Your mistakes in poker are usually more costly than when you make mistakes in other gambling games. And a poker mistake can cost you more money each time you make it. Some poker mistakes don’t cost you money immediately, so you don’t even realize that you’re making a mistake.
Poker is a complex game with many layers of strategy. The best poker players make fewer mistakes than their opponents, so your best plan is to eliminate as many mistakes at the poker table as possible.
Here’s a list of six bad poker mistakes that you can quickly eliminate once you’re aware that you’re making them.
1 – Poker Action Junkie
Many gamblers belong in the action junkie category. They gamble because they like the action and the chance to win money. In some gambling activities this doesn’t hurt you too much, but being a poker action junkie is a sure way to lose too much money.
To be a winning poker player, you have to learn how to get in the pot with a better hand than your opponents more often than not. And the simplest way to do this is to play fewer hands than you play now. This is the opposite of how an action junkie operates.
An action junkie plays as many hands as they can because they get bored when they fold and have to wait until the next hand. Smart poker players know that they’re better off folding weak hands and using their money to win more with their best hands.
This means that you should fold most of your hands while you conserve money and wait for your best hands. Every time you enter a pot with a weak hand, you’re wasting money that you can use in the future to win more when you have a better hand.
2 – Playing Above Your Talent
This is such a simple concept that you might wonder why it’s even listed in this article. But the truth is that most poker players completely miss it. And this is the single thing that you can put into action right now that can instantly turn you into a winning poker player no matter how much you’ve lost in the past.
Imagine a situation where you could get a seat at a poker table with seven or eight of the worst poker players in the world. Each of these players is far worse at playing poker than you.
If you play in this game long enough, you’re going to take everyone’s money. It might take some time for your superior skills to win all of the money, but it’s a foregone conclusion.
Now, imagine the opposite. You play against seven or eight poker players who are each far better players than you. Eventually, you’re going to lose all of your money.
I’m sure this all makes perfect sense to you, but I’m also sure that you’re not doing anything that helps you put yourself into a situation where you’re playing against poker players worse than you. Why aren’t you looking for games with bad poker players? Start doing this right now if you want to start winning.
3 – Not Using All of the Tools
Most poker players think of electronic type tools when I mention poker tools. Some electronic tools are great for poker players, but what I’m going to talk about in this section are mathematical tools and your mind. These are the tools that are going to do the most to help you make money at the poker table.
The two best tools you can learn how to use as a poker player are expected value and pot odds. With these tools, you can make more profitable decisions on every hand you play.
And once you master using them, you’re going to find that most situations and strategies at the poker table become simpler. Your decision to enter the pot or not is simple when you understand the expected value of your decision.
Your decision to call a bet, fold, or raise is simple when you understand pot odds. When these types of decisions become simple, your profits are going to go up.
Your job is to learn what expected value is and how to use it and learn what pot odds are and how to use them. It might take some time to master these tools, but without them your odds of being a winning poker player are small.
4 – Being a Poker Generalist
The best poker players in the world can usually play different poker games in different formats at different levels and do well. But until you become one of the best poker players in the world, you need to find an area of poker to specialize in.
It doesn’t really matter what you choose to specialize in. You can learn how to win any base poker game, you can learn how to win at any level that your bankroll supports, and you can learn how to win whether you play cash games, big tournaments, or one-table tournaments.
Next, choose if you want to be a cash game player or a tournament player. If you want to play tournaments, decide between table poker tournaments and big poker tournaments at the top online poker sites.
Now, do everything you can to become the best poker player in your specialization as you can. Read everything you can and play as much as you can. Keep your focus on your area of specialization until you can win consistently.
5 – Not Learning From Your Poker Mistakes
You can utilize different tactics to learn how to use good poker strategy. The first tactic is to learn as much as you can from others. This includes personal instruction, reading, and watching informational videos.
The other tactic is to learn from experience. And the best way to move forward is to use both of these tactics at the same time.
This means that an important part of improving as a poker player is making mistakes, learning from making these mistakes, and then correcting these mistakes.
I’m all for learning as much as you can from others. I love to read books when I’m trying to learn a new skill, and I read dozens of poker books when I was trying to learn how to win.
But there are some things you can only learn about poker from experience. And you have to know enough to recognize when you make a mistake so you can fix your mistake in the future. Start tracking every poker mistake you make and work on a plan to be more mindful about avoiding them.
If you learn to correct enough of your most common poker mistakes, you’re going to start winning more often.
6 – Playing Above Your Bankroll
In the long run, the better poker player always wins over a worse poker player. But this can take some time because even the best poker players can’t overcome what happens with the cards in the short term.
Looking at this another way, if you have an 80% chance to win and a 20% chance to lose in a given situation, then you’re a heavy favorite to win. But you’re still going to lose 20 times out of 100.
This is important when you consider how much money you have to play with. You have to use smart poker bankroll management to make sure you have enough money to let the long-term averages work in your favor.
You still have to play better poker than your opponents, or most of your opponents, to win in the long run. But when you can do this, all you need to do is make sure you have enough money to stay in the game until your superior skills pay off.
If you’re a good poker player, my rule of thumb is to never risk more than 10% of your bankroll in a single cash game. But this is something you can learn from experience and adjust as you need.
The most damaging mistake that poker players make is being an action junkie. When you’re an action junkie, you’re going to play too many hands and playing too many hands costs you a lot of cash.
Another serious mistake is when you play against better players than you. Find bad poker players and take their money at the tables instead of being the player who gets their money taken.
Winning poker gamblers use every tool that’s available. This means you need to use expected value and pot odds. Using these two tools is always profitable.
Finally, become a specialized poker player, learn from your mistakes, and never play above your bankroll.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.