The Least MistakenI have found that the player who makes the least mistakes is the player who usually leaves with the most chips. But it’s not merely up to the individual to come out on top. The key to success in poker is to both make the least mistakes as well as succeed in getting other players to make mistakes.
Success is seldom an accident. It’s a mistake to not know what’s important and what’s not. This knowledge will usually result in playing about 10 to 15 percent of ordinary hands dealt in ring games. Of course, there are exceptions when a player is getting a rush of good hands.
People who invest gaming stakes wisely pay attention to trends. They avoid the mistake of betting hands that have poor odds of improving or have only one way to improve (no ‘outs’). For example, in Texas hold ‘em, it’s usually is a mistake to play small suited cards in an early position in cash-limit games because there are too many chances to be raised. Also, someone often will overcome a small flush with higher cards of the same suit in a showdown. Conversely, while it would be a mistake to play small suited cards in early position, it would be a mistake not to play them when you already have made a £5,000 ante and the pot odds say, “It’s worth the chance.”
Some players will blindly bet when they can be easily beaten. Imagine this: the flop has the possibility of a flush or a straight and the river gives a player three of a kind. It’s a mistake to play the trips as if they were the nuts. Yet, many players will make this mistake.
What do you Think?
Most of the other mistakes have to do with failure to think. Others have to do with thinking too much. Here are some common mistakes that you will see at any poker table:
• Refusing to fold when a player knows that he or she is beat is stubbornness, not poker.
• Mistakes occur by check/raising a good hand when not being certain another player will bet.
• Successful players also know that it can be a big mistake to bet when two or three players have checked. The mistake comes from betting into a player with the nuts who’s checking to spring a trap.
• It may also be a mistake to bluff in late position when everyone has already bet. However, semi-bluffs are more likely from experienced players. In Texas hold ‘em, a late position player who flops four to a flush or a straight might bet or raise the bet. Such a common semi-bluff will likely get a free card and if the turn card makes the hand, a bigger pot will be the reward.
• It’s a mistake to fold a winning hand. It also can be a mistake to not fold a good hand. Successful players know the difference. Quitting can be the better part of valor or it can be a loser’s swan song.
• To fold every time someone bets is a mistake if it is teaching opponents that you will easily fold when raised.
• It’s a mistake to reveal a hand by various tells. Betting a good hand can be that tell. If such a player knows that he or she has the others beat, that player is likely to check and let the second best hand do the betting.
• It’s a mistake not to use the odds of chance to determine how much risk to take. Managing medium pairs before the flop in Texas hold ‘em is an example. In late position, a pair of nines might raise. In early position, that same pair of nines might limp in to see the flop and fold if one or two people raise the bet before the flop.
• While it’s a mistake to play too many hands, to get ‘married’ to a hand and refuse to fold is a bigger mistake.
• Successful poker players know that it’s wrong to never try to steal a hand and to always play the same way.
• Whining is a big mistake. It annoys some players and invites others to take advantage of a player’s bad streaks. You’ve heard that when you whine nobody really cares. The truth is that 80 percent don’t care and the other 20 percent are glad to hear about your bad luck. Nearly 100 percent will take advantage of your bad times.
• It’s a big mistake to fail to learn from your mistakes. Winners also make mistakes. The difference is that losers keep making the same mistakes, while winners turn problems into future solutions.
• It’s a mistake to reveal yourself in poker and not get all the value from your hand that you can.
• It’s a mistake to not trap your opponents into making the mistakes of folding and calling when you want them to.
• It’s a mistake not to play tight around loose players, and loose around tight players.
• And, oh yes, finally it’s a mistake to do what others expect you to do.
Online Poker Mistakes
Don’t Get Distracted—When distracted, you dismantle your abilities and you rely on luck. The distractions that surround you at home can be just as ruinous as if you’re playing live in a casino
Don’t use the auto-play functions—The auto-play buttons are made to speed up the game, so using them is at the cost of your chips. One of the only tells in an online poker game is the amount of time a player takes before acting on his or her hand. The formula is: a delayed check = weakness; instantaneous call = strength; instantaneous check = weakness; quick bet/raise on turn or river = strength.
Talking too much—Talking serves as the biggest tell in online poker. Don’t waste your energy taunting or talking to other players. This will give players a look into your personality and therefore your true playing style.
Making Enemies—If you win a pot, graciously drag the chips to your pile, but don’t say a word. If you lose a pot to a lucky draw, take it on the chin and don’t whine. If not, then you have people gunning for you and it’s never good to have players who want you out of a game, because they will be more likely to make a move against you. Let the chips do the talking.
Showing cards—Some players claim that showing your cards puts other players on tilt and shakes them out of their game. However, instead of hurting the other players, showing your cards usually hurts you and forces you out of your game.
Relying too much on odds—Many online poker players download odds calculators that give the probabilities of card combinations. But be very wary of putting too much emphasis on the odds. Poker is a game of strategy and numbers, not just numbers.
Playing for too much—Never play poker with more than you can afford to lose.