Playing poker online or in person is one of the most popular pastimes at the moment.
In fact, it has always been popular though, people used to meet in houses, then land-based casinos, and now they (and you) can play your favourite card games online with a poker bonus.
But even the great poker players of our time were once novices; they once made catastrophic mistakes and miscalculations – and didn’t fold when they should’ve. Part of being a great poker player is about anticipating the moves of others, reading body language and having a strategy.
However, you now have access to something that those players didn’t – the internet! Which means you have access to some of the best poker tips in the world. And, more specifically, access to the mistakes.
Being able to avoid the most common mistakes when you first start playing poker means you are more likely to have some early success and focus on honing your skills and strategy.
But what are the mistakes you should avoid? How can you spot them?
It is no secret that many of the decisions you make when it comes to your poker playing are going to be based on stats. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find poker players who don’t love to use the software when playing.
After all, seeing these stats can keep you in the know, but they should dictate your decisions too much. They should be used to add to your strategy rather than be the driving force. If you are spending all your time looking at the stats, you are going to miss tiny cues.
Let those stats inform you, but not make the decision for you.
You might get away with playing the same game a few times, but eventually, it will catch up with you. Not only will other regular players be able to read your every move. But being too rigid in your playstyle will trip you up when you come up against highly aggressive or slow and steady players.
A solid strategy is important, but being able to adapt to the table is one of the best skills you can have.
Understanding how many different types of players there are and being able to navigate them is an essential part of playing a good game.
Even if you play poker for fun and not for money, not being picky enough about your tables is going to see you running loss after loss. The best games are going to be the ones that you have carefully selected and assessed so that you can make a profit.
If you are more spontaneous, then you will need to be more relaxed with the idea that you might just need to roll with the punches. You will be sitting at tables whose skill levels are far above yours from time to time – you are unlikely to make a profit at these types of tables.
Choose the tables that you want to play at – even if that means you need to watch a few games as a spectator first.
Even in a speed poker match, you cannot and should not be making decisions without giving them a moment of thought. When you have been playing for years, you are more likely to hit auto-pilot from time to time.
If you play a round or two of poker, try to assess how and why you made the specific decisions – and how much thought really went into them.
Before you make any play, bet or anything else at the table – force yourself to think about it again. Perhaps your first instinct wasn’t the right one, and you would benefit from an extra second or two.
If you aren’t getting the cards you want and find yourself on the receiving end of bad hole cards, don’t be tempted to start playing anyway. Boredom and frustration come into play here, and before you know it, you might be trying to play too many hands ahead of the flop.
Instead of being tempted to just ‘play and see’, hold out until you get some proper starting hands – no matter how long it takes. Patience is one of the things that sets good poker players and great poker players apart.
Too many pre-flop hands are going to blast through your bankroll and eventually make you even more frustrated than when you started.
And on that note, one of the worst things you can do is mess up your bankroll management. Without keeping a firm count of what you have or not limiting spending, you are quickly going to run out of your cash pot. Your bankroll should be a pot that you regularly top up with cash or winnings.