Most Common Mistakes in Online Poker
Besides playing too many hands, online poker beginners commit other smallish, yet very costly mistakes like overplaying the hands they consider good ones.
Let’s consider the following example: you flop two low pairs on a board which also contains a Q or a K. If you’re a fish, your reaction will be one of excitement: you’ll consider that you just got hit for a hand which is going to earn you a big pot.
An experienced player knows however that things are much more complicated than that. On a flop like that, it is unlikely that he’ll manage to get a lot of money into the pot for three reasons: if his opponents do not have anything, they’re not likely to call any sort of a raise on the flop, which means he’ll win the hand right there and he won’t really be able to take down much more than the blinds.
If he’s lucky and one of his opponents has a top pair, he might call a bet: that won’t give him a fabulously big pot either. If one of his opponents places a raise or calls down his bets it’s likely that he’ll have a set, a better two pair or something bigger like a straight, in which case the hand turns into a huge suck-out.
The difference between a good player and a rookie in this instance is that while the latter is prepared to go all the way in this hand, the former is not.
Playing to a draw has its intricacies as well. Sometimes making your draw is the worst thing that can happen to you, and as a good player, you need to be able to spot such dangerous draws. Hitting your flush knowing that someone may well have a bigger flush than yours is a classic example in this sense. Drawing for a straight with a bunch of suited cards on the board is another. Hit a flush on a paired board and you have a nifty chance of being outdrawn by someone who just made a boat. The mistake that rookies make in these situations is that they get absorbed by the power of their hand, and therefore fail to pay attention to the texture of the board. Normally, what you want to do when you hit your draw is to put as much money into the pot as possible. When the board texture is so obviously telling you your made hand may well have been outdrawn, “dodging the bullet” becomes a priority.
Playing under-bankrolled is probably the most common beginner mistake in NL Texas Holdem.
Whether or not they’re looking to save money by making a meager deposit or they’re looking to “manage” their bankroll by taking small amounts of money with them to the table, most beginners play on a much smaller bankroll than they should.
This is wrong for multiple reasons. First of all, winning Holdem is a long term game. If you manage to secure your edges, you need to hammer them home time and time again for a considerable amount of time. There will be luck-induced swings in your play, even if you manage to stay on top of it all the time. If your bankroll is unable to swallow those swings and carry you past the bad beats, you won’t be able to become successful.
If you are playing optimal cash poker (you’re exploiting your implied odds wonderfully), you’ll still need to have a huge stack backing you up, otherwise you’ll lose value on your made hands, unable to feed the pot accordingly and to possibly get your opponents all-in when needed.
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Last Updated 23 July 2016
Common Poker Mistakes