Mistakes Beginners Make Playing Poker

Poker, like anything else in life, is a learning experience. You play, make mistakes and then work on correcting those mistakes so you don’t make them again in the future. At least that’s the game plan.

One aspect of this process is identifying the mistakes you made. After all, you can’t correct what you’re not aware of, right? The tips in this article will help you do just that. I’m going to list what I feel are some of the biggest mistakes that poker noobs make, and no, this isn’t the standard “don’t play too many hands, with emotion or bluff too much” crap that’s plastered all over the internet. These are legitimate mistakes that I, or beginners I’ve known or coached, made when first starting out.

9 Mistakes You MUST Avoid Making as a Poker Beginner

1. Stop with the nutty (and transparent) bet sizing.

One of the most transparent bets I’ve ever seen playing poker is when someone raises to like 5x the big blind in a Sng. You know what this bet screams to me? Fear. This bet says, I have pocket jacks and I don’t know what the hell to do with them, so I’m going to bet something huge and hopefully just take the blinds. This bet is standard for players who are holding 22-JJ and Ak.

If this sounds like you, knock it off. Learn how to play post flop so you can stop making this mistake.

2. Why aren’t you participating in forums or group discussions?

Most forums and Skype group discussions are free. It amazes me that there are players out there that have a lot of areas they can improve in not participate by giving their thoughts on other players’ hands, submitting their own hands for review or joining in on theory.

If you were so good, you wouldn’t be stuck at 25nl. Get over yourself and participate.

3. Don’t be results oriented.

“If I didn’t fold that 87o under the gun, I’d of had a full house.”

Does that sound familiar? I hope not. Being results oriented means your thoughts or actions are swayed by results, instead of logic. If this player were using logic, he’d of said, I folded 87o because it’s not profitable for me to play from under the gun. In other words, instead of focusing on what, focus on why.

4. Why are you distracting yourself?

When you’re playing poker, the only thing that should be turned on is your computer, monitors, poker site and tools that you need for playing, such as Poker Tracker. How can you expect to play your A-game when you’re on the phone, chatting on Skype and browsing the internet, all the while trying to 30-table? Even if you’re making some money, just imagine how much you could make if 100% of your focus was on playing.

5. Stop letting others think for you.

Something I dealt with a lot as a horse were other students in the same stable checking out my hand histories, and saying something along the lines of, “coach says to do this.” My response?

“Good for coach (name).”

It’s not that you shouldn’t listen to your coach (you should) or your peers (you should), but you also need to think for yourself. Creativity in poker is key, otherwise you become easy to read or adjust to. If a standard play in a situation is to call, try raising to see what happens. You might be surprised.

6. Why play if you don’t want to?

A large mistake that I used to make is just load up games just for the sake of it. I didn’t really want to play, I was just bored and had nothing better to do. This was a mistake because I wouldn’t focus 100%. I would browse the internet, talk on Skype and do other things.

Yeah, you might win here and there, but it’s more likely that you’ll lose money playing when you’re not prepared to or when you’re not into it.

7. You need to listen to your coaches.

Something I can’t wrap my head around is why you’d pay for coaching, as much as 50% of your profits, only to never listen to what they have to say. I knew other horses that would do that. They’d hear what their coaches have to say, only to disagree and play how they want.

I’m all for thinking for yourself, but remember that you got a coach for a reason. At least try what they tell you to see if it works. If it doesn’t, schedule a lesson to review your hand histories to see what could’ve went wrong. This is much better than ignoring the advice altogether.

8. It’s ok to fold your blinds.

A mistake that I was known for making was getting too caught up in the blinds. I would call because it was only a bet more or something, and I felt like I had a hand with potential.

This wasn’t the problem. The problem came when I flopped top pair or some sort of draw. I went too far with a hand that was probably dominated or was drawing to the 2nd or 3rd nuts (or worse).

If you know that your post flop skills are lacking, remember that it’s ok to fold post flop. You don’t have to play your hand just because you’re getting 10:1.

9. Realize that quality trumps quantity.

Another common mistake I’ve seen from beginner poker players is that they have the quantity over quality mindset, especially when it came to multi tabling. In my opinion, playing 12 tables and averaging $20 an hour is much better than averaging $30 an hour while playing 20 tables if I’m trying to improve my skill set. I’d much rather focus on the long term outcomes of being a better poker player and playing higher stakes, than the short term outcome of my current (high) hourly rate while playing the micro stakes.