleak, they refuse to fold their strong starting hand, at this point, you really have to cut your losses, it is a tactical game. Just like you draw two Aces, Kings or Queens, it does not mean you are invincible, so don’t just put all your chips in the middle. They are just a pair! Remember, that while you have a strong hand, your opponent will probably only put their money in the pot only when they have you beat.
In poker, you have to develop your own style and analyse the situation as well as the other players around the table. It may be intimidating and difficult when you just start out, especially when you are up against skilled players. As long as you avoid these common traps, you can navigate the game much easier. More often than not, winning in poker is not just based on getting a strong hand, it is also about making rational decisions while analysing the context, players and situation. Do some research, read up on books and analyse each game afterwards so that you know where your faults lie. Don’t give up!