There are a number of common mistakes players typically make that should be avoided at all costs. Some of these mistakes seem like common knowledge, but more often than not, I see these mistakes being made in real life and online. Not only are you helping maximize your opponents profits, you are leaving no room for improvement in your game. In order to start winning, you’ll have to learn and fix your past mistakes.
1. Not bluffing enough. When you don’t bluff enough, you send two very distinct signals to your opponents. If you only call with a decent hand, players will soon catch on and be quick to fold when the time comes for you to make a bet. The second thing a lack of bluffs tells your opponents is when you check, you have weak cards. Raises will follow after your check in order to attempt to push you out.
How to fix this: Bluff! But use common sense when bluffing. For example if you hold 6-7 and the flop is A-K-10 with 4 players still in and checks circle the table, don’t even try a bluff here. The odds that a player didn’t catch anything from the flop is disgustingly slim and you’ll just be donating money to another’s pocket.
2. Bluffing too much. I’m sorry this article had to take a turn for the worst and yell at you for doing what you just read However, if you’re caught bluffing way too much, your game will quickly take a turn for the worst too. Once you’re identified as a bluffer, many of your bluffs will be called, resulting in nothing more than chip loss.
How to fix this: Chill out. Lay off the raise button when you’re holding 2-6 offsuit. If you’ve already been identified, switch to a more conservative style of play
3. Overvaluing top pair. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking you have the best hand with only top pair. It’s the second worst winning hand you can have.
How to fix this: Avoid playing too aggressively with only top pair. If you notice someone overvaluing his or her hand, and you have two-pair or trips, over-bet the pot and force them into making a huge mistake with a call.
4. Playing small pairs after the flop. Don’t even consider staying in with pocket 6’s after a flop with two queens and an ace. If you call the big blind with a small pocket pair and don’t hit trips on the flop, GET OUT. Well, stay in as long as no bets are made.
How to fix this: You should never call a raise with low pocket pairs, but if you do find yourself facing a raise with the lowest possible pair, simply don’t play it.
5. Under-betting the pot. You’re going to want to make big enough bets to punish those staying in on draws. Make sure players are paying big time to see the next few cards, especially when you have the best hand.
How to fix this: Bet more and bet with confidence. If other players are going to play, make sure you hit them where it hurts, their bankroll.
6. Calling too many starting hands. The most common mistake found in new players is calling too many starting hands. Your average flop percentage should be around ~20%. Be sure to read http://www.betheshark.com/basics/basics4.html to learn which hands are the best. A big mistake many new players do consists of playing a face card or an ace with a low card. While face cards and aces are strong cards, your second card or kicker is not strong enough to hold up against someone who may have the same face card.
How to fix this: Play the best starting hands only. You shouldn’t find yourself making calls with 6/8 off-suit.
7. Tightening up under pressure. If you find yourself in a big tournament and only 8 more players need to be eliminated until everyone reaches a payout, you may start tightening up. This is BAD. During this point in time is when you can make the biggest moves and pull in some big pots by betting a lot. Most players won’t want to risk their standing and would rather fold than lose on the bubble. Stealing antes and blinds during this stage can increase your roll tremendously.
Hot to fix this: Stop playing conservatively on the bubble. However, do not play stupid. Make decent calls and bluff only against those who are known to fold.
8. Playing too loose with chip lead. Just because you’re leading the table doesn’t mean you always have the best cards. Watch your calls when in the lead because you may find yourself making risky calls you wouldn’t normally play just because you have the chips to do so. Remember, leads can shift in no-limit poker dramatically with just one hand.
How to fix this: Stick to only playing good starting hands and avoid constantly bluffing as players may soon catch on and you may find yourself in last rather than first.
9. Calling raises on the turn. While this may not seem like a big deal, it often leads to calling on the river as well. If you have doubts or concerns about your hand after seeing the turn, do not continue calling raises. More often than not, your opponent will be holding top-pair with a high kicker, or the very least two-pair.
How to fix this: If your opponent has been known to bluff and you believe you can beat him, then by all means call any raise. But you should never call a raise on the turn when doubting your hands as it usually leads to calling on the river. Now, you’re out two bets instead of none.
10. Not paying attention. This is the WORST mistake you can make while playing online poker. DO NOT get distracted with online messaging conversations or emails. Playing more than one table or watching TV is a big no-no as well. You will lose focus on the table and find yourself playing your cards only. DO NOT get caught up doing other activities.
How to fix this: This is the easiest mistake to fix. Allocate time strictly for poker only and avoid losing focus.
“Perfect poker” is something every player strives for. While you may never be a world class poker star, you can improve your style of play by simply correcting little mistakes that account for big losses.